You love your deck and you want to keep it looking great for years to come. You also want to be sure that the deck is safe for you and your loved ones when you are out enjoying it. However, even the best decks might run into a few problems on occasion. It’s important to understand what these problems are and what you need to do to fix them before they worsen. Below are some of the most common deck problems.
Bad or Loose Ledgers
Ledgers are used on decks that are attached directly to the home. The end of the floor joists connects to the ledger using a metal hanger. If the ledger is bad because it is rotted or because the connections are not correct, it could cause serious problems with the deck, including collapse.
The ledger should have metal flashing that will help to ensure water doesn’t get behind the ledger and cause any rot. If there is no flashing, it will need to be installed. You also need to make sure that the lag screws or carriage bolts are keeping the ledger bolted tight for the entire length of the board. These bolts or screws need to go into the house framing, not sheathing on the house, or it will not hold properly.
Water Damage and Rot
While damage from water and rot to the ledger board is a common problem, it’s not the only water damage that can occur. Because the deck is made from wood, it will eventually rot unless it is properly maintained. If you notice that parts of the deck are becoming weak and rotting, they will need to be replaced as soon as possible. Additionally, you need to be sure that the boards are properly sealed to help prevent water damage from occurring.
If it is just one or two boards that have the problem, they can be removed and replaced. Keep in mind that they will need to be sealed and stained, and you will want to match the look of the rest of your deck. In some cases, it might be better to stain the entire deck again.
The Integrity of the Beams
Most decks have horizontal beams that are on top of posts or piers. These beams will support the floor joists. If the beams become damaged from water or another issue, it could spell disaster for the deck. They are what holds up the boards and everything on your deck. They are as important as the ledger. Make it a point to look beneath the deck occasionally to see if there are any issues with them and if any need to be replaced.
The railings around your deck, if you have them, are there for more than just décor and a location to place your drink, tools, or other items. The railing is there to ensure no one falls off the deck. In some locations, decks that are more than 30 inches off the ground will require railings. Naturally, these need to be kept in good condition.
However, they can suffer the same types of problems at the rest of the deck. Namely, they could start to rot, they could have insect damage, or they could be cracked if someone pushed too hard against them. You will want to check the railing around your deck at least once a season, or whenever you notice that the railing seems loose.
If you have stairs on your deck, you will want to check for issues like structural damage and rot, as well. The bottom step tends to be the one that has the most issues because it is closest to the ground. It may be subject to water damage, mold, and insects more than the other steps. Keep in mind that when you are checking your stairs, you are doing more than just looking at the steps. You should also check the handrails to ensure they are in good shape. If they aren’t and someone holds onto them when going down the steps, they could have an accident.
Gaps in the Deck Between Boards
Over time, you might start to notice that there are gaps between the boards on your deck. This can occur because part of a board has splintered or rotted away. In other cases, the wood might have shrunk, causing these gaps. In some cases, the gaps can become wide enough that they could become a trip and fall hazard. Additionally, they tend to be unsightly.
Generally, the best option for filling in these gaps is getting a new board. You might need to replace several. Keep in mind that you will need to seal and stain them after the new boards have been replaced. If you need some professional help, count on us!
Even when you use quality sealers and stains, the deck will start to fade over time. The sun’s UV rays can take a toll. In those cases, your best option will be to stain the deck again to get a nice, new appearance.
Get in the Habit of Inspecting Your Deck
These are some of the most common types of problems that can occur with decks. Other types of issues might rear their heads. To make sure that you don’t let these types of issues get out of hand, you should make sure you inspect your deck regularly. Check for these types of issues at least once a season. It should become part of your regular maintenance routine. Whenever you give your deck a good cleaning, check for these problems.
Take Care of Deck Problems Sooner Rather than Later
If you happen to notice any sorts of problems, do not let them linger. Make it a point to take care of the problem. If it’s something simple, you can do it on your own. If the problem is out of your wheelhouse, it’s better to work with a professional company that can get your deck back in shape. When you take care of problems early, it can help you save on the costs of deck repairs later.
BEST PRO BUILDERS work with deck construction and maintenance and we offer a full range of professional services. From full design/build services to installing that backyard patio and outdoor kitchen you’ve been dreaming of, you can trust our team to deliver. No matter if you need construction, remodeling or some other home services, count on us to make your life easier.