Home decks can be great for defining outdoor space, entertaining guests, and barbecuing. Unfortunately, decks age over time and can be damaged by weather and general wear and tear. It's important for homeowners to inspect their decks once a year for safety. Here are some signs to look out for which might indicate a need for repair or replacement.
With the hot, humid summers of the DC area providing the ideal conditions for wood rot, homeowners must always keep an eye out for this scourge that can compromise the safety of a deck. Visible signs of wood rot include mold, mildew, discoloration, and soft areas. Affected boards and beams need to be replaced immediately to prevent spreading.
A home deck is made of wood, nails, screws, and metal connectors. The metal connectors provide structural reinforcement for the deck and keep it secure and supported while in use. Connectors can come loose over time with general wear and tear, and that can compromise the overall strength of the deck. Wobbly rails and loose steps can be signs of loose connectors.
Erosion Around the Post
Most home decks are supported by posts set in concrete or anchored in the earth. Over the years, water movement around the base can erode the soil around the posts. Severe erosion can destabilize the deck, leading to wobbling or even a snapped post.
Gaps Between the Deck and House
Ledger boards attach directly to the side of the house to support the deck. Ledger boards pulling away from the house can be due to damage to the boards or connectors coming loose. Whatever the cause, a gap between the deck and the house presents a serious safety risk. A deck that seems stable one moment can quickly collapse the next when the ledger boards come loose.
Cracks in the Wood
Wood naturally develops cracks as it ages, but while some amount of wear and tear is to be expected, too many cracks or cracks that are too big can weaken a deck's structural integrity. Boards with minor cracks or warping should be replaced before damage escalates to the point of becoming a serious safety hazard.
Railings that lean or wobble constitute a safety concern. Check the point where the railing attaches to the deck. It could be that the railing needs to be replaced, or the problem could be that the deck itself has gone warped or soft.
If any of these problems are compromising the safety and integrity of your home deck, call a deck repair professional for a second opinion. Armor Fence has nearly 20 years of experience building, repairing, and replacing home decks and can do a thorough evaluation to identify problem areas and propose solutions to keep your deck in pristine condition.