A home’s deck is one of its most important features. Not only does it contribute significantly to property value, it creates the ideal space for homeowners to enjoy the totality of their property and connect with the outdoors.

It is puzzling then that a deck’s condition is often neglected until it is practically falling down, especially when you recognize that it takes more abuse than nearly any other part of a house. The North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA) has estimated that, out of 50 million decks in the United States, 25 million are past their prime (their average lifespan ranges from 10 to 15 years). With hundreds of deck accidents reported every year, NADRA urges homeowners to examine their decks for damages on an annual term. When considering the cost of rebuilding the entire structure, it makes more sense to properly maintain it before it reaches a point of deterioration.

Perhaps you have noticed yourself spending less time on your deck. Maybe it’s beginning to show its age. You would be wise to show concern over the safety of using a deck with questionable solidity. Luckily, Front Range Outdoor Living has compiled a list of clear and observable signs to look out for so that you know when you need deck repair.

Signs

Today, composite deck materials are growing in popularity due to their ease of maintenance and durability. They can be made from recycled plastic, resin, polyester, or glass fiber — but will cost more than traditional lumber. Typically, these materials only suffer from minor scratches, splits, or chips (particularly on the surface of the deck, where normal wear and tear occurs from daily use and activities).

If your deck is constructed out of wood, you will need to be conscious of various pests that feed on the natural material. That said, rot will be your number one offender. Wood is highly absorbent and, when exposed to water, will be susceptible to rot. Ironically, a wooden deck can also be damaged from being too dry. UV light from the sun dries out wood’s fibers, creating splinters on the surface, which makes it easier for water to penetrate.

Surface & Railing

Your deck’s surface is the most exposed part of your deck, and it’s also where damage will be most evident. Uneven boards signify warping and buckling, which can occur from changes in temperature and moisture. Rotting stairs and planks will turn dark in color and begin to sag. Annual sealing will help to protect the wood from environmental conditions and prolong its life, plus it gives the opportunity to properly explore the deck for damage.

Railings are also prone to weakening because of exposure to natural elements. This can be extremely dangerous since they are meant to prevent falls and are often used to lean against when enjoying a beverage and conversation or taking in the view. Posts are prone to loosening and handrails can fracture, so be sure to inspect each part regularly to guarantee safety and stability.

To check for rot, use a screwdriver to probe where the base of each post meets the deck’s foundation as well as along the planks of your deck’s surface. Rotting wood will be soft and soggy to touch or, once dry, will crumble like sawdust. If you find rot present in the wood, it is important to take care of the problem quickly. Weakened posts and planks pose a serious threat to a deck’s support, and even minimal weight can result in serious damage and injury.

Schedule a free evaluation from Front Range Outdoor Living. We will check for every problem possible, develop a cohesive plan to remedy the issue, and use our expertise to give the best deck repair available in Colorado.

Supporting Structure

A deck’s primary frame is referred to as a “ledger.” The majority of decks collapse due to some problem in the way the ledger was put together, so if anything looks worn or out of place, it is of particular interest that you call a professional builder who can handle the complexity of this type of deck repair.

The joists and beams are pieces connected to the ledger, running horizontally beneath the deck’s surface, which form a grid that distributes weight evenly and secures a sturdy structure. They are held together by various pieces of hardware that, over time, can rust and corrode, so make a point to give the occasional in-depth investigation.

When it comes to horizontal framework, the most important place to look for rot and wear is where the various components connect. Each piece plays an equal role in elevating and reinforcing your deck’s surface, so a failure in one area can dramatically impact the integrity of another.

Fascia

“Fascia” is just a fancy word for describing a deck’s outer façade. While non-structural, this wooden band serves to conceal the outer edges of deck boards and provide a tidier look to your deck’s overall appearance.

This addition does come with one particular drawback: water is easily trapped behind the fascia, and the increase in moisture will, over time, weaken the wood that will likely lead to rotting. If your deck includes a fascia, keep a careful eye out for any discoloration along the perimeter of its construction. While it may merely be a sign of increased moisture, fascia runs along the length of the entire beam, so alleviating this will help prevent potential rotting and replacement.

Are You Looking for a Fort Collins Deck Builder?

Colorado has a dynamic climate. From dry summers with extreme sun exposure to snowy winters and seasonal showers scattered in between, the natural elements your deck endures runs the gamut. Checking annually for indications that you need a deck repair will help stave off the costly expenditure of replacing it entirely. Bearing in mind your deck will be where you spend the majority of your time outdoors, monitoring for rot or damage should be easy and is a surefire way to protect its condition.

Whether you are in the process of putting your property on the market, are contemplating an upgrade in deck materials to incorporate a different style or ease of maintenance, or simply wish to keep your deck functional for years to come, Front Range Outdoor Living can help you achieve your goals.

We have been honing our knowledge and craft in construction for over 30 years, so you know we can do that job right. If you live anywhere in Colorado running along the Front Range Mountains, we want to help you better enjoy your outdoor living spaces, reach out today to receive a free estimate on your deck repair.