Like any other system in your house, your deck requires maintenance. Since it’s exposed to the elements for 365 days per year, decks are prone to some pretty severe weather-related wear and tear. Even with routine maintenance, at some point, your deck will require some more extensive repairs, leaving you with an important decision: Should you invest in major repairs, or should you completely rebuild?
A Detailed Inspection: The First Step
The first and most crucial step in deciding whether to repair or rebuild a deck is conducting a detailed inspection of its existing condition. If you know what to look for, this is something that you can do on your own; otherwise, an experienced contractor can guide you through the inspection process. Here are the three main areas to focus on during your inspection.
Decking and Railing
The decking and railing of your deck are exposed to the greatest amount of water and UV rays. Over time, and without sufficient sealing and maintenance, boards and balusters can swell, warp, or even split.
Beams and Joists
For the most part, beams and joists are shielded from the elements, making them susceptible to different issues than decking and railing surfaces. One of the most common problems with joists and support beams is moisture retention. Rainwater that runs down through the upper decking can become trapped on top of the horizontal support structure and can be absorbed, causing the beams and joists to soften, compromising their structural integrity.
When inspecting deck posts, pay close attention to the base of each post. As this is the only part of the deck that comes in contact with the ground, post bases are a common entry point for moisture, fungus, and wood-boring insects.
Making the Decision to Repair or Replace
After conducting a thorough inspection and determining the extent of the damage, you now have to make the vital decision on whether you are going to repair specific parts of your deck or rebuild completely. But how do you know which is the best option for you?
Ultimately it all boils down to cost. At first, repairing the damaged components may seem to be the best option. However, depending on the state of the deck, you may have to go back and repair the remaining pieces later. In this case, rebuilding the entire deck may be the most cost-effective solution as it addresses every issue at one time.
When to Repair
- You want to change your deck’s aesthetic appearance
- Only one or two components are damaged
- You have a limited budget
When to Replace
- Damage is extensive and affects the majority of deck components
- Additional deck repairs are imminent in the near future
- The deck is more than 20 years old
Choosing whether to repair or rebuild a deck is not always an easy decision. Fortunately, our team of master deck builders here at Liberty Fence is here to answer any questions you may have about deck construction and maintenance. Give us a call today!