Deck Building

Why You Should Leave Deck Repair to the Professionals

Wood rot, termite damage, and rust on nails, screws, and hardware can all weaken a deck, making it unsafe. Deck Repair Summerville SC inspects and treast these issues quickly to avoid structural damage or injury to family and guests.

Replace rotting boards with new ones, cutting them to span at least two joist spaces without touching neighboring planks. Make sure the joist hangers are rust-free, too.

deck repair

A deck takes a beating like no other outdoor wood surface. It sees heavy foot traffic, holds grills and outdoor furniture, collects rainwater and snow, and is exposed to the sun’s UV rays. These rays damage the wood, creating fading and discoloration. And the constant contact with water wears away at boards, causing them to rot or break apart. Once the rot or rotting gets out of hand, it becomes more than just an eyesore—it’s a safety hazard for anyone who uses the deck.

A trusted professional can clean the wood to remove dirt and mold, then sand rough spots to smooth them. They’ll also apply a waterproof preservative to help the deck last longer and repel moisture. They may even use a fungicide to prevent mildew, if necessary.

If the decision is to stain or paint, an experienced pro will first test the wood for moisture content. Pour a capful or two of water on different parts of the deck surface—high traffic and low, sunny and shady, new and old. It should soak in within a minute; if it beads up, the deck isn’t ready for stain.

There are several types of stains, including oil based and water based, available in many attractive wood-tone shades. Some are semi-transparent, allowing the natural grain to show through; these tend to hold up better than clear stains or paints but require reapplication more often. Solid stains hide discoloration, but they can chip or peel with age.

Paint is thicker than stain, so it offers more coverage and covers blemishes well, even if they’re deep. It’s usually best to apply at least two coats, but the number of coats depends on the color and how much bare wood is showing. It’s important to cover nearby plants and surfaces with plastic sheets when painting. An experienced professional can help you choose the right color to match your home, and they’ll be able to advise on the number of coats needed for complete coverage. Your painter will also prime the surfaces that will be painted—which helps improve adhesion and increases protection from moisture.

Sealing your deck is a necessary step to protect it from rain and sun that can damage wood. But it can become a major project that takes much longer than you might think. Before you can apply a sealant, you have to thoroughly clean the deck. This will remove dirt, mildew and debris that could block the product from penetrating into the wood. Sweep the surface and use a brush or push broom to get into tight areas where dust, dirt and other debris may be trapped. If your deck is very dirty or has a lot of grime, you might also want to wash it with a pressure washer. Just be sure to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual regarding the distance you should hold the wand from the wood to avoid gouges or other damage.

Once the deck is cleaned, it should be completely dry before you begin sealing. If the deck is still wet, the sealant will not be able to soak into the wood, and it will leave a film that looks dull or unappealing.

There are two types of sealants you can use – a clear or pigmented sealant. A clear sealant won’t alter the color of the wood it covers, but it doesn’t offer ideal UV protection and will need to be reapplied more often, about every 12 to 18 months. A pigmented sealant will change the color of the wood and offers better UV protection, but it can take up to 3 years before it needs reapplying.

Before you apply the sealant, cover any plants or other items on or near the deck. You should also cover your house siding with plastic sheeting or drop cloths to keep the sealant from getting on it. Also, it’s best to tell family members to stay off of the deck while it is being sealed so they don’t accidentally walk on wet spots that could affect how well the sealant adheres.

Once the sealant is applied, allow it to dry for at least 48 hours before you begin using your deck again. This will give the wood a strong and durable protection that can last for years.

Deck boards take a beating from the sun and weather. Over time, the exposed wood can rot and crack. It’s essential to repair damaged boards promptly, as the underlying structure may be at risk of collapse. In addition to being unsightly, rotting deck boards can pose safety risks for anyone using the deck.

A wood filler is a simple, cost-effective way to repair minor damage to deck boards. It can be used to fill holes, cracks, and splits in the board surface or cover sanding scratches. For best results, the filler should be applied to a clean surface and allowed to dry completely before staining or sealing.

Some decks will require more extensive repairs, including replacing one or more boards. This is a relatively straightforward process, although it can be challenging to achieve a seamless look when re-installing the boards. It’s also important to ensure that the new replacement boards are properly supported by joists. Depending on the extent of the rot or other damage, the deck may need to be reconstructed entirely.

Often, the damaged area is a section of the deck that spans two or more joist spaces. This means that the replacement deck board must be sized to fit in at least two of these locations. Using a speed square or a jigsaw with a coarse blade, mark cutting lines on the deck board so that they are flush with the inside edges of the joists.

Pest damage to a deck can be hidden and go unnoticed for a long time. If left unchecked, termite or other infestations can undermine the integrity of a deck until it collapses under the weight of people and furniture. It’s important to call a professional for pest control and removal as soon as you suspect an infestation, so the problem can be contained before it spreads.

Other common deck repairs include removing mold and algae from the boards, which is not only unsightly but can be dangerous for those walking on the deck. Mold and algae can weaken the deck board and joists, and they can rust fasteners and hardware. Mold removal usually involves a thorough power wash, while addressing rot and other structural problems will probably require a professional.

While the surface of a deck can be repaired and made to look new again, there comes a point when the underlying structure needs to be replaced entirely. This is usually not a do-it-yourself project, and the cost can easily run into several thousands of dollars. It is also often better to leave this type of work to a licensed professional who knows how the deck was built and the materials that were used.

One of the most common problems with a deck is that the boards are rotting from water damage. This can happen to even pretreated wood if the exposure is prolonged and extensive. If the deck board is rotted, it can start to collapse or allow moisture to leak underneath, damaging the joists and beams. This can be a dangerous situation to be in, and it is often best left to professionals.

To find out if a deck is rotting, you should take a tool such as a screwdriver and tap the wood to see how it feels. If the wood feels soft or has a mushy feel to it, this indicates that the deck board is rotting and should be replaced immediately. It is also important to inspect the joists and beams to see if they are damaged or need to be replaced.

Deck posts are generally set in concrete footings. This helps with stability, but if the footings are rotten or unstable, it can cause the post to become shaky and eventually need to be replaced.

The ledger board is what connects the deck to your home, and if it has rotten or loose connections it can pull away from the house causing structural damage. This can be expensive to repair and is another reason that annual inspections are a good idea.

Depending on the size of your deck and what you are doing to it, the costs can vary a lot. However, these are a few of the typical charges for doing repairs or replacing parts of your deck. Performing regular maintenance on your deck can help you to avoid many of these charges and extend the life of the deck.