Outdoor decks are one of the most rewarding home additions out there. In fact, when decks are designed and installed by qualified professionals, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t last 10, 15 or even 20 years with proper maintenance.
But what if your deck isn’t looking so hot? What if the surface is withered and cracked? If you’re fed up with your deck’s appearance and feel it’s time to do something about it, you’ll want to proceed with care. The options available to you will depend on the condition of your deck—not only on the surface, but underneath.
Is your deck structurally sound?
If the foundation and framing of your outdoor deck are in bad condition, you’ll have two basic options.
Rebuild parts of the old deck, attempting to salvage areas that are still functional
Tear it down completely and build a brand new deck
Starting fresh is probably your best option if the deck in question is more than 15-20 years old, and is in very poor structural condition. It’s often cheaper and safer to simply get rid of the past and focus on the future.
On the other hand, there are many cases in which the foundation and framing are fine. There are no major structural problems with the deck; it’s just that the surface and/or railings are withered and worn, having lost their fresh appearance long ago. Improper maintenance might also have something to do with it.
In such cases, deck resurfacing becomes a serious option. This is because the costs and stresses involved in resurfacing your deck are much lower than building a brand new one. Why? Because the deck itself remains in place. Only the floorboards, and possibly the railings, are replaced. The result is a sturdier structure and a fresh new appearance that will last for years to come.
But does it last?
Deck resurfacing is a highly skilled trade that requires years of experience and training. But when it’s done right, the results are surprising—not only because they change the appearance of the deck so drastically, but because they reduce maintenance requirements and extend the overall lifespan of the structure.
When consulting a qualified deck resurfacing specialist, you’ll learn about the different materials that can be used to resurface your deck. Basically your choice is between pressure treated lumber and composite material. Both are incredibly durable and low-maintenance (especially composite, which costs more), and a specialist will be able to explain the pros and cons in detail. The age and design of your house will also play a part in which material you should choose.
Overall, deck resurfacing is the most effective and affordable solution—provided your deck is structurally sound.
How will I know what to do?
The best course of action is to research local deck resurfacing or deck building specialists and ask for an honest inspection of your deck. Reputable companies will provide this service at low cost, if not free of charge. If the foundation and framing are found to be in good condition, resurfacing may be the best way to bring your deck back to life without breaking the bank.
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