A beautiful decking has the ability to connect the cool serenity of your backyard with the warm comfort inside your home. It helps you enjoy outdoor living while taking mere steps outside your back door. Although it offers a perfect scenery, it happens to wear off over time, which necessitates making a decision on whether to repair or replace your deck.
Most problems associated with decking are not always structural because the underlying frame comes with pressure-treated lumber that contains chemicals, which help it combat bad weather, water, and termites. In order to make a decision on whether to repair or replace your deck, there are five important things you need to consider.
Check the Ledger
The ledger is the building material that connects the deck to your house. Decks that seem to be collapsing over a short period always have improper ledger installations. Instead of roofing nails, you should come across galvanized joist hanger nails used during the installation. The flashing should cover the ledger that attaches to the house. You may need to call in an expert to help you with the repair if the flashing is worn out. The ledger is always the backbone of the structure and any heavy rotting, deterioration or damage means that it is time to replace your deck.
Footings, Posts, and Joists
Footings may warp because of seasonal changes or can be too shallow, forcing you to make new ones. However, do not get it all wrong because it does not mean you should replace your entire deck. New footings can be added beside the old ones. It makes more sense to introduce new support to the structure, and then get rid of the old footings without tearing anything down beforehand. This not only saves you time but also money, as long as the rest of the deck is in good shape.
The Condition of Wood
Pressure treatment is known to be a preservative and can make your deck last longer. The only way to determine if the wood was pressure-treated is to check for the usual green hue. It might turn out to be cedar or redwood, so the best way to check for the green treatment is to cut off a small end-piece from the material. Although redwood and cedar are naturally resistant to insects and rot, pressure treated wood always lasts longer compared to its counterparts. Poking it with a screwdriver will give you a clear picture of whether it has started to rot. If it enters the wood so easily, you have no option but to replace those deck boards.
It is quite unfortunate that most people tend to overlook this safety feature until they find themselves leaning against them. Rotting wood or loose posts at the joists are always the major cause of the problem. It is good to try to re-secure the wood railings with new ones because they are typically attached with the nails. This will only help you in the short-term but you can always switch to another long-term solution. Carriage bolts with nuts and washers seem to be a stronger alternative, as they have minimal chances of damaging wood. Furthermore, since they are steady they will provide safety to everyone standing on your deck.
Check the Fascia Board
Fascia board is a wide thin board used to wrap around the deck perimeter. It helps conceal the ends of the deck boards and can be found just below the deck boards. Although it is not a structural board, fascia is used to provide a neater appearance to your deck. Despite its unique features, it can sometimes keep moisture trapped against the beams attached behind it serving as a water trap. The fascia is possibly causing rot or trapping moisture if you notice discoloration in your deck boards. In case of this, you will need to replace your deck right away.
No matter how frequently you maintain or inspect your deck by sealing and staining, it is always a wise idea to schedule for a periodic replacement of its surface. If it arrives at that point, you might consider replacing the surface of your deck with composite decking. Although it might resemble the appearance of the real wood, it resists damaging elements better than wood. The ideal time to inspect the substructure of your deck is when you remove the surface. If you notice any damage in the substructure, it is wise to consider replacing the entire deck.