Why Professional Deck Repairs Are Necessary
While you can save some money by staining your deck yourself, hiring Deck Builders Lexington KY will help you make sure the job is done correctly. Stains are available in transparent types that allow the wood grain to show through and solid colors that hide it completely.
The cost of deck repairs depends on the type of damage, its severity, and whether structural changes are involved. Nonstructural issues, such as a broken board or a fallen tree limb, are less expensive than replacing an entire section of the deck.
Wood rot is the result of microbes digesting the sturdy cellulose fibers that give wood its stiff structure. The loss of this rigidity makes it easy for fungus to take hold and compromises the safety and integrity of the deck. This can be caused by many factors, including a leaking gutter, improper soffit venting, and more. Often, it is not visible and is only noticeable when the wood starts to splinter or break. It is important to inspect all parts of the deck annually for signs of wet or dry rot.
If you find any areas that are rotted or show signs of rotting, it is recommended to call a professional for deck repair as soon as possible. If left untreated, rotted or damaged boards will quickly spread to adjacent areas and compromise the structural integrity of the deck.
When repairing any rotted areas of your deck, it is recommended that the replacement board be stained or painted to match the surrounding area. This step is essential, as it will ensure that the new board fits in place accurately and looks natural.
To prevent future rot, it is recommended to use a borate treatment that can be applied to the wood with a brush or sprayer. The treatment penetrates the wood and makes it unappetizing for fungus and uninhabitable. This will also protect the integrity of your deck from further damage. To prevent rot, it is also recommended to clean your deck frequently and to keep the space free of mildew and debris, which can encourage moisture retention. In addition, you should always check the deck annually for any evidence of water leaks, gutter issues, or areas that pool water.
Mold or mildew
Moisture provides a breeding ground for mildew, mold, and wood-digesting fungi like dry rot. Moisture can be trapped in wood by leaky gutters, sprinkler system issues, and other pooling problems. If not addressed, mold and fungus may spread throughout the deck.
Mildew and mold are fungi that feed off organic matter like leaves, twigs, branches, decomposing wood, or the fibers of your deck boards. Mildew and mold typically grow in moist areas, have a powdery appearance, and give off a musty smell. Mildew tends to be a white color and can change to yellow or dark brown over time, while mold has a fuzzy texture and can be black, green, or blue.
Mold and mildew are both fungi that can cause respiratory irritation and allergies for some people. It is important to keep an eye out for symptoms of exposure, particularly for elderly people, infants, and pregnant women. Mold exposure can also lead to serious health conditions like hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a lung inflammation that affects those with chronic bronchitis or asthma.
The best way to prevent mildew and mold is to regularly clean your deck with soapy water or a bleach solution and reseal it annually. Be sure to use fresh sponges or scrub brushes to avoid re-depositing mold spores in the same area. It is also a good idea to mist the surface with clean water after cleaning to help prevent it from growing back.
Cracked or split planks
Your deck is a great place to relax with friends or family, but this peaceful spot can become a nightmare if the planks begin to crack and split. Cracked boards can cause splinters and make walking on the deck dangerous. In most cases, cracked boards can be repaired by resealing or replacing them. However, if the cracks are widespread, replacing your entire deck may be necessary.
Deck boards often crack due to everyday usage and the passage of time. They can also become warped by moisture penetration. In general, the best way to prevent warping is by regularly resealing and repainting your deck. This will help protect the wood against rain and UV rays.
In most cases, these cracks can be fixed by repairing the damaged area with epoxy. If you notice a split board, carefully remove the screw or nail that holds it in place and inspect the underside for damage. If the split is caused by impact, you will probably need to replace the board. If it is due to moisture penetration, the underside of the board should be sealed with an epoxy sealer.
You should also check the condition of your deck joists and beams to see if they need repair. In addition to wood rot, they could be affected by termite infestation, mold, or mildew. If these issues are found, the repairs will likely require a professional inspection and cleaning.
In most cases, deck posts are placed on concrete footings, which are designed to be very stable. However, the footings can crack or break due to soil conditions, temperature fluctuations, and water infiltration. In this case, the deck posts will need to be replaced with new ones that meet building codes and weather requirements.
Loose or broken railings or stairs
The railings of a deck are more than a design element; they offer safety and support to those walking around. If the railings become unsteady or break, it’s a sign of serious damage that requires a professional inspection. For example, a broken railing can fall over when someone leans against it, hurting or killing them. A railing that flexes when stepped on is another safety issue because it could cause someone to slip and fall. A professional will evaluate the safety of a deck and provide recommendations for repairs.
Stairs are particularly vulnerable to water damage, wood rot, insect infestation, and general wear and tear. Stairs are also the most dangerous part of a deck when it comes to falling injuries. Homeowners should regularly inspect their stairs to ensure they’re stable and secure. A shaky staircase is one of the most common signs that a homeowner needs to repair their deck.
If the stairs or railings are loose, homeowners may be able to tighten the screws and nails that hold them in place. This can be done by starting at the ends of each stair or railing and working your way to the middle. Stairs and railings that are missing any screws or nails will become increasingly unstable over time, increasing the risk of them becoming unsafe to use.
For severe problems, such as termite damage or rusty nails, screws, or bolts, a professional will need to take a closer look at the structure of the deck. This might include removing or replacing parts of the deck to get to the source of the problem. It may also involve rerouting drains to prevent erosion and protect the footings that hold the posts that support the deck.
Wood is one of the most common materials for decks, but it can rot over time. Moisture in the soil or standing water can expose the wood to bacteria and fungus, which destroy its structure. Rotted boards can be soft and spongy to the touch and may have a musty smell. It’s important to take any signs of rotting seriously and get them repaired quickly.
A professional will also inspect the joists, posts, railing, and sills for any cracks or splits that need to be fixed. This isn’t something that should be taken lightly, as it can signal a serious problem with the deck’s structural integrity.
If the joists or posts are damaged, the deck might start to sag or even collapse. This can be dangerous for anyone walking on it, so it’s essential to have any problems corrected as soon as they are noticed.
Deck posts can also rot over time, especially if they are buried in concrete footings. It isn’t always possible to remove the post entirely without tearing up the surrounding concrete, so the best option is to use epoxy to laminate a new piece of wood onto the existing part. Marine epoxy is ideal because it’s designed to hold up in extreme aquatic environments, which is what a deck post will be exposed to.
It’s also a good idea to reseal any new pieces of wood on your deck with deck oil to prevent moisture from entering the structure and causing further damage. Deck oil is easy to apply and can be reapplied over the years as needed. It’s also a great way to protect the color of your deck from weather exposure, natural aging, and debris like stray leaves.