Because that beautiful deck won’t last forever, you need to know how to tell you need a new deck. Carefree Decks and Patio Covers in Parker, Colorado offers these signs to watch out for. Inspect your deck at regular intervals, at least at the end of each season, looking for these signs of damage.
How to Tell You Need a New Deck
With certain problems, you can simply complete a little maintenance or make a quick fix to extend the life of your deck. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Here are signs that it’s time for a new deck.
- Posts are rotten
- Improper post connections
- Railings are shaky
- Loose ledger boards
- Leak in ledger board flashing
- Wobbly deck boards
- Does not meet current regulations
Now, let’s take a closer look at each possibility and what you should be looking for with your deck.
Posts are Rotten
Back in the day, they built decks by placing the posts right on the footings. The problem with this is that the wood becomes more prone to sucking up water, especially if it is not pressure-treated. Wet wood means, of course, that it will rot faster. To avoid this problem, most new decks are built with an added bracket that keeps the wood up off the ground. This drastically lowers the possibility of water getting in there and causing rot.
If your posts were built in this old-fashioned way, they might already be rotting. Check them out to see. If you find that the posts are rotting, you definitely need a new deck and sooner rather than later.
Improper Post Connections
Even if the bottoms of your posts are looking good, don’t forget to check the top. Examine where the post connects to the deck. They should always be sitting under the rim joist or beam of the deck. Some builders put them on the side, but that is not a very strong construction. It’s even worse if a builder only used nails to attach everything. If your deck was built in this way, consider replacing it, or you will be at risk of having your deck collapse.
Railings are Shaky
Admittedly, shaky railings aren’t as bad as rotten posts, but this is still a hazard. Imagine if someone was leaning against your railing, and it decides to give way? This is even more dangerous if there are young children around or your deck is high off the ground.
A lot of old railings are attached with nails only. The problem with using nails is that they will eventually slip. A deck contractor can replace nails with bolts or screws to ensure the railing holds. However, if the wood around the nails is splintering or falling apart, you may need a new deck.
Loose Ledger Boards
Ledger boards are another critical piece of your deck. These are the boards that support the deck on the side where it is attached to your house. These are weight bearing, so it’s essential for them to be in good shape. If you notice that your ledger boards are not secured properly or showing signs of deterioration, it’s time to replace them. Until you do, you run the risk of the deck falling away from your house.
Leak in Ledger Board Flashing
Sometimes the ledger boards can be okay, but you’re still at risk that the deck could pull away from the house. This happens because the rim joist of the house itself is rotting and will eventually fail.
Typically builders install a metal flashing around ledger boards to prevent this from happening. The flashing helps keep water from getting down inside, thus preventing rot. Sometimes this flashing may not have been installed correctly, or a small leak developed over time.
Even a tiny leak can lead to mold and eventually rot. It’s a good idea to inspect the flashing every once in a while to ensure that it is sealed tightly to the side of the house. No water should be able to get down in there and start causing problems.
Wobbly Deck Boards
Loose or rickety deck boards are usually indicative of more severe deck issues. In many cases, boards become wobbly as they rot and the screws or nails loosen. Do the boards feel spongy as you walk across them? This is another indication that the interior of the board is rotten.
To make matters worse, termites love to feed on rotting wood. If your wood is getting soft, they’ll start tunneling their way into it and accelerating the process of degeneration. If you notice their wings lying around on the ground near your deck, that’s a good indication they’re inside.
Also watch for visible rot on the ends of your deck boards. If you see this much rot, your structure has likely seen the last of its useful days and you may need a new deck.
No Longer Meets Regulations
As regulations change and become stricter, your old deck may not meet the new regulations. Those regulations change for a reason, so your deck is due for an update! Safety is very important, so every effort to ensure that your deck is safe. You deserve a comfortable place to enjoy backyard barbecues without having to worry about your family’s safety.
So now that you’ve learned a bit about how to tell you need a new deck, what do you think? Has the time come? Shopping for a new deck can be an exciting endeavor. It can also be a little overwhelming with all the options that are available these days. There are many things to consider. What kind of material do you want to use? What color would look best? What style would fit best with your home? Will your new deck add resale value to your home?
Give us a call here at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers, and one of our team will be happy to walk you through the options and help you decide. Once you pick out your new deck, our staff will work quickly and efficiently to get it built. With over 20 years in the business, we can build the perfect deck for you and your family’s needs.