Prevent deck collapse with proper upkeep

Tips on eliminating dry rot and mildew, applying preservative

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Q: Our 35-year-old house has a 7-foot cantilevered deck on the top floor -- about 25 feet above ground level. The untreated fir joists feel solid but have large black areas on the sides -- especially on the outboard end (the area closest to the house is protected by an overhang). I intend to remove the decking to repair any rot on the tops of the joists; I was told by a pest control guy to pressure-wash the black areas on the sides. I guess that is a good idea. My concern is how to protect the sides of the joists in the future. (I will use aluminum tar tape on the tops.) Should I consider coats of copper-green, water sealer, paint, stain or something else? I want long-term preservation because of lack of access. Any advice would be appreciated. A: Untreated Douglas fir joists with black areas 25 feet off the ground could be a recipe for disaster. Fir is susceptible to fungus infection, also known as dry rot. In addition, bugs such as powder post beetles can wreck havoc w...