The deck of the average home seldom gets more than passing attention. Part of this is due to the deck's location—usually out of sight, on the back of most homes. In most households, the deck is simply an outdoor space used for enjoying a quiet morning coffee, reading on a sunny afternoon, or grilling a casual meal on a summer evening. But even decks that receive this type of infrequent usage are still exposed to the ravages of time and the elements on a daily basis.
Busy families who rarely have time to enjoy using their deck may not notice the small indications of deterioration that can add up to a major problem over time. If you would like to begin using your deck more often and want to ensure that it is safe and sound, here are some tips for recognizing signs of age, deterioration, and instability that will warrant deck repair or replacement.
Start with the surface condition
The surface of your home's deck is where the ravages of time and nature are most likely to be first noticed. If the deck surface is made of wood decking boards, visible signs of extensive cracking, warping, peeling, or wood rot are indications that the decking boards may need to be resurfaced or replaced.
Homeowners who notice this type of damage when it is still minor may only need to have a few boards replaced and then have the entire deck resealed with a protective coating to resist further damage. If, however, most of the decking boards show this type of wear, total replacement with new decking boards or more extensive repairs may be required.
Examine stairs and railings
Next, take a good look at the railings around the deck and the stairs that provide exterior access to it. Deterioration of these materials, including weakened, damaged, or missing treads or sections of railing, are safety issues and should always be prioritized on your home maintenance and repair list.
Look at the structural support
You will also need to examine the structure of the deck, including its attachment to the home and the posts that support it on the ground. Look for holes that may signal insect damage, such as those made by destructive carpenter bees or termites.
You will also want to look for any signs that the deck is pulling away from its secure attachment to the home, signs of erosion around or deterioration of the support posts that hold the weight of the deck, or signs of water damage.
A smart plan for determining whether your existing deck has developed any safety issues is to have it inspected annually by a deck building and repair contractor in your area. For more information, contact a deck repair service today.