When you notice your deck looking a little faded and drab, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement. Check out this handy list of telltale signs that getting a new deck should be on your radar this year.
Rotten or Damaged Wood
Wood rot can show up without warning and destabilize your deck. If you identify even a single instance of rot, you need to inspect and potentially replace the entire thing. Consider using a quality wood-based sealant in the new deck to minimize future incidents. Wood that shifts underfoot (or gives) should also be inspected for a replacement. Other signs that it’s time for a makeover include broken boards, cracks in the wood, or holes from termites and other similar insects.
Did you know that both concrete and wooden deck footings are susceptible to soil erosion? Erosion usually affects household decks when snowmelt and rainwater take away the soil supporting the footings and posts of the deck. Drainage problems around your deck can creep up out of nowhere. But the fact is that the posts of your deck will naturally become exposed over time, and landscaping changes, like eliminating plant beds, can speed up those changes.
Faded or Flaking Paint
Even after a recent re-paint, you may find your deck with flaking or worn-out paint because it was not adequately washed or there was not enough paint to have staying power. If the deck is in sound shape and the paint is your only problem, you can remove loose paint, sand, power wash the deck, and apply a new coat. Make sure to apply a second coat if needed for longevity. Don’t skip steps or you’ll find yourself back in the same boat again. If only one section of the deck is affected, look for the source of the problem, which could include a leak or too much sun exposure.
A deck that’s six to seven years old will probably require a replacement, even if there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. Generally, the age of your deck relative to its exposure to environmental elements will have the greatest impact on its health. So, as your deck ages, especially in regions where you experience extreme temperatures from season to season, getting a new deck is a smart idea.
Molds and Mildew
Inspect the deck for fungal growth. You should be able to remove a little mold or mildew on the deck without too much trouble using a cleaning solution of water and laundry detergent (or vinegar) and a stiff brush. If mold is growing beneath the deck, such as on the support posts, that could be a more serious problem. It may indicate that there is inadequate drainage due to the construction of the deck or that the deck was built too close to the ground so that there is not enough air circulation in between.
Ineffective Ledger Board
The ledger board is the part of the deck that connects it to the rest of your home. Inspect it to see if it’s damaged, unstable, or wobbly in any way. Unsecured or loose ledger boards pose a safety risk and could collapse in rough thunderstorms. In addition, make sure each of the ledger boards has a watertight connection to your residence, as well as secure flashing to repel liquids (water damage is a leading cause behind ledger board ineffectiveness).
Walk a few steps on your deck and see how the wood reacts to your feet. If you feel bowing, sponginess, or even soft areas, this indicates that there’s moisture on the wood. The solution is to install a new set of planks. In several instances, there’ll be rotting beneath the surface that’s invisible to the naked eye. Such situations also call for a complete replacement of the deck.
Loose deck railings pose a serious safety risk. Though they won’t necessarily cause your deck to collapse, they’re a clear sign that your deck needs a renovation or replacement as soon as possible.. Catching railing issues early on will prevent the deterioration from spreading and damaging the structural integrity of your deck. Ideally, the railings should be able to support people should they slip while coming on or off of the deck.
One way to enhance the structural integrity of your deck is to install concrete footings. However, in some situations, they’re not useful. If the initial footings were poured on soil that was either unstable from the beginning or that has shifted over the years, the concrete may drop or completely crack. Plus, instances of thaw or freeze cycles can also take their toll on these footings. This usually happens in colder regions where thawing or freezing can make the footings drop if they weren’t installed properly or deep enough.
If you’ve looked for these signs and are now left with a questionable deck, it’s time to take action. Getting a new deck will provide added value to your property and help keep your deck safe and looking great, too.
You can go with wood decking or composite. Trex decking composite material is particularly popular in Colorado because of the way it holds up in extreme weather. It looks beautiful, and its resistant to cracks, warps, rot and termites.