If your wood deck starts showing signs of rot, it would be ideal to be able to repair only a small portion of it instead of the entire structure. Is using a wood fill on the rot your best option? We reached out to our readers for their input. Keep reading to see what they recommend.
Use Only for Surface Rot
If the wood on your deck is rotting on the surface, and [the damage] is strictly cosmetic and not structural, you can safely use filler. It will help the rotting to stop and help extend your deck’s lifespan.
You don’t make a deck out of a filler, though. So if the wood on your deck could give way beneath your weight, wood filler is insufficient to repair it. If the wood is falling apart, a filler is not the answer. Instead, you need a new deck.
Wood filler is a tool and when used correctly, for cosmetic purposes, it can be safely applied to rotting wood in a deck. Filler is not intended for structural purposes, though, and using it in that way could result in catastrophe.
Check the Damage First
Before you decide whether filling your deck or replacing it with a new one makes more sense, you have to know just how far the rot goes. What you see on the surface is just surface-level. What looks like minimal damage outside may just be an indication of a more extensively affected area. Filling works best for decks that have minimal damage. However, if the rot in your deck has already caused other problems like water damage, mold, and termites, it might make more financial sense to build a new one.
Remove the Rot First
While you technically can use wood filler products on a rotting wood deck, I would recommend removing the rotted portions first to prevent any future problems. If the rotting goes beyond small to midsize holes and has started to cause structural damage, wood filler isn’t going to be able to repair that damage. It is best to use it as a temporary fix for small holes on the surface of one’s deck.
Have the Wood Professionally Examined
The safety of the deck after filling remains the most important factor, therefore, whether you should fill a decaying deck or not is completely dependent on the deck’s current state.
Filling a rotted wood deck is a good option if the deck has been professionally examined and confirmed safe to fill; the deck, in that case, is not fully rotten and is yet salvageable. You fill a rotting wood deck to keep it from decomposing any further. If, on the other hand, the majority of the deck is already rotting, there is nothing left to rescue.
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