It should come as no surprise that a wood deck needs attention to maintain its appearance and durability. After spending its days exposed to the elements, it eventually becomes discolored, warped, and eroded. Its railings and boards can come loose and create hazards.
When it’s time to repair your deck, consider these tips from the experts at The Guarantee Home Repair and Handyman Service:
1. Perform an Annual Inspection
The first step to deck maintenance is inspecting it for flaws. Check for loose or rusted fasteners, missing nails or screws, joint issues, water damage or rotting, loose or broken boards, and mold. Knowing what condition your deck is in is the best way to determine whether you can handle the repairs yourself or if you need to bring in a professional.
2. Replace Rotting Deck Posts
Deck posts are prone to rot as they soak up water from the ground. Newer decks install posts with a base bracket or higher concrete footings to prevent this, but they should still be inspected on a yearly basis. To check for rotting, poke the bottom of the posts with a screwdriver. If it’s spongy or the wood easily peels, the post will need to be replaced.
3. Search for Loose Boards
If any deck boards are loose, you will need to secure them. Test the boards using your body weight, stepping heavily on either end of them. When you find those that need repairing, use a screw or nail to secure the board to the frame.
4. Remove Mold
If you notice your deck is discolored, it may be mold or mildew. Test the area with a small amount of bleach. If the bleach removes the spot, then your deck has a bit of a mold problem.
You can remove the discoloration with a soft brush or cloth and a gentle cleanser. Don’t use any more bleach, as it can strip the wood of its natural color.
5. Replace Broken Boards
Not all loose boards can be repaired and are likely better off being replaced. Use a hammer and pry bar to remove any loose, cracked, or rotting boards. Then cut new planks to replace them and secure them to the frame with screws.
6. Regularly Clean Your Deck
Eliminate mold and bacteria by cleaning your deck periodically. Use a gentle cleaning solution that won’t strip the wood of any sealants (unless you plan to apply a new stain or sealer). If that’s the case, you will want to scrub the deck surface so that it absorbs it better.
7. Stain the Deck
If your deck is only in need of some sprucing up, consider applying a new coat of stain. Do so by first sanding the deck. Then you can stain it and apply a sealer to ensure it lasts.
8. Avoid High-Powered Pressure Washers
While it may seem like the easiest solution, high-powered pressure washers can damage the wood if not used at the right angle. It can leave holes or dents that can’t be repaired. A hose with a high-pressure nozzle will clean your deck without causing damage.
9. Fix Unstable Railings
Constant use leads to unstable deck railings. You can easily fix them by tightening any bolts or screws and adding blocking directly behind the post.
10. Fill Small Cracks
If you have some small cracks in the wood that don’t compromise the deck’s stability, you can repair them with latex wood filler. This only applies to shallow cracks that are smaller than six inches. Using a filler will help prevent rot and splinters, and it will also help to improve your deck’s appearance.
11. Remove Protruding Nails
Protruding nails not only mean part of the deck is unstable, but they can also cause injury. While you can easily hammer these nails back in, that’s only a temporary fix. It’s better to remove the nail and install a new one with a wider head.
12. Keep It Clean
Keep your deck surface clean throughout the year to preserve its quality and appearance. When removing snow or ice, use a broom instead of a shovel to prevent damaging the wood. In the spring, you should also keep the surface clear of pollen and clean it off with a hose.
How To Know It’s Time To Call a Professional
If you notice your deck is swaying, has extensive water damage, or its posts are rotting, you’ll want to hire a professional. Our team at Guarantee Home Repair and Handyman Service can help you get your deck back in shape and extend its life.
Contact us now at [PHONE NUMBER] to learn more about our services and how we can repair your deck.