When warm weather arrives, outdoor living becomes so appealing. As you prepare your outdoor spaces, you may notice your home’s deck needs some extra care. But can loose boards, wobbling railing, and missing nails be repaired — or would it be better to build a new deck?
While repairs may seem simpler than a deck replacement, it’s important to carefully assess your outdoor structure first. A deck in poor condition can collapse, damaging your home and causing injury to your loved ones. A secure, lovely deck, installed by the pros at Siding and Windows Group, helps you fully enjoy your home lifestyle.
9 components to consider when deciding between a deck replacement or repairs.
1. Age of Deck
As your deck ages, features wear down and eventually need replacement. The older the structure is, the more likely it will be to have issues that aren’t easily repaired.
Natural woods, such as cedar and pine, often succumb to moisture damage after 10-20 years. By comparison, composite decking materials like TimberTech® can last 25-30 years. If your deck is old, replacement may be a smart choice.
2. Structural Damage
Do an inspection of your entire deck. Do you notice major issues, such as large holes or significant wood rot? Do you see multiple concerns all around the deck, rather than in just one small area?
The greater the damage, the more it makes sense to invest in a deck replacement. Multiple repairs can become pricey, making it more cost-effective to install a new deck with modern materials and durable features.
3. Dysfunctional Deck Surface
The flooring where you walk and place furniture is one of the most visible areas of your deck, and the most frequently used. Examine the deck boards for sections that are loose, rotted, warped, worn, and faded.
If only one or two boards look marred while everything else remains solid, repairing those spots may be doable. But if you see a lot of damage to the deck surface, it’s probably smarter to choose a deck replacement.
4. Rotted Wood
Moisture damage is a major cause of deck issues, and if not addressed quickly, the problem only gets worse. Rot spreads quickly from area to area, and it can infect a large portion of your deck, including its joists and supports. This is a major cause of deck collapses.
Beyond the deck itself, moisture damage can potentially affect your siding if the deck is attached to your house. And moisture also attracts termites and other pests. If you see signs of rot, it’s worth having an inspection by deck pros to discover if repairs are possible or if a deck replacement is needed.
5. Wobbly Rails
Through wear and tear, your deck’s railing can become loose, posing a risk to anyone who leans on it. To ensure everyone’s safety while using the deck, make repairs to loose railing immediately.
Also, keep in mind that damaged railing can sometimes be due to rot or other structural weaknesses. If you’re seeing other signs of problems in addition to wobbly rails, that’s a sign a new deck may be the better option.
6. Cracked Posts and Joists
You might not think about it often, but the structure underneath your deck is just as important as the part you see and use. The deck’s support system includes posts, joists, beams and other elements that can all be weakened by termites and other pests, moisture damage, and aging.
If you’re seeing cracks, breaks, sagging joists, rotted wood beams and other similar signs, get the deck inspected before using it. Deck contractors can tell you whether repairs are possible, but it’s more likely a replacement will be what you need.
7. Weakened Ledger Board and Flashing
Is your deck attached directly to your home? If so, the deck uses a ledger board to hold it in place and flashing to direct rainwater away from your home. These areas can become damaged, which is another major cause of deck collapses.
If you see signs of wood rot, loosened hardware, broken wood, missing flashing and other issues where the deck meets your home, it’s time to call a contractor for help.
8. Failing Hardware
We’ve been talking a lot about wood, but the elements that attach your wood in place—nails, screws, and other hardware—matter too. Often, missing nails and similar items are easily repaired.
But be sure to inspect the deck to see if failing hardware is being caused by a bigger problem, like significant rot and other structural issues.
9. Lack of Useful Features
Sometimes, a deck just isn’t living up to the dream you have for your outdoor spaces and your overall home lifestyle. Take a look at your deck and ask yourself, “Does this space have what I need? Can I turn it into my dream outdoor entertainment area?”
If not, then a new deck with all the latest features you’re dreaming about can turn that desire into reality. A few ideas to get you started are listed below.
Enjoy Outdoor Living with a Beautiful New Deck
Adding a new deck can create a lot of value for your home. As you think about what a deck replacement can do for you, keep in mind that today’s new materials offer a lot of options for homeowners. One popular choice is TimberTech® Decking, a composite decking material that offers many advantages:
- Low Maintenance — no need to stain or seal it annually
- Long-Lasting — resists scratches, stains, pests, rot, and fading
- Attractive — highly customizable, and available in many colors
- Comfortable — cools quickly on hot days
- Affordable — lower lifetime cost than natural wood
- Trusted — 50-year fade and stain limited warranty
Why not dream a little and get a picture of how your outdoor spaces can be transformed with a lovely new deck? Our porch and deck gallery is filled with gorgeous examples of deck replacements we’ve created for Chicago area homeowners.