How to Spot Problems That Require Professional Deck Repair

The first thing to do is check for any areas of the deck that appear wet or rotting. These are signs that need to be addressed by a professional as they could involve major structural issues like soft wood or insect infestation.

Safety should be a priority, as a rotting or crumbling deck can cause serious injury. Loose boards or nails sticking up can cause someone to trip and fall, and a loose handrail can give way when people lean on it. Contact Deck Repair Stafford VA now!

Handrails are one of the most important safety features on a deck. They keep people from falling off walkways, stairways and balconies. If yours are becoming loose or unstable, it’s time to get on top of this issue before it gets worse.

Loose handrails can cause serious injuries if someone falls over them, so it’s essential to fix them as soon as you notice the problem. If you’re a homeowner, standard handyman skills with a screw driver and drill should be enough to tighten the fasteners that hold them in place. You’ll also want to make sure the brackets are properly anchored to the wall. If you use a stud finder to locate the position of a stud in the wall, you should be able to screw the handrail bracket into it, which should provide additional stability.

Similarly, if the brackets are screwed into drywall and not a masonry anchor, you can use longer screws or molly bolts with expansion wings to ensure a more secure fit. A few hours of work should be enough to tighten most loose handrails. Stair spindles, or balusters, are another important part of a handrail that can become loose or crack over time. In some cases, you may be able to tighten a loose spindle by driving thin wood gluecoated wedges into the seam where it meets the underside of the handrail in an inconspicuous location. The wedges will add some extra shear strength to the joint and help prevent it from loosening again.

Newel posts and other structural components of your deck railing can also become loose if they’re not well protected from rain and humidity. This can lead to rot or even break away from the deck itself. Regular inspections of these areas can help you catch problems before they become too severe and require a full replacement of your railing. If you are not comfortable performing these repairs on your own, hiring a local professional may be the best option for you. This way, you can have your issues repaired quickly and safely, while ensuring that the repairs are done properly to avoid future problems.

Cracked or Splintered Boards

A deck that has cracked or splintered boards is not only unsightly but also poses safety hazards. Regular inspections of your deck can help you spot problems before they become major issues that compromise the structural integrity of your deck.

Cracks in deck boards are often caused by expansion and contraction of wood fibers as the weather changes. While some minor cracks are normal, it is important to repair or replace any that are deep enough to cause splinters. Cracks that are not repaired can lead to serious problems, including rot and collapse of your deck.

When a board has cracked, you will need to sand the area and apply a waterproof sealant to protect against water damage. Before sealing, it is a good idea to power wash your deck, as this will help remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck in the cracks.

It is also essential to check for signs of rotting in your deck’s boards. Look for any areas that feel spongy or soft when touched. If you notice a musty odor, this is an indication of mold or mildew growth that can compromise the integrity of your deck.

Loose boards may be due to a lack of proper fasteners or short deck screws that are too small for the job. If you are noticing any loose boards, it is recommended to use long deck screws that are 2.5 times longer than the material being fastened. This will provide more strength and prevent the boards from becoming loose again in the future.

If you have a sagging deck, it is likely because of poor construction or old age. Depending on the severity of the issue, it is possible that it can be fixed by re-screwing or adding new deck screws to the existing holes.

If you notice that a deck board is warped, it is most likely because of water damage. If you have a large amount of water damage, it may be time to consider replacing the entire board. A professional can assess your deck and recommend the best options for repairs.

Rotting Wood

Wood is a common building material because it’s both strong and versatile, offering a range of aesthetics. It’s not indestructible, however, and if your deck is showing signs of rot it needs to be dealt with right away.

If left unchecked, rot can cause the entire structure to collapse. It also exposes the rest of the deck to water damage, making it a breeding ground for fungal growth and insects that can further weaken the wood. Fortunately, if you catch it early, fixing rotting wood is relatively simple.

It’s important to distinguish between wet and dry rot, as the two have very different effects on the deck. Wet rot usually affects soft or damp wood that’s exposed to the elements, while dry rot can spread to more structural parts of the deck. Both can be spotted by looking for long sheets of grayish mold or dark spots on the wood that are mushy to touch. It’s also a good idea to inspect the surrounding area to see if there are any other areas of moisture that may need fixing, like plumbing leaks, sprinkler system issues or areas where standing water is likely to accumulate.

If you do notice signs of rot, it’s best to call in a professional right away. They will be able to tell you whether it’s wet or dry rot and can help you fix the issue before it spreads further. They will also be able to recommend treatment options that will help keep the deck safe and water-resistant for years to come.

Wood preservatives are one of the most effective ways to combat rot, as they permeate the inside of the grain and provide an extra barrier against moisture. They are also available as a spray-on option that makes it easy to apply and can be reapplied annually. You can also use a combination of stain and preservative to protect the wood from moisture, but be sure that the stain you choose is specially formulated for outdoor use. It should be rated for weather resistance and be free of oils and waxes, which can block the wood’s ability to absorb moisture.

Uneven or Sinking Sections

If you notice uneven or sinking sections of your deck, this is a sign that the joists or other support structure have shifted or even collapsed. This is a serious safety issue and can’t be corrected with repair alone; it usually requires replacement of the affected section.

Decks that are built on grade sit on concrete piers that extend down into the ground. If you’re not sure how to tell if the piers are in good condition, shine a flashlight underneath your deck and check for signs of shifts or sinking. You’ll also want to verify that the ledger board (the piece of wood that attaches your deck to your home) is secured tightly with lag bolts spaced in 16-inch increments along its length and that metal joist hangers are used for additional support.

Moisture is one of the most destructive forces to a wooden deck. Proper staining and sealing protects the wood, but over time moisture can cause fungus to develop that eats away at the inside of the board, leading to structural problems. If your deck is showing signs of rot, a professional should inspect it and determine if the problem can be corrected with repairs or if it will require replacing the entire board.

The pressure of water, sunlight and temperature changes can all cause a wood deck to warp, crack, or split. This damage is often caused by weather or age, but sometimes it’s due to faulty installation or misaligned fasteners. This type of damage can be costly and dangerous, especially if the boards are loose.

Stairs are a common area for deck damage, and they’re particularly susceptible to wood rot, insect infestations, and general wear and tear. If you notice that your deck stairs are wobbly, uneven or otherwise unsafe, it’s important to fix them as soon as possible to prevent injuries.

Mold or mildew growth is easily remedied with a thorough cleaning and fresh coat of stain. This is a relatively quick and inexpensive project that most homeowners can handle themselves, but be careful when power washing — overzealous use of a power washer can actually drive the spores deeper into the wood where they can grow back more quickly.