2013 is coming to a close, and that means winter is here. Although you’re probably not going to be using your deck very much this winter, it’s good to pay attention to it to ensure that everything is copacetic. The earlier you know about potential decking issues, the easier of a time you will have planning repairs and restorations. Here are six major signs that indicate you will need to look into deck restoration in 2014.
Boards Starting to Rot? They’ll Have to Be Replaced
One of the most notorious problems that deck owners in the Lower Mainland face is the problem of deck rot. Deck rot is what happens when water and moisture get trapped inside the wooden planks of a deck, causing the deck to become weaker as time goes on. This makes the wood softer and can result in serious safety hazards. If your wooden boards are soft in places, that means they are starting to rot and need to be replaced immediately.
Cracks in the Wood Are a Sign of Structural Failure
Although small cracks in a wooden deck are to be expected (to an extent), large cracks or cracks that are particularly close together can cause safety issues. Cracks in your wooden deck are a sign that the lumber is losing its structural integrity in response to extended pressure, stress, or shearing. This can be the result of an improper installation, a change in the size or shape of the lumber in response to environmental changes, or simply age. If you find cracks in your wooden decking, it means you need to replace the boards.
Uneven Decking Means You’ll Have Problems Ahead
Uneven decking may not seem like such a big deal compared to the other items on this list, but an uneven surface can pose a tripping hazard and result in pressure and stress placed on certain parts of the deck. If your decking is uneven, you can repair it by replacing the uneven boards. There may be other solutions as well—check with your neighbourhood deck vendor about your options for repairs.
Cracks or Corrosion in the Foundation Indicate a Serious Problem
If your deck is attached to your home, a crack or fissure in the foundation may be the result of uneven pressure between the house and the deck (possibly caused by uneven soil or sediment underneath). If left untreated, this can lead to serious problems and possibly even damage your home’s foundation. If you spot signs of cracking or corrosion in the foundation, consult a deck repair professional immediately.
Fix a Wobbly Deck with a Brace
Does your deck wobble when you walk on it? If so, you may be putting unnecessary strain on the fasteners and joints that hold the deck together. If a joist and ledger board become separated or twisted, they will lose their structural integrity and could snap. In order to prevent this, you will need to get under the deck and insert a brace. Take a treated two-by-four and line it up diagonally underneath the deck, then secure it by driving nails into the joists. If you’re not an experienced handyman, this repair is better left to a professional.
Loose Ledger Flashing Can Cause Leaks
If the flashing that protects your deck’s ledger board is loose, it can allow water to seep into your deck and cause rot. Even tiny gaps can allow leaking water in. In order to repair loose ledger flashing, you will need to remove the board that runs next to your home, then remove the current flashing and replace it with new ledger flashing. The ledger flashing should extend just beyond the edge of the deck. This is also a repair that is not recommended for amateur do-it-yourselfers, so if you don’t know your way around a caulking gun, consult a professional.
These are six of the biggest signs that your deck will need repair in 2014. Most of these problems are easy to fix, but they can quickly ruin your deck if you don’t address them. If you spot any of the above issues, treat them promptly. When it comes to deck repair, doing a poor job can lead to larger issues later, so if you’re not entirely confident in your handyman abilities, contact a deck repair professional.