Adding a wooden deck to your home is one of the best things you can do to improveyour outdoor living space. Like all other wooden items, a deck has to be correctly maintained to preserve its usability and prolong its lifetime value.
The first step to maintaining your deck is to assess it for any potential repairs. Regularly inspecting your deck will allow you to keep it in tip-top shape. Once the inspection is done, you’ll be able to prepare yourself for your next DIY wooden deck repairs that extend the life of your wood deck.
Here are some signs to help you tell if your wooden deck needs repair:
Rotten Wood Parts
Rotting of the wooden parts of the deck can be a safety hazard. Rotting wood is usually caused by exposure to the elements over time. Treating the wooden parts before use can help slow down the deterioration of wood. However, even pressure-treated wood will still rot.
Inspect all the wooden boards for discoloration, signs of mildew and soft spots. Sometimes,pests may infest wood, causing it to rot. You can use a stick to poke at the wooden parts to check for weak areas. In case you do find signs of wood rot, you need to replace the affected boards with treated wood.
Splintered or Cracked Boards
Cracks are one of the signs of wear, and they are normal in wooden objects. But when these cracks are deep, they pose a potential threat to people. Cracks will also contribute to the weakening of wood, which can compromise the deck’s structural integrity, potentially leading to a collapse of the entire deck.
Check for small cracks in the wood and fill them in. If you observe large cracks, these boards should be replaced immediately. A quick check is all you need to know which boards need replacement or filling in.
Wobbly Railings and Stairs
A safe wooden deck is not only made of wooden boards nailed together. It also has railings and stairs that use screws and metal connectors to make it securely attached to the deck.
One way to ensure that it is safe is to make sure the stairs and railings aren’t wobbly. When checking the wooden deck, mind the movement of the rails and walking surface.If they shake or give excessively, then in order to preserve the safety of yourself and your guests,address the issue immediately before it worsens. You can do this by checking the screws and connectors and secure them tightly in place. If the screws and connectors are already damaged or rusty, then they need to be replaced as soon as possible.
Wood Blemishes and Stains
Discoloration of wood in your deck makes it look worn and dull. Widespread discoloration is not just a superficial problem but can also be a sign that your deck is decaying.
Blemishes and stains in the wood are caused by microbes that thrive in humidity and moisture. Additionally, heat, moisture, and humidity can sometimes cause flaking of the paint or finish. Even simply using your wooden deck on a regular basis can affect its appearance and overall function as certain chemicalscan leech through the surface into the wood and hasten the rotting.
As prevention, immediately wipe away spills on the deck. Check for signs of rotting when you observe the first signs of discoloration and treat these areas quickly.
Check all the joints of the deck at the railings, stairs, and boards for missing screws or other hardware. Look closely at the boards and ensure that they are connected directly to the house since these boards or ledgers help keep the wooden deck in place.
Loose ledgers pose a scary situation where the deck can pull away from the house, making it dangerously unstable. Inspect all posts to see if there is any missing hardware caused by loosening over time, eventually leading screws etc. to fall out. Regular inspection of your wooden deck will help ensure that it stays safe for your family’s use.
A woodturner can help replace your deck or railing if either item needs to be fixed. They can customise the project to make sure it looks exactly like your existing layout. Traditional Turnings has been working with wood for over 30 years and with their skill and materials will make your wooden deck look as good as new.
Careful visual inspection at regular times is highly recommended. You may schedule checking your wooden deck for problems once every two to three months. Once you see signs of problems, take care of these right away accordingly. Immediately replacing rotten boards, missing screws or connectors and filling in cracks will ensure that your deck remains in tip-top shape.
By regularly caring for your wooden deck, you ensure that you have an attractive and safe outdoor feature for your family or guests to use for many years to come. Preventive care is just one of the many ways to make your home a secure placefor your family.
Edward Flanagan is the founder of Edward’s Enterprises, a handyman service & licensed general contractor that has been improving homes and providing facilities maintenance in Southern California since 1996. Their carpentry services include wood deck and patio cover repairs and replacements. Edward currently divides his time between Camarillo and Venice Beach, CA, and loves the 405.