How to Avoid Common Deck Repairs
Most outdoor decks need a good cleaning and, occasionally, repairs. Generally, widespread surface damage is a sign of structural issues and a reason to call Pro Deck Builders Charleston.
Look for loose ledger boards (the long, pressure-treated board that attaches the deck to your house). If the ledger is rotting, it could cause the entire deck to collapse.
Termite damage can ruin your home and cause thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs. These tiny pests can eat through any wooden structure in your home, and they can damage structural beams and load-bearing walls. In order to protect your home, you must have a licensed pest professional exterminate the termites and make the necessary repairs. Fortunately, the damage caused by termites can often be repaired by using wood hardeners or fillers.
When applying the repair materials, you should always remove the concrete down to the top layer of steel reinforcement in order to ensure that there is a minimum 3/4-inch mechanical bond between the repaired area and the rest of the deck. This also prevents overly thin applications of repair material that may not perform well. This is particularly important for repairs to precast deck panels (PCPs).
If you suspect that your home has been damaged by termites, you should contact a qualified pest control specialist to exterminate the termites and inspect the damage. If the damage has been severe, you may need to replace structural boards or beams. If the termite infestation is not treated in a timely fashion, it can spread to other areas of your home and cause even more damage.
It is also a good idea to schedule annual termite inspections with a certified expert to help prevent future problems. Other preventive measures include reducing conditions that attract termites, such as avoiding wood-to-soil contact, maintaining proper ventilation, removing dead trees and bushes around the house, and avoiding overmulching.
Mold and algae
If you’ve seen dark splotches of green, black, or gray on your deck, that’s not just an eyesore—it could be a sign of deeper problems. Mold and mildew aren’t just a surface problem; they can grow into the wood itself and cause structural damage over time. The first step to fixing the problem is to use a chemical treatment to kill the fungi and their roots.
You can try a household product, such as white vinegar, or you can use a deck cleaner that contains chlorine bleach to kill the mold and mildew at the root. You can spray it on the whole deck or just the affected areas, and then scrub with a stiff push broom or a scrub brush to remove as much of the fungus as you can. After the deck is clean, rinse it thoroughly with a garden hose and then let it dry completely.
The best way to prevent mold and mildew from developing in the first place is to make sure that your deck gets plenty of sun and doesn’t become damp or overly shaded. Also, make sure that your deck is well-ventilated so that moisture and heat don’t build up underneath the surface. If your deck is a covered porch, you can open windows and use fans to help prevent this issue.
Green mold, which is a fungus, can be a serious health hazard for humans and animals. It releases microscopic spores into the air that can then spread to other surfaces in your home and contaminate indoor spaces. In addition, the spores can deteriorate and decompose wood, which can lead to rot or even structural damage.
A professional can use a chemical treatment that will destroy the mold and mildew at the root so that it doesn’t return. They can also replace any boards that have been damaged by the fungus and seal them to prevent future infestations. This can involve unscrewing or unnailing the fasteners that hold the board in place, cutting a new board to size, and then screwing or nailing it back in place.
Rotted or broken boards
The beams and joists beneath your deck act as the support system, so they are particularly susceptible to water damage over time. If you see signs of rot, it is important to catch the problem early before it worsens and potentially weakens the rest of your deck. A professional may recommend replacing the affected joist rather than simply repairing the surface boards.
You can check for rot by using an ice pick or long-shaft screwdriver with a fine point. Apply slight pressure to the point of the ice pick and see how easily it travels into the wood. If it requires a lot of force, this indicates that the wood is rotted and must be replaced. If you do decide to replace the joist, choose lumber that is as close in color and variety to the existing board as possible. Install the new joist with hangers that extend into the deck and house, as opposed to just using screws, for increased strength and safety.
Cracking and warping of deck boards is normal, but it can become a serious problem when the cracks go too far. This causes the boards to separate from each other and can create trip hazards for anyone running around on bare feet. The wood can also start to crumble, and the cracking could expose nails or screws and lead to further deterioration of the boards.
It is possible to do some deck repair on your own, especially if it involves cleaning and surface maintenance. However, any repair that requires heavy equipment rental or advanced carpentry skills should be left to a professional contractor. Trying to save money by doing these repairs yourself can end up costing you more in the long run, as these types of jobs can be dangerous and require expertise. A reputable contractor will be able to give you an estimate of how much the job should cost before starting. They will also be able to recommend the best course of action for your particular deck and its specific problems. This will prevent you from spending more than necessary on a repair or replacement.
Wooden deck railings are a popular choice for their natural, woodsy look. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they can be more prone to damage than metal or plastic railings. Wood is also subject to expansion and contraction, which can lead to loose or cracked parts. If your deck has wood railings, you should check for any signs of wear and tear regularly. This is especially important if you have children or pets who use the railings.
Loose or cracked boards can be repaired fairly easily. In most cases, homeowners will simply need to sand the board and then apply some epoxy to fill any cracks or chips. However, more serious repairs will require the help of a professional. This may include removing and replacing any broken or severely damaged pieces.
Stairs are another area of the deck that is often in need of repair. Wobbly stairs can be a safety hazard for anyone, and they should be anchored as soon as possible. This is usually a relatively simple task, and it can be completed in a day or two by most professional contractors.
If your deck has wood or metal railings, the hardware that affixes them to the deck can become rusty and loose over time. This can be caused by exposure to rain and moisture. In some cases, this can be fixed by removing any rust from the bolt holes and then using anchoring cement or metal epoxy to reattach the railing.
The foundation of a deck is made up of footings and concrete pads that are installed under each post that supports the deck. When they aren’t buried deep enough, the soil can move and cause the deck to heave up. Footings can be reinstalled by a professional in most cases, but the cost will vary depending on where you live.
It’s essential to inspect your deck for any signs of rot, mold, or other problems. It’s also a good idea to have an experienced professional take a look at the structure and joists in general, especially if you have any customizations that need to be addressed.