Outdoor decks take lots of abuse. It comes from the elements such as UV rays, rain, and snow. It comes from constant use. And it comes from a lack of routine maintenance.
Why is it important for homeowners to pay attention to routine outdoor deck maintenance? Because minor problems can turn into much bigger—and more expensive—setbacks. However, if your deck is old or hasn’t been given the proper amount of care, then it may be time to consider resurfacing.
Resurfacing is an option for homeowners whose decks are weathered and damaged on the surface but still structurally sound. The foundation and framing is not damaged, but the surfaces need professional TLC. How do you know your deck needs to be resurfaced? Here are 5 signs.
1. The wood has decayed or moldy
Rain, snow, and ice can sit on old wood or plastic decking boards, eventually soaking into the boards and causing decay. When looking for signs of decay or rot, make sure your deck resurfacing specialist checks the entire deck, including the ledger board, support posts, deck boards, joists, railings, and stairs. If the structure of the deck has not been damaged, then you can resurface your deck as opposed to building a new deck altogether.
Soft and spongy boards are a sign of rotting and decay. You may also find localized damage around things like plant containers. Water may have overflowed from the container regularly, and the boards underneath may have started to decay. The deck boards will be discolored, damp, and soft under or around the container.
2. The wood is cracking, splintering, or lifting
It’s smart to address problems like these as soon as you notice them, since they will only get worse over time, and you may eventually be compelled to resurface or even replace your deck. Small cracks can be sanded down and resealed, but if there is a large split on the board or large cracks on multiple boards, it’s safer to replace the boards.
3. Boards are swollen and warped
Rain can cause deck boards to swell and warp. The ends of the boards can bend upwards, causing fasteners to come dislodged. This problem can often be solved—in an efficient and economical way—through professional deck resurfacing.
4. There are loose fasteners
Fasteners include nails, anchors, and screws. As time passes they can become loose—and when they do, moisture can get into the deck board and cause rot. This can even affect a deck’s stability.
5. You have termite damage
If you have termite damage in your deck boards, you may have to replace them. There are several signs to look for. First, look for tunnels. Termites create tunnels from the ground to the wood; they’re usually about the width of a pencil with flat tops. Large numbers of termite wings on the ground may also indicate an infestation. Lastly, you may have termite damage if your wood floors feel springy when you walk on them. The boards will also sound hollow when you tap on them, due to the tunnels the termites have made inside. However, it’s important that termite damage is caught early and is only in a small area of the deck. Otherwise you may have to tear down and start over using composite materials that termites cannot eat.
Is it time to resurface your deck?
There may come a time when your once-vibrant and shiny deck falls into disrepair and needs to be resurfaced. Look for signs such as decay, mold, termite damage, swollen boards, and loose fasteners. It’s important to determine whether the damage is contained to the boards and railings, or whether the structure of the deck is also compromised. If the foundation and framing is damaged, your deck may have to be replaced. A qualified deck resurfacing specialist in your area should be able to provide a detailed assessment and give you the answers you need.