Custom decks are a common part of many homes in the U.S. It’s almost like deck building is an American tradition. This extended living space is popular for entertaining, dining, barbecues, relaxing and other purposes.
Like any home component, however, decks have a lifespan. Maintenance and care can extend the lifespan of any deck, but efforts in caring for a deck can only go so far. Eventually, you’ll have to consider replacing your deck with a completely new one.
How can you tell if your deck is due for a replacement? Here are some signs.
Your Deck Is Old
Even if good custom decks don’t look like they need repairs, if yours is over six years old, it’s a good idea to call a professional for a more thorough inspection. Professionals know what to look for and where better than you do, and they might spot signs of damage that you would normally miss.
Though you take good care of your deck with regular cleaning, it is still exposed to the elements, so the condition of your deck also depends on the kind of exposure it receives. The more intense the weather is in your area, the more weathering your deck undergoes. If you live near the sea, it’s also reasonable to assume the corrosive quality of the air can cause damage over time.
Wood is susceptible to wet and dry rot, and termite damage can occur without you realizing it until it’s too late. Replacing termite damaged boards might be fine for a little while, but if you didn’t have the area treated by a pest control professional, chances are the termites will damage the new boards, too.
Your Deck Is Moving Away From Your Home
Your deck has a ledger board, which is the part of the deck that connects it to your home. Give the ledger board a careful inspection. If it’s pulling away from your home, your deck is in danger of collapsing and possibly causing damage to some parts of your home, too. It only takes the weight of snow or heavy rains to make this happen. If this is the case with your deck, it’s a good idea to call a pro and discuss a complete deck remodel instead of a repair.
Your Deck Material Is Up for Replacement
The longevity of your deck depends on different factors, including the kind of weather you have in your area and the type of material used to build your deck. Real wood decks require a lot of attention. Even with a reasonable amount of care, a wood deck would still give in to insect and small animal damage. Exposure also causes warping. If you live in an area with long and rough wet seasons, expect your wood deck to suffer wet rot at some point.
Composite and vinyl decks, on the other hand, may have problems with fading. It normally takes a long time for a composite or vinyl deck to fade. So, if it does start showing signs of color fading, it’s time to consider replacing it.
The Posts Are Rotted
You can probably replace one or two of the posts holding your deck up if they show signs of rot. However, if all the posts have rot or if the rot has traveled to other parts of the deck, it might be more cost-efficient to hire a professional for a deck remodel or replacement.
Do not wait too long to address this issue. The posts are major supporting structures, so neglecting them can lead to accidents. This is a major safety issue; act immediately.
There Is Rot in the Joists
The joists support the floor of your deck, and they are as vital for support as the posts are. Again, it’s a major safety issue if the joists are rotted. Since the joists are near the ground or are in direct contact with the ground, and it’s not easy to inspect them, it might take the efforts of a pro to detect rot. If there is rot or water damage, it’s time for a replacement.
To check for rot and water damage in the joists, press a screwdriver against them. If the screwdriver sinks in without much effort, the wood is damaged. It’s not easy to replace joists so it’s better to consider a deck replacement.
The Railings Are Moving
Get a feel for the sturdiness of your railings. Do they feel steady? People standing on a deck typically converge at the perimeter, and some lean against the railings. If your railings are damaged and unsteady, an innocent move can lead to an accident, particularly if your deck sits high off the ground.
If the railings move and don’t feel solid, it’s time to perform some repairs. The railings are likely to have rot or water damage, causing them to become unsteady. Fortunately, repairing the railings is easier than trying to repair joists or posts.
However, it’s a good idea to inspect further to make sure the rot or water damage is limited to the railings and is not affecting the other parts of the deck. If there is rot everywhere, obviously, the only choice you have is to replace your deck before it suffers more damage. You don’t want your damaged deck to affect your other parts of your home or even your patio.
The Floor Is Unsteady
Another hazard is unsteady floors on a deck. This probably means your floor, joists or posts have suffered major water damage or rot. Even if it looks fine, don’t wait until the floor collapses under someone’s weight. It’s probably time to replace your deck if this is the case, so bring it to the attention of a deck contractor.
It’s All Falling Apart
Some signs of damage are harder to spot than others, but if you look at your deck, and it’s starting to look like it doesn’t belong next to your home anymore, it’s time to replace it. If by one look you can tell it’s dangerous to even stand on it, then you should see a contractor about installing a new deck.
This is usually a problem when you buy an older home. Other parts of the home may look completely fine, but the deck has seen better years. Some fading can be corrected with sanding and a new coat of paint or stain, but if the damage goes beyond aesthetics, consider replacing your deck with a new one.
A good idea is to look into composite decks. Though wood is a champion when it comes to looks, if you’re not the type of homeowner that likes spending time maintaining a deck, a composite deck is for you. It’s long-lasting and sturdy, and doesn’t need a lot of upkeep. It’s easier to clean, and it’s immune to termites and other damage caused by animals, and it never falls victim to rot.
We can customize a composite deck that would fit perfectly with your property. We also offer a great patio design collection. Get in touch with The Deck Store today. Call us at (701) 223-1008,or use this form to get your free quotation. Let’s get started with your deck or patio installation project today.