“Check” This Out!

The new wood deck repairs throughout your community have been coming along nicely, and the repairs make the decks themselves look almost brand new.  However, a few weeks after repairs are finished, you make a startling discovery: the new wood members are beginning to crack! Were the repairs completed improperly? Was subpar wood used? Have you wasted time and money on repairs that will need to be redone? Fortunately, most of the cracks you are seeing in the new wood members are a natural part of the wood’s acclimation process.  As “green” (i.e. wet) wood naturally dries over time, it shrinks, causing cracks to form along portions of the wood.  A “check” is a crack that occur parallel to the grain of the wood, while a “shake” is a separation of the growth rings within the lumber.  While these cracks may appear unsightly, they usually do not affect the structural properties of the wood, unless the check or shake runs through the entire depth of the wood member.  Properly acclimating the wood pieces to environmental conditions and specifying higher grade lumber can help minimize this cracking, but green lumber will always display some external cracks as it dries.  Also, additional cracks may occur as the wood is exposed to varying environmental conditions throughout the seasons.  If you still have concerns about cracks in your wood structures, ETC can help evaluate these cracks and put your mind at ease