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7 Signs It’s Time to Repair or Replace your Deck

Damaged Deck Boards with Raised Nail

Spring is here, and that means that it’s time to enjoy the warm weather and long days—with home improvements, lawn care, and landscaping of course. But the spring weather can also reveal the steady deterioration that decks face during the long winter, leaving behind damage that should be monitored and corrected each year.

So, next time you head out back be watchful for the following seven signs that your deck needs to be repaired or, depending on the degree of wear and tear, replaced.

Wobbling, Flexing, or Insecure Components

Unlike interior framing, where all joints and hardware are secluded from the elements in a dry environment, decks are exposed to moisture on a daily basis and face intense temperature changes, which can contribute to joint damage and failure far more quickly. As connections wear, stairs may begin to wobble underfoot or railings may become loose, unstable, and dangerous. You might even develop problems with the ledger boards connecting the deck to the house, which will quickly destabilize the entire structure.

Rot and Deterioration

Different materials evidence wear and age differently. Wood silvers and artificial materials fade or bleach out over time. But the most worrying sign of deterioration is wood rot caused by moisture exposure and fungal growth, which can dramatically weaken the wood’s strength. Watch for clumps of organic material, black discoloration, crumbling, and any evidence of insect activity.

Cracked, Splintered, or Cupped Deck Boards

Between sun and rain exposure it’s perfectly normal for deck boards to develop some cracks or warping. But if that cracking goes too far it can cause a real problem. The wood may separate from nails or screws and anyone running around in bare feet is liable to pick up splinters or stub a toe.

Shifting Footings

The concrete footings installed as your deck’s foundation can be prone to either heaving or dropping over time. The former is a result of water expansion due to the freeze/thaw cycle (which Michigan experiences in abundance) while the latter is often the result of improper installation and soil settling.

Loose or Exposed Nails / Screws

It’s easy to overlook or ignore a few protruding nails or screw heads in a deck. But that exposed metal is a big hazard, and can lead to nasty cuts or torn clothes when you least expect it. Unfortunately, once nails or screws begin working lose you’ll need to more than just pound them back in and it’s often a sign that the whole deck needs work.

Spongy, Moist Spots

A good coat of deck stain will resist moisture, causing rainwater to bead up on the surface of the deck instead of soaking in to the wood. But as the wood ages and the stain breaks down, the wood will absorb the water instead, which causes further damage and can lead to spongy spots—rot—underneath the surface. This can doom an entire deck, and should be fixed with new boards as soon as possible.

You’ve Stopped Using It

Your deck should be one of your favorite spots at home. A calm, comfortable retreat where you can read a book, cook on the grill, and watch the kids playing outside or the birds overhead. If you’ve stopped using it because your deck is discolored, unstable, too small, or in overall rough and unattractive shape, it’s definitely time to restore or rebuild the structure and give you back the deck you deserve.

Your Local West Michigan Deck Contractor

Each deck repair project is different and may involve anything from simply replacing a few broken boards to extensive deck restoration, refinishing, expansion, or a complete removal and replacement of the existing design. Amber Valley Construction will work closely with you to decide on the right solution for your situation, with high quality workmanship and affordable pricing guaranteed!

To get started, call us today at 616-965-1759.

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