Outdoor living fixtures such as decks and fences are subject to significant stresses from environmental factors. Wooden decks are particularly vulnerable to damage due to exposure to elements such as the sun and temperature fluctuations. When faced with a damaged deck, homeowners often find themselves grappling with the decision of whether to repair or replace it.
To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate the deck’s condition. By conducting a thorough inspection, you can determine whether repair or replacement is the more viable option. However, in some cases, a full replacement or rebuild may be necessary to ensure that you can continue enjoying the benefits of a functional and attractive deck.
When Should You Replace a Deck Over Repairing It
In reality, decks don’t have a very long lifespan. If your deck is over 20 years old, experts often recommend that you rebuild the framing of the deck itself.
At this point, you’ll need to carefully consider the pros and cons. While repairing a deck is generally cheaper than rebuilding and replacing the framing, it may only serve as a band-aid solution and not be worth the investment in the long run. If you opt for repair service, you may find yourself having to rebuild the deck in just a few years, meaning you’ll have spent money on repairs when you could have invested in a complete rebuild. Additionally, even with repairs, the deck may still fail if its framing is too deteriorated.
Put simply, when a deck repair will only extend the life of your entire deck an additional 3-5 years, the decision should be simple: a new deck to meet your needs and keep your family safe. Here are signs to look for that indicate your deck is beyond repair and needs to be replaced.
Signs For When It’s Time for Deck Replacement
1. Significant Damage
Every form of decking material experiences wear and tear. While cracks and missing screws may just need a simple fix, there are other types of damages that are significant and can’t be ignored. This includes large holes, broken or split boards, unstable posts, and noticeable damage from termites or other boring insects.
Additionally, joists can detach from the ledger board causing the damaged boards to become loose and move around. Lifted and unsecured boards or wood that gives or shifts underfoot can become safety hazards that cause people to trip. When it comes to the safety of your family, your deck should never be wobbly or weak.
2. Wood Rot
Wood rot is a serious problem that can quickly spread and—before you know it—can completely destabilize the entire deck. Even just a little wood rot weakens the entire structure of your deck causing it to deteriorate over time.
If the wood rot is localized and needs repair, sometimes all it takes is replacing the rotten wood and using a quality wood deck sealant for deck restoration and to prevent future incidents. However, high amounts of rot or wood rot that has significantly spread can indicate that it’s time for a deck replacement. Be sure to consult with your contractor for advice on how to care for your deck and prevent wood rot from occurring in the future.
3. Deteriorating Ledger Board
The ledger board plays a crucial role in connecting your existing deck to the side of your house and providing structural support. If the ledger board becomes compromised, the rest of the deck becomes compromised.
The first step you should take is to ensure that the flashing around your ledger board is securely in place as this helps prevent water damage and rot from ruining the board. However, if you notice loose fittings or rot appearing on your ledger board, it might be time for a replacement deck.
4. Damaged Hardware & Fittings
The hardware and fittings are located on the underside of your deck. It is important to inspect these to ensure that none of them are loose, completely missing, or rusted and deteriorating. The older your deck, the more likely this is to occur; however, inadequate care or improper installation can also cause these problems in decks of any age.
If the underside of your deck is in bad shape, then a full replacement may be necessary.
5. Serious Molds & Mildew
Some mold is to be expected on your deck simply because of the moisture that it’s always exposed to outside. A little greenish mold is certainly an eyesore but might not be a cause for a new deck just yet. Clear it off immediately with power washing and treat the wood with a resurfacing deck stain that includes a fungicide to prevent future problems.
On the other hand, if you see mushroom-like molds or fungal growths, this could be a sign of more serious damage that has compromised the entire structure. If you see this, you may need to thoroughly inspect and evaluate for replacement.
6. Damaged Railings
Loose railings are not always an indicator that your deck needs to be completely replaced. However, you should have them secured by a handyman as quickly as possible because they need to be able to support someone should they slip while entering or exiting the deck (and to prevent dreaded splinters!). However, if loose railings are coupled with other issues above, it could mean it’s time for a replacement deck.
7. It’s Simply An Old Deck
All building materials, especially those used for exterior purposes, have a limited lifespan. The age of the material will always play a role in determining when a deck replacement is needed. A wooden deck can typically last anywhere from 15 to 40 years depending on the quality of the materials used and the level of deck maintenance provided. However, if your deck is showing signs of aging and has surpassed the 20-year mark, you should start thinking about replacing it.
Need to Replace Your Deck? Call Us!
Our deck contractors have the know-how to guide you every single step of the way while still leaving final decisions up to you. Our experts can help you decide which deck railings, materials, and more would work best for your home improvement, remodeling, and DIY goals, whether that be to enhance the look of your outdoor space for yourself or potential buyers or to increase the resale value of your house.
But we don’t just offer you expertise and quality labor. We also provide high-quality materials to ensure the final product is nothing short of spectacular.
Contact us today to see how we can tailor the perfect fence for your yard!