Outdoor living is a rising trend. That said, decks have also become one of the most valuable additions to your home. It offers a place to entertain guests and enjoy the great outdoors with your family.
That said, decks are exposed to outdoor conditions and frequent foot traffic. While most deck materials are designed to withstand these harsh conditions and last for decades, damages are inevitable. Sooner or later, your deck will need repair services or a replacement.
But how do you know it’s time to call companies like Dupont Builders, one of the best deck builders MN, to repair or replace your decking? This article shares critical signs of a failing deck to watch out for.
1. It’s Way Past Its Recommended Lifespan
Depending on the material, decks are designed to last for decades. However, even the most durable deck can’t last forever. Every deck material has a recommended lifespan. You can use that to determine if your deck needs repair or replacement.
Generally, you may patch these issues if your deck is still decades from retiring and minor damages occur because of inclement weather. However, if your deck is well beyond its recommended lifespan and damages are caused by old age deterioration, you may need to replace it.
2. Sinking Panels
A sound structural foundation is critical for decks since it needs to support furniture and several people. Sinking sections or unstable footings are warning signs you must call an expert. Often, sinking panels are caused by foundation issues. In general, seasonal and temperature fluctuations could take their toll on deck foundations, contributing to your deck’s weakened structural integrity. If this happens, you can call an expert to repair the footings and ensure foundation stability.
In addition, some sinking or bowing panels may also be caused by moisture which deteriorates the wood. It’s often a sign to replace the boards to prevent someone from falling or tripping.
3. Squeaking Noise
A squeaky wood deck is a common phenomenon. A little squeak here and there often goes unnoticed. However, if the squeaks get more annoying and louder, it’s obviously calling for your attention.
Squeaking occurs when the wood rubs against the nail. Ideally, the nail or connectors hold the panels to the joists so you won’t hear squeaking. However, if the boards are warped or twisted, nails start to loosen from the joists and begin to make loud noises.
If you can isolate the area of the squeaking noise, it’s possible to fix it by screwing it back into position.
4. Compromised Railings
Deck railings are more than decorative elements. They help protect you against falls, particularly for elevated decks. While loose or compromised railings may seem harmless, they can pose a safety hazard for your family, especially for little kids. Wobbly railings can freely tumble off the side, causing falls and injuries.
Generally, if the railing can be moved more than an inch or two, it’s a sign to replace it. In addition, even if the railing isn’t wobbly but has apparent damage, such as rotting or rusting, it should be replaced to avoid cuts and scratches.
5. Splintered And Cracked Boards
Splinters and cracks are common tell-tale signs that your deck needs repair and replacement. Wooden deck boards often splinter or crack due to outdoor temperature fluctuations, moisture damage, and insect or termite infestation. Wood cracks and splinters will naturally happen as the wood age, but some boards get damaged or cracked more than others.
Generally, a splintered or cracked board isn’t an emergency. A deck repair professional can easily replace it without trouble. Regular sealing and staining can help extend the lifespan of decks. However, if most boards show signs of deterioration, it’s probably time for a full replacement.
6. Rusty Connectors Or Missing Nails
Nails and metal connectors hold everything together and secure the deck to your home. If you notice loose or rusting connectors or nails, you want to fix and replace them immediately. That said, the more rust you find on the metal structures connecting your deck, the more dangerous its condition is.
Corrosion can significantly weaken your deck’s structure and may cause collapse if not properly repaired or replaced. Consider hiring a deck contractor to inspect and fix the issue.
7. Peeling Paint Or Discolored Boards
Deck paints and stains are uniquely designed to slow down normal wear and tear caused by harsh outdoor elements. Unless your deck is exceptionally old, peeling paint or discolored boards can indicate rust or rotting.
This could also mean that your deck is consistently retaining water. If your deck is fading, consider refinishing it. However, check if there’s water damage that causes rotting before staining.
A professionally-installed deck provides a comfortable outdoor space for you and your family to bond. It also allows you to entertain and socialize with friends and guests all year round. While well-maintained and high-quality decks can be expected to last for decades, every installation has an expiration date.
Watching out for the above warning signs allows you to take a proactive approach towards deck repair to extend its lifespan or complete replacement. Doing this will help you improve your home value and reduce risks of accidents.
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