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6 Signs You Need Deck RepairJune 14th, 2022 by
A deck is only as good as its structure. And when the structure falls into disrepair, you need to call in the pros. Regular deck inspections can help you catch small issues before they turn into major problems.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The top 6 signs your deck needs repair
- Easy tips for keeping your deck in great shape year-round
- How to find a deck contractor
Keep reading to find out more!
6 Warning Signs of Deck Deterioration
1. Wood support posts and beams begin to rot.
Rotting wood on a deck is never a good sign. If it’s left unchecked, rot can cause enough damage to impact the structural integrity of your home.
Current building code regulations stipulate that contractors must build decks on concrete footings. If your deck is older, its support posts may rest on the ground instead.
Soil is rarely completely dry. Raw wood—including some pressure-treated varieties—will absorb any moisture in the ground. Moisture rots wood over time, so take a close look at your deck’s posts every few months.
2. Footings are cracking or sinking.
Concrete footings are the best option for your deck. In some circumstances, however, they can have issues. Soil can shift and erode with time and weather.
If footings are poured on soil that wasn’t properly prepared, the concrete can crack and fail over time. Years of cold weather and freeze/thaw cycles can also take their toll on concrete deck footings.
3. You notice erosion around the posts.
Both wooden and concrete deck footings are susceptible to erosion. Soil erosion happens when water washes away the soil supporting the deck posts and footings. When the lower level of the post becomes exposed, the deck can lose stability.
Drainage issues around your property can pop up out of nowhere. The slope of your yard will also change naturally over the years. Small landscaping changes, like adding or removing planting beds, can hasten those changes.
If you notice water pooling underneath your deck after a storm, call a deck contractor. They can help repair any damage (and prevent problems in the future).
4. Deck boards crack or splinter.
A cracked or splintered deck board here and there usually isn’t an immediate cause for concern. A deck repair contractor can replace a board or two without much trouble. But if every board is showing signs of deterioration, it’s probably time for an overhaul.
Wood doesn’t last forever. Regular staining and sealing go a long way toward extending the lifespan of a wood deck. Ultimately, the elements eventually take their toll.
5. The rails loosen or otherwise deteriorate.
A loose deck railing is a serious safety hazard. While it probably won’t make your deck fall down, a loose railing is a sure sign that the deck needs attention.
Keep an eye on your deck’s railings, especially where people tend to hang out. If you catch railing problems early on, your deck contractor will most likely be able to repair them. Once the deterioration spreads and weakens the deck, you’ll need a complete replacement.
6. The deck simply hasn’t been maintained.
Home maintenance never ends, and it doesn’t take long for the list of tasks to multiply and get out of hand. Decks that aren’t maintained consistently won’t last long.
If you’ve purchased a home with a questionable deck, don’t take a wait-and-see approach. A reputable deck contractor can inspect the structure and tell you whether the deck is safe. Your deck may need only a few simple repairs, or it might be quite old and not built to current safety codes. Either way, it’s best to know for sure what you’re dealing with.
Finding Reputable Deck Repair Contractors
When it comes to verifying your deck’s safety and structural integrity, cutting corners isn’t a good idea. Deck collapses can be deadly, and wood can deteriorate more quickly than you might think.
Request estimates from several deck contractors. Be wary of a contractor who is reluctant to furnish a reference list or proof of insurance coverage.
Also be sure to ask about cleanup. Deck replacement and repair work can create a lot of debris. Every contractor you talk to should include cleanup costs on their estimate. This will help you make an apples-to-apples comparison of the bids.
3 Quick Tips for Deck Maintenance
Rebuilding or repairing a deck can be costly. Stay on top of regular maintenance tasks so you don’t have to arrange for major construction more than once.
The ideal maintenance schedule for your deck will depend on:
- The materials you choose (composite decking versus tropical hardwood, for example)
- How much you use your outdoor space
- The weather in your area
Take a look at our tips below, and consult your deck contractor for more information.
1. Keep the wood protected.
Bare wood, even if it’s pressure treated, needs to be stained or sealed to protect it against the elements. Plan to repeat this process every couple of years.
2. Move plants and furniture periodically.
Outdoor planters, rugs, and furniture can trap moisture. That trapped moisture can cause the deck to deteriorate. Move these types of items around the deck from time to time. This helps ensure that the wood doesn’t begin to rot or attract insects.
3. Address spills and stains promptly.
Try to wipe up food and drink spills quickly and as thoroughly as you can. Food residue can attract wood-loving insects. Over time, those spills can make your deck look a little worse for the wear.
Keeping a roll of paper towels handy for outdoor gatherings. Then, have your deck professionally pressure washed every year and before staining or sealing it.
Keeping Your Deck in Great Shape
A deck is the perfect spot for relaxing and getting together with friends and family. But that’s only the case if it’s in good shape. Time, weather, and lack of regular maintenance can take their toll on a deck. It’s important to inspect your deck regularly for signs of deterioration.
Turn to an experienced, reputable deck contractor for advice. They’ll be able to tell you whether your deck needs to be repaired or replaced and the best ways to keep it in great shape.