4 Signs Your Wood Deck is in Need of Repair

A wood deck is a great bonus feature for any home, adding valuable outdoor living space. However, it has to be properly maintained in order to be both safe and attractive for homeowners to use and enjoy year after year. It only takes a quick inspection to see if your deck is in good shape. Here are 4 common signs that your wood deck is in need of repair:

Loose, wobbly deck railings and stairs

A safe deck is made of more than just wooden boards and nails. There are other essential hardware components that ensure it is stable, sturdy and secure, including metal connectors and screws. If your stairs wobble, or if the railings are loose enough that they shake and move when you grab them, you need to fix them fast. Check the connectors and the screws that secure them in place. You may need to tighten them up, or replace them altogether if they’re rusty, damaged, or appear to be in bad shape.

Deteriorating wood decking

Wood rot is a common issue with older decks. Exposure to the elements can take a toll on deck boards, even if they’ve been pressure treated. Moisture, heat, and humidity can cause fungal growth, leaving wood discolored, and even flaky. Check all of the boards for visible signs of mildew, discoloration, and soft spots. Use the tip of a screwdriver to test for soft, spongy areas. If you do find wood rot, you’ll want to replace those boards with pressure treated wood.

Cracked or splintered deck boards

It’s normal for deck boards to show signs of wear, including cracks. However, some cracks can become so deep that they’re dangerous due to the potential for splinters. They can also weaken the wood, making the entire deck at greater risk of collapse. You can fill in small cracks, but for larger ones, you’ll want to replace the boards. A quick visual inspection will allow you to determine which splintered boards need to be removed and replaced.

Missing deck hardware

Take your time when going over all of the connections on the deck, from the railings to the stairs to the individual boards. Spend extra time inspecting the boards that are connected directly to the house, since these boards, called ledgers, are critical to keeping the deck securely in place. Look over all of the posts. There may be missing hardware simply because they’ve come loose and fallen out over time. If you don’t check, you may never notice until your deck becomes dangerous. If the ledgers come loose, you risk a scary situation where the deck can begin to pull away from the house, becoming completely unstable.

A thorough visual inspection several times a year is essential to ensuring that your deck is safe for use. If you detect any of these signs that your wood deck may be in need of repair, take care of them right away. By being proactive about deck maintenance, you’ll enjoy a safe and attractive outdoor area for entertaining and relaxation for years to come. ​

Not sure whether your wood deck is in good condition and meets current safety standards? Call our deck specialists today at (978) 538-7325 and schedule a Deck Safety Evaluation. Our experienced professionals will employ a 100­-point evaluation process to examine the safety and structural integrity of your wood deck.


Contact a Specialist