Quick Deck Maintenance

You can avoid big and expensive repairs to your deck by finding and repairing problems early. We'll show you 5 major weak areas to inspect. With good construction techniques and regular maintenance your deck will withstand many more weekends of fun.

You can avoid big and expensive repairs to your deck, by finding and repairing problems early. With good construction techniques and regular maintenance, your deck will withstand many more years of fun.

To start your yearly deck inspection, start below your deck. You will be looking for soft spots that indicate rot. If one area of your deck is in worse shape than the other, find the source of the problem before attempting the repair. While you are down there, remove any leaves and debris that may have piled up. They hold moisture and contribute to serious water damage.

A major weak spot is the connection between the house and the deck. Pay extra attention to the flashing looking for water damage along the ledger. This is also a good spot to look for fungus and little piles of sawdust, which could indicate termites or carpenter ants.

Next check the posts. Especially at the ground line, probe various parts of the post comparing each side for levels of decay. Continue to assess the internal condition, since posts often decay from the inside out. Evaluate the post connection to the foundation and resecure if needed.

The easiest part of the inspection is checking the decking. Look at the area where boards meet, anywhere where wood touches wood is prone to rotting. Look at the ends of the boards and the butt joints. Check for moisture and mildew, tighten nails or screws in the decking. Look for signs of warping or twisting which would eventually need to be replaced.

Railings take extra strain and are usually the first to come loose. Look at the ends of all the rails for warping and replace broken balusters and post covers. Maintaining your railing will keep your deck looking nice and provide safety.

At this point look at the entire deck. Grab your level and see if any shifting has occurred, especially at the post. The footings may have settled unevenly, which could cause your deck to slant. Keep an eye on this. A common problem area lies with your stringers and your treads. Your stringers have an end grain showing where they have been cut, this can accumulate water. For your treads make sure you check the top and bottom of your tread. If there is splitting or cupping, you will need to replace them

The sun, rain and even wind really can weather your deck quickly. The paint peels, the wood grays and we've all seen what water can do.

Diagnosing rotting wood and structural problems early on can help keep your deck looking great and save you time and money. In about an hour you can add years of life to your deck.

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