Deck Repair Summerville SC is important to prevent accidents that can happen on your deck. These accidents include injuries and lawsuits if someone falls off the deck because it collapsed or was damaged by insects. Inspect the deck regularly for popped nails and loose railings and boards. These are safety issues and should be addressed right away. Also, inspect for rotted wood and soft or spongy wood that needs to be replaced.
While cracking isn’t attractive, it’s normal in wood decks. Over time, moisture from rain and snow penetrates the board’s surface, causing it to expand. When the weather turns warmer and dries out the board, it shrinks. This seasonal growth and contraction causes the long cracks you see in some deck boards, which can ruin their appearance and create a splinter hazard.
Inspecting your deck’s cracks will help you determine whether they are something that needs to be addressed or if the structural integrity of the board has been compromised. If the cracks are no more than six inches long, fill them with latex wood filler and seal the board. However, if they are longer, you’ll need to remove the board and check its underside. If it is rotten, you’ll need to replace it completely.
Another common deck problem is warping or cupping. This happens when water seeps unevenly into the board. It can also occur due to a board’s fasteners being loose or defective. You can often fix warping by removing and flipping the board so that its unaffected flat side faces upward. Alternatively, you can pry the board back into place and replace the fasteners.
Deck footings are concrete pads that support the foundation of a deck. You can check their condition by digging a hole and pouring in fresh concrete or by inspecting the base of a post. If the footing is rotted, your deck might be structurally unstable.
While some people may consider it a waste of time to apply a stain or a water-resistant sealant to a wood deck, this can actually help extend the life of your deck. Stains and water-resistant sealants can prevent wood from drying out, which is a primary cause of cracking and graying. They can also protect against splinters, insects, and fungi.
In addition to stains and sealants, you can use a degreaser to clean your deck. After cleaning, sand the entire surface of your deck. Make sure you wear a dust mask, and use a sanding pole fitted with 50-grit sandpaper to sand the wood. When you’re done sanding, vacuum the deck to remove dust and debris.
Rot is a common cause of splintered and cracked wood in decks. Both dry and wet rot are caused by microorganisms eating the cellulose fibers that give wood its stiffness and strength. This weakens the wood and allows it to crumble easily. Dry rot can often be identified by long sheets of grayish mold covering the surface of the wood. In addition, the wood will feel soft and spongy, and it may be discolored. The presence of fungus on the wood is also an indicator that there is rot. If your deck has a lot of dry rot, it’s a good idea to call a professional for help because the rot can eat through the joists and beams and cause them to loosen and fall apart.
Wet rot is often harder to identify than dry rot. When wet rot happens, it is usually more subtle than a sheet of greyish mold. If you suspect that your deck has wet rot, you should look for spongy wood and spots where the paint is bubbling up. Additionally, you should check the surrounding areas of the rotten wood for signs of water pooling. Check for plumbing leaks, gutter failure, sprinkler system issues, and any other potential sources of water pooling on your deck. If you find a section of your deck that has wet rot, it’s important to take action to fix the problem quickly because wet rot can spread rapidly and devastate your deck.
Whether your deck has wet or dry rot, you should remove the affected boards and replace them with rot-resistant wood. When you are removing a board, make sure to wear work gloves and use a claw hammer or pry bar to carefully break free the nails that hold the board from the deck frame. You should also re-nail the deck boards with longer and more secure nails or screws.
Once you have replaced the rotted boards, you can sand the edges of the new board to smooth it. Then, you can stain or seal the new board to match the rest of your deck. If the rotten boards were affecting beams or joists, you’ll need to bring in a carpenter with experience repairing wood rot to reinforce and strengthen those structures.
While a deck provides an ideal spot for relaxing, entertaining, or simply spending time with family and friends, it also serves as the perfect home to a number of different wood-seeking insects that can damage your wood. Termites, carpenter ants, and even woodpeckers can cause significant damage to your deck boards, railings, and underlying structures. Often, you’ll be able to spot this damage by looking for a series of small holes in the board, sawdust on the ground, or the presence of insects on or around the deck.
Termites are one of the most destructive insect species and can chew through wood and even eat it, which can ultimately compromise your deck’s structural integrity. Termite damage often looks similar to wood rot and will need an expert to identify the problem. You can help prevent termite damage by regularly inspecting your deck and having it inspected by an exterminator once or twice a year. Regular deck cleaning and regular use of a preventative wood treatment will also help to keep termites and other destructive insects away from your outdoor living space.
If you notice that your deck is a haven for wood-eating insects, it’s best to consider replacing it with a composite or plastic deck. In addition, a pest-proofing barrier can be added underneath your existing deck to protect it from infestation from below and the elements above. If you’re building a new deck, choose an exotic hardwood such as Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa, or Jatoba, which are resistant to insect damage.
Keeping insects away from your deck is much easier than repairing them once they’ve done their damage. Many species of insects prefer damp or decaying wood, so removing moisture possibilities will prevent them from infesting your deck. This can be achieved by sanding and treating all wooden surfaces, covering or removing furniture during inclement weather, and regularly checking for moisture problems. You can also plant herbs or flowers that will help deter insect infestation, such as marigold, garlic, rosemary, and chive. Finally, installing low-wattage lights that emit a yellow light can help to keep insects at bay.
Moisture is the enemy of any deck, especially one that isn’t waterproofed. Left untreated, moisture can soak into the wood, causing swelling and softening that weakens and stains the structure. Moisture also creates a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew that not only is unsightly but destroys the wood. Mold and mildew can also contaminate the inside of your home, which is why it’s important to regularly inspect your deck for signs of mold and mildew.
Moisture can also rot the joists and posts that support your deck. As the rot gets worse, the structural integrity of your deck will degrade to the point that it may become unsafe. If you notice any rotting posts or joists, make sure to contact your local handyman for repair services as soon as possible.
Decks are often built over a house’s foundation and attached to the structure with ledger boards. Unfortunately, many do-it-yourself homeowners don’t install these boards properly, which allows water to seep behind the board and into the house. This type of damage can be costly to repair, so it’s crucial to ensure your deck is securely attached to your home. To do this, install a piece of Z-flashing approved for pressure-treated lumber over the top of the wall several inches higher than where you’ll fasten the ledger board, then cover it with house wrap tape. Then, install the ledger board over the flashing.
Another major issue that can cause your deck to sag is corroded joist hangers. These galvanized steel components are used to connect the structural joists of your deck to your home’s beams, and they need to be in good condition in order for your deck to hold up over time. To check for rusty or loose joist hangers, walk the perimeter of your deck and feel underneath it for a spongy sensation below your feet. If you notice that the deck feels soft, this is a sign of rot and could be dangerous for your family or guests.
Aside from the structural damage that rot and insect infestation can cause, your deck can also be damaged by falling limbs. Regularly check the perimeter of your deck for tangled or overhanging tree limbs that need to be removed, and be prepared to have to replace some of your deck boards if necessary.