Replace or Repair? What to do with an Older Deck

Having an existing wood deck is an excellent feature for homeowners, providing valuable outdoor living space. However, an older deck may start to show signs of serious wear and tear. This makes it not only unattractive, but also a potential safety hazard. If your deck is aging, you may need to decide whether to repair it, or to replace it altogether. Repairing is often easier and more affordable than a complete replacement. Here’s what to consider when you have an older deck:

Inspect it thoroughly

Before determining whether to replace all or part of your wood deck, it’s important to do a thorough visual inspection. This will allow you to find any potential problem areas that need to be addressed. The first things to check are the deck posts. These are the posts that secure the structure to the ground, and are essential for the stability of the entire deck. If the posts are rotted or cracked, they need to be secured. Rotted posts are weak, and should be replaced right away.

Carefully examine the hardware throughout the deck, each of the boards, the railings, and the stairs. Take note of what needs to be fixed and which hardware elements need to be replaced. This includes the connections that secure the structure to the home. Proper maintenance and upkeep can extend the life of a deck, so a thorough inspection should be done every year.

Look for signs of weathering

The signs of weathering are usually obvious on an older deck. Even weather treated boards become susceptible to damage from rain, snow, wind, and humidity. Some boards may be seriously damaged, with visible cracks and splintering. Cracked wood is an issue for several reasons, as it can weaken the board, and it can cause harmful splinters.

You may see water spots, or spots that appear moldy or feel spongey. Rotting wood is weak and poses a serious safety hazard. Termite damage is another issue to be on the lookout for. If there are only small sections with damage, you may be able to just replace individual boards. Use the tip of a screwdriver to check for weak spots in the wood.

Replace weak railings

Secure, stable railings are necessary for a safe deck. Check to see if any railings are loose, shaky, or showing signs of rot. Cracked wood allows water to seep and settle in, which eventually leads to molding and rotting. Since deck railings are often used for leaning on, it’s essential that they’re sturdy. A loose or weak railing could eventually spell disaster when being leaned on.

If you’re unsure, call a professional

Finally, if you’re unsure whether your older deck should be repaired or replaced, call us at 978-538-7325. We know exactly what to look for, and are familiar with the various types of wood that are typically used in decking. We are able to determine how stable your deck is, and can show you which areas may be of concern. Trust the expertise of a professional if you’re not sure what to do with an older wood deck.


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