The deck in your backyard is one of your favourite places to spend time relaxing with family and entertaining friends. It adds an appealing outdoor living area to your property, boosting the resale value of your home. Like your gutters, siding, and roof, it can take a beating from the elements. Decks are built to last, but when a deck begins to show wear and tear, it’s time to pay attention and take action. Here are some common signs that it’s time to repair your deck.
The deck has been neglected.
If all you have ever done to maintain the deck is to sweep off the blossoms in the spring and the leaves in the fall or pressure wash the deck boards after a long-weekend barbecue, it’s time to give your deck some TLC. When decks aren’t well-maintained it can lead to structural damage that might make the deck dangerous to use. Regular inspections and making the appropriate repairs as required will keep your outdoor living area in good shape.
Fittings are rusted.
Connectors, fittings, and any other types of hardware used in the construction of your deck must be in good repair. Check underneath the deck for rusted or broken fittings. Examine deck boards for popped nails.
The wood begins to decay or rot.
By the time you can see decayed or rotted deck boards and posts, the damage is typically advanced. Wood rot can make the deck unstable, compromising its structural integrity. It is also an open invitation to nesting pests and insects. Decaying or rotting boards don’t securely hold screws, nails, and fittings in place. Indicators of the early onset of wood rot are mildew/mold, discolouration, or soft spots on the deck boards that feel spongy when walked on or touched.
The wood starts to crack or splinter.
While cracks and splintering can be caused by the advanced stages of wood rot, there are other reasons for deck boards to break apart. When deck boards become separated from the ledger board, they shift from their original positioning, resulting in cracking or splintering.
Railings are loose.
Pay attention to deck railings and stair rails. Stair rails and deck rails that wobble when someone grabs them or leans on them can pose a safety hazard.
Where are the deck railings loose? If the loose railings are underneath an overhang, check for soft spots or other kinds of water damage. The cause of the loose railings might be leaking or overflowing gutters.
When railings become loose they are usually an indication that something has changed in the deck’s structure. If you can’t see anything out of place after a visual inspection of the deck’s components, consult with a deck contractor to ensure nothing else is going on.
Soil erosion develops around deck footings.
Soil erosion occurs as a result of water washing away the earth. Concrete footings and older wood footings (posts) might become vulnerable to structural damage when the soil around the footings is washed away. Ensure downspouts are not part of the problem – look for other drainage issues on your property that could be contributing factors.
Stains hang around.
While spilled grape juice, melted ice cream from a toppled cone, or mustard splats, might seem harmless – after all they didn’t land on a white carpet – they can be detrimental to wood decking. Wood decks are typically sealed with some type of protective coating. Allowing stains to hang around can break down the sealant that protects your wood deck from the elements.