Deck maintenance, replacement, and safety.
Sometimes it seems like you’ll never get to the bottom of your home improvement checklist, especially if you have an outdoor living area like a large deck or porch.
Much of the maintenance that comes with maintaining a wood deck or composite deck is simply keeping an eye on the condition of the deck materials. On top of replacing the occasional deck screw or nail, staining and sealing the decking boards to keep them in good shape to provide treated wood with better UV protection, and ensuring the deck framing is structurally sound. If your existing decking and railing are made of pressure treated lumber and high-performance materials, your deck could safely and beautifully last for 20 years with proper maintenance.
However, even if you ‘re thorough and consistent with your maintenance efforts, you’ll eventually be faced with deciding whether its time to repair or replace your deck. A structurally unsound or damaged deck could lead to serious injury if not handled appropriately. Here are some signs it’s time to consider upgrading to a new deck.
How do you know when it’s time to repair or replace your deck?
Check the posts, beams, joists, and boards around your deck for signs of moisture retention and rot. If you notice soft spots, peeling paint, or warped posts, these are all signs of moisture retention, rot, and potential structural issues.
Moisture damage can cause boards and materials to crack, bend, and even disintegrate, meaning rot could lead to significant further damage and jeopardize the structural integrity of your entire deck, as well as the safety of anyone on it.
Speaking of the footing…
Did you know the footing of your deck can rise and fall over time? Just how much the footing shifts depends on:
- The type of soil in which the footing was originally set
As the ground freezes, thaws, and shifts over time, so do the concrete footings that support each deck post. Uneven footing can cause instability and increased wear and tear on your deck’s structure, often meaning it’s in your best interest to replace your deck.
Like your other decking materials, the railing should be sturdy, clean, and dry. Grab the railings by the top and try to force them backward and forward. If the railing shifts more than a couple of inches either direction, it’s far too wobbly. Think about how often you, your family members, or your guests lean against the railings without thinking much about it. Unstable railing could easily lead to serious injury!
Factors like the age of your deck, climate, and routine maintenance can all affect the structural conditions and longevity of the materials.