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Even the sturdiest and most well-built deck requires routine maintenance to prevent expensive repairs. Fortunately, many deck repair tasks are within the skill level of most homeowners.
Begin with a thorough cleaning to remove mildew and dirt, then inspect your deck for problems. Look for splinters, cracks, discoloration, and rot. Also, examine joist hangers, posts, and rail connectors. If you are not sure what to do, call Deck Repair Charleston SC.
Stain Or Paint
It’s essential that any deck gets a fresh coat of stain or paint every 12-24 months. A good stain protects the wood from damage caused by UV rays, water, and constant foot traffic. Stain is also less prone to cracking, and it’s easier to touch up than paint. Stain, which ranges from transparent to semi-solid in opacity, lets the natural wood grain pattern and superficial cracks show through, making it a great choice for those who prefer a rustic look. But since it’s thinner than paint, it’s not as able to hide flaws, especially in certain types of wood.
Before applying a new stain or paint, your expert should first thoroughly clean the surface. This will remove dirt and grime, as well as any mildew or mold that might be present. The deck must be free of these problems, as they can interfere with adhesion and cause color uniformity issues.
A professional should also check the deck for signs of insect infestations, such as termite or carpenter ant damage. These signs include wood flakes or holes in the deck, as well as wood dust in the surrounding yard. Insect infestations can lead to structural damage, so it’s best to call in an expert as soon as you notice them.
Once the deck is cleaned and ready for either staining or painting, it’s a good idea to wait for a cloudy day to apply the coating. Direct sunlight interferes with adhesion and affects color consistency. Additionally, it’s best to use a latex stain or oil-based paint for better moisture protection. This will help the deck last longer, as it’s less prone to peeling or chipping than some other finishes.
Wood decks require sealing to prevent mildew and mold, insects, and extend their lifespan. It’s important to seal your deck every year, or two, especially if you live in an area with harsh winters and hot summers.
Before you apply your sealant, make sure all repairs and cleaning are complete so the deck can be dry before the new coating. Then, sand the entire surface to remove any patches of old sealant and debris. Once again, a good quality power sander or pole sander can help with this step. If you don’t feel comfortable sanding the wood, it’s a good idea to hire a professional service.
Once the sanding is done, it’s time to start applying your chosen sealant. You can use a roller, brush, or paint sprayer to ensure light and even coverage. It is recommended that you work on one section at a time, and leave it to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before walking on it or moving outdoor furniture back in place.
Before you apply your final coat, test the water repellency of the deck by pouring some onto a board. If the water absorbs quickly, your deck is ready to be sealed. Keep in mind that while sealants do offer protection from moisture, they do not protect against harmful UV rays. This means that you will still need to re-stain the deck once a year to protect it from fading and cracking. While this may seem like a hassle, it is an important step in prolonging the life of your deck. We recommend that you choose a high-quality, water-based stain for this purpose, as it is safer for the environment than oil-based products.
Fix Damaged Boards
Over time, a deck’s boards can wear out, becoming warped or cracked. This often occurs from direct exposure to the elements, but can also be caused by rot or other structural problems. A careful inspection can identify problem areas and determine if the boards need to be replaced or if they are still in good condition.
A damaged board can be a safety hazard for anyone who uses the deck, particularly those who are barefoot. It’s best to replace any worn or damaged boards, especially those that are near or above stairs. This can prevent tripping and falling accidents.
If you discover a damaged or loose board, first remove the screws or nails that hold it in place with a drill driver or screwdriver. Then, use a jigsaw with a coarse wood-cutting blade to cut the damaged board section out of place. Be sure to wear eye protection when using a power tool. Afterward, inspect the area for rot and verify that the joists it was attached to are still secure. If they are rotting, add cleats or sister joists to strengthen the area.
Another common deck repair issue is loose nails. Loose deck nails are uncomfortable for bare feet and can pose a tripping hazard. They’re also a potential fire hazard. If you find any loose nails, simply drive them back down with a hammer.
Finally, if you notice any metal connectors on your deck that are rusty, they should be replaced. These are usually found in the footings of your deck, connecting the joists to the concrete foundation. While it’s rare for these galvanized components to rust completely, they can develop rust in the exposed areas that contact with the ground.
Repair Wobbly Railings
A loose deck railing is not only unsightly but also a hazard for children and pets. This easy-to-fix problem is typically caused by loose screws, nails, or connectors that corrode or loosen over time. A regular inspection and a few simple maintenance steps can help you keep your deck safe for family fun.
The easiest way to identify the source of the issue is to test the strength of a post or railing by pushing against it. If it’s shaky or loose, use a screwdriver to check the fasteners for signs of damage or rot. If you find loose nails or screws, hammer them back in place. Then examine the surrounding area to make sure the board is still securely attached to its framing member. If not, replace the board.
Wooden railings can be loosened by moisture and temperature changes that cause lumber to expand and contract. The easiest fix is to inspect the hardware affixing the posts to the deck and tighten any loose screws, nails, or bolts. If necessary, reinforce the weak areas by adding extra fasteners.
Metal deck railings can be loosened by corrosion or rust, as well as by weather conditions that erode the metal’s protective coating. The first step to a secure metal deck is to re-coat the surface with a high-quality primer. This protects the surface from rain and direct sunlight which can accelerate rusting.
Then apply a layer of protective clear coat to the top surface of the deck and the exposed edges of the metal. Finally, touch up rust spots with paint. A regular cleaning regimen, staining, and occasional repairs will keep your deck looking great and prevent serious safety concerns.
As your deck ages, the hardware that holds the lumber together can loosen or break. As a result, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for popped nails or rusting screws. These can not only be unsightly, but they can also compromise the safety of people using the deck. A quick fix is to hammer loose nails back into place or use a screwdriver to tighten the fasteners. If the nails or screws are rusty, replace them with new ones.
Decks are the perfect place to entertain guests or just relax, but when a deck isn’t properly maintained, it can quickly become unsafe. This is why it’s important to make repairs when needed, so you can enjoy your deck without worry.
The first step in any deck repair is cleaning the surface to remove dirt and grime. A power washer is a versatile tool that can help you get the job done. You’ll also need a set of screwdrivers to handle a variety of tasks, from loosening old screws to removing and replacing damaged deck boards. A hammer can be used for many different tasks, from nailing down loose boards to repairing broken railings. Finally, a circular saw is useful for cutting new or replacement boards to size.
Homeowners may also want to consider adding customizations to their deck while repairing it, such as a pergola, kitchen, or fireplace. However, it’s important to understand that these upgrades will increase the cost of your project and may require professional assistance. The level of damage will also play a role in whether you decide to repair or replace your deck. If you have significant rot or termite damage, for example, it may be more worthwhile to simply replace the deck altogether.