It is a good idea for you to inspect, clean and fix your deck before you fire up the grill and pull your outdoor furniture out of storage. Your deck needs special attention because it is constantly exposed to such elements as bright sunshine and heavy rain. These elements can cause railings to give way, floorboards to peel and crack and cause other safety hazards. To avoid this and more severe damage, your deck needs to be regularly inspected.
How To Inspect Your Deck To See If It Needs Repair
You must inspect and repair your deck, especially if it is made of wood. Composite decks are more durable than wooden decks, as they are made from a blend of wood and plastic. You do not have to stain or paint them, and they are not easily damaged by insects and pests.
Nevertheless, all decks require regular cleaning and maintenance regardless of the material they are made of. Ensuring that the structure is secure is of the utmost importance.
Here is how to inspect your deck to see if it needs to be repaired…
#1 Walk The Space
Some signs that your deck needs repair are quite obvious. You can know this simply when you walk the space and look it over. You will know that repair work should be carried out if a railing or board is loose, creaks, moves or sags.
The deck should not feel spongy but secure when you walk on it. Check underneath as well. You may find sagging beams or more damage that cannot be seen from above. Rusting hardware and stains are early signs that you need to repair your deck.
#2 Check The Support System
Your deck’s support system must be strong. You should inspect the ledger and support posts to be certain that your deck is properly supported. Check for loose bolts on the support posts where they are fastened to the deck beams. Replace and tighten loose bolts as needed. Also, check the ledger board to see if it is pulling away from where it is attached to your home. There should be screws and nails in every hole of the bracket of the joist hanger. Replace or tighten missing screws and nails as necessary.
#3 Inspect For Wood Rot
Moisture can get into the wood if there are splits on the deck’s surface. Over time, this can lead to wood rot. Closely inspect cracks that are over a quarter inch deep. Probe the split using a flathead screwdriver. See if you feel any soft underlying softwood piece.
A sign that the wood is rotted is when pieces of it break off without splintering. You should consider replacing it in this case. Furthermore, look for holes during your inspection. You could find signs of insects burrowing into your deck. The damage that carpenter bees, termites and some types of beetles that feed off wood can make on your deck can be severe.
#4 Check Railings And Balusters
Loose railings can be very dangerous, especially when they give way when someone leans on them. Ensure that the railings and balusters are properly secured by testing them with a firm wiggle. You can test your railings by giving them a little push to confirm that they are rigid enough. You can run your hands along the balusters as well. The balusters are the railing’s lateral pieces. Refasten any loose pieces. You may need to replace pieces that are badly damaged from rot or splits.
#5 Inspect Posts And Fasteners
You must set the wooden post of your deck so that the bottom does not come into contact with the soil. Use concrete, as the wood can rot if it touches the soil. Also, confirm that there is no water from downspouts or sprinkles hitting the post as you look at it.
Furthermore, it is dangerous to use decks with inappropriate or low-quality fasteners or screws. Cheap screws can corrode, discolor and shorten the lifespan of the deck. By using stainless-steel or coated screws which are specially designed for pressure-treated wood, your deck can resist corrosion and its lifespan will be longer.
A sign that you need to repair your deck is when you find protruding or loose screws and nails in and around the posts.
#6 Consider The Deck Material
There are different types of deck materials. The type of deck you use depends on your preference. Cedars are used for making wooden decks, together with the use of pressure-treated lumber beneath. There is also hardwood which is a popular deck material choice. However, hardwood is more expensive than other types of wood. Your deck will be as good as how much you invest into it. There is also synthetic decking which lasts longer than real wood. The upfront cost for synthetic decking is usually higher, but it serves you better over time. This is because it’s more durable and repair work is not needed as much as for wooden decks.
#7 Hire A Professional
When it comes to deck inspection, maintenance and repair, it is best to hire professionals. This is because your deck is a part of your home’s structure and should not be ignored. Ensuring that your deck is in good condition minimizes the risk of trips and falls and enhances the safety of your property.
When it comes to inspections, deck experts have the expertise to adequately assess the condition of your deck. They are more likely to notice issues with your deck that are not obvious to you. With their knowledge, they can recommend that you repair or replace your deck depending on the severity of the issue(s) they find.
Deck inspection is usually a seamless and painless practice. You can do it yourself, but asking a professional for help is better. With regular deck inspections, you can be assured that your outdoor space is safe for you and your friends and family to enjoy. In case you come across any issue with your deck, fix it immediately to prevent further damage. Want your deck checked? Call Born Carpentry at 612-747-8003.