Even the most well-built deck weathers over time. The elements can wear on exposed wood, causing it to warp and rot. All decks need regular inspection and maintenance in order to withstand the elements, maintain their beauty, and remain safe for homeowners and guests.
If your deck has seen better days, don’t assume the worst. Local deck damage, which is mild damage present only within a certain area of your deck, can be easily fixed with repairs. Maybe your deck has a rotted board or two, or a few loose nails or railings. In scenarios like these, full-on deck replacement may not be necessary.
If, however, your deck is showing signs of serious structural damage, deck replacement is not only necessary but urgent. A deck with extensive structural damage, like an unstable foundation or an insecure ledger board, is dangerous to all who set foot upon it. What’s more, the damage this widespread can’t be remedied by simple repairs. If your deck has issues like these or the ones listed below, don’t delay. Look into deck replacement as soon as possible.
Signs Your Deck Needs Replacement
The most effective way to determine if deck replacement is necessary is to solicit the opinion of a trusted professional. Still, there are a number of warning signs you can look out for on your own in order to assess the integrity of your deck. Here are some telltale signs that signal deck replacement is necessary:
Age: If your deck is very old, it could violate building code regulations. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, decks must measure 30” above grade level and have guards around their perimeters with balusters of 4” or less for safety purposes.
Blemishes: You might think things like stains only detract from the appearance of your deck. The truth, however, is that blemishes could indicate that your deck’s protective sealant is deteriorating. With the protective sealant out of the picture, moisture can easily work its way into your deck’s wood, causing warping and rotting.
Rot: Wood that has been rotted by the intrusion of moisture is weaker, which means it can’t support the amount of weight it should be able to support. When inspecting your deck for rot, check for things like water damage stains, a musty scent, or fungi. Rotted wood is also more susceptible to termites, which will eat through wood and open up additional crevices for moisture to seep in. If your deck is currently being held up by posts that are rotting, deck replacement is a must.
Insecure Structures: While a broken board or a loose railing can be fixed with repairs, issues like a spongy, wobbly, unstable surface or a ledger board that is pulling away from your house call for rapid deck replacement. Check to see if your deck’s railings have been rendered unsteady by water damage. Failure to address critical issues like these could result in severe injury. If more than a few structures of your deck are insecure, deck replacement is your best solution.
Deck Replacement Options
The good news is that the cost of deck replacement is generally less than the cost of constructing an entirely new deck. The final cost of your replacement will depend upon who builds the deck and what material is used to make it.
In that department, you have some options. Each available material has different pros and cons, so it’s worth doing some research. An alternative material could prove more advantageous to you as a homeowner.
More expensive woods, like redwood and cedar, are more durable than pressure-treated wood and offer more longevity. Composite wood lacks the natural beauty of real wood but is less expensive and won’t warp or crack. Aluminum decking is the most resilient material available but is also the priciest.
Be practical in making your deck replacement decisions. Having a deck that is aesthetically appealing is nice, but your priority as a homeowner should always be making your deck as safe for use as possible.