How Can You Tell if Your Deck Needs Repair or Replacement?

By Coowin |
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If your deck has become damaged or worn, you may be wondering whether it’s time to repair or replace your deck. The right method you can choose for your deck usually depends on several things. For example, the severity of the damage to the deck, the age of the deck, the cost involved, and whether the deck is significantly less safe and structurally sound.

First, we will talk about what damage and wear and tear to look for and how to determine the severity of the damage. Then, we will discuss the need for repair or replacement.

In addition, this article will cover the durability and resilience of composite decking materials and PVC trim boards. More options for those who want to replace their old wood deck. Read on to learn more about the deck repair vs. replacement debate.

Damage and Signs of Wear on the Deck

One of the first things you’ll want to do when deciding whether to repair or replace your deck is to figure out the extent of damage and wear on the deck. These are some of the common signs that a deck may need to be repaired or replaced.

Structural Problems

If you notice that your deck is sagging, tilting, or wobbling, this means that it is breaking down. These structural issues need to be fixed immediately because they can pose a danger. These problems can be fixed by adding support beams, tightening screws or bolts, or adding new screws or bolts. As the damage worsens, you will have to replace the deck as you will not be able to repair it to a safe level.


Loose or Detached Railings, Stairs or Boards

The next thing to check for are signs that planks or nearby parts like stairs or railings are starting to come apart. You will need to repair any loose boards. If only one or two boards are loose, fixing them will be enough. However, if there are multiple loose boards, it is best to replace the entire deck.

You should also check the integrity of the deck boards. Are they still in a repairable condition? If your deck is made of wood, the wood may be too worn out for new screws and braces to hold any weak boards in place. This means that the entire deck’s planks will need to be replaced. Compared to wood decking, composite decking, and PVC decking can last a long time even in harsh environments.

If the stairs or railings are broken and the deck itself is in good condition, you may only need to repair those parts. You may be able to fix loose railings by replacing screws and supports or tightening them all the way down.

The same is true if your stairs are also made of deck boards. If the stair treads are too worn to be repaired, you will need to replace some or all of them.

Outdoor Dining Area

Rot, Decay or Insect Problems

If your deck is showing signs of rot, decay, or insect infestation, it may be time for a new deck. If these problems have spread, the only option is to replace rather than repair. If your deck is made of wood, these problems are likely to occur, especially if the problem is severe enough to tear the deck apart.

If the deck has these problems, they should be addressed as soon as possible. If you have a house right next to a deck, rot, decay, and even insect infestation can eat away at your home over time.

Unlike traditional wood decks, composite decking and PVC decks do not rot, decay, or attract insects. This means that decks last longer and require less maintenance. Therefore, if you need to replace your deck, don’t forget to consider composite decking and PVC decking.

Splitting, Breaking or Buckling

Another problem that is most likely to occur with wood decks is a lot of splitting, cracking, or warping. If you only see a few of these problems, you may be able to fix them by replacing a few broken boards or making minor repairs.

However, if the deck is splintering, cracking, or warping in large numbers, it will need to be completely replaced. Composite decking and PVC decking are much better at resisting these common problems. This is because they are manufactured in such a way that they can withstand the effects of the environment and are much less likely to splinter, crack, or warp.


Deck Surface Wear or Color Change

Deck fading or discoloration is another sign that your deck is in need of repair or replacement. If your deck is made of wood, this problem is more likely to occur. You may be able to fix the problem by repainting or sealing the deck.

Every one to two years, you should repaint or stain your wood deck. Even if your deck is brand new, if you see it losing color, you may just need to stain or paint it instead of getting a new one.

It’s important to note that well-maintained wood decks only last about 10-15 years. If your wood deck has been around for a long time (close to 10 years) and has been painted or stained regularly. Then it’s time for a new deck, as the new color won’t be very strong.

Composite decking boards and PVC decks have high quality UV protectors that make the fading process much slower. This means the color will stay the same for years. These fade and discolor much more slowly than wood decks.

However, the color of the deck will fade over time. If the color of the deck fades a lot over time, it may need to be replaced rather than refinished. If the deck is nearing the end of its useful life, the deck should be replaced. composite decking and PVC decking have a useful life of approximately 25 years.


Loose or Missing Bolts

It doesn’t matter how good the condition of the deck boards is if screws, nails, or other fasteners are missing or loose. If these parts are lost or broken, they can pose a hazard to people and even damage the structural integrity of the deck. If any parts are missing or broken, they should be repaired immediately or tightened if possible.

With improvements in fastener technology, especially composite decking and PVC deck fasteners, the chances of loose or missing fasteners have been greatly reduced. The modern form of these fasteners ensures that they are firmly and permanently secured. This results in an overall safer and more stable deck.

Assessing the Severity of Deck Damage

If you find that the deck has any of these problems, you may not need to replace it. Before deciding whether to repair or replace, you need to know the severity of the deck damage. To do this, read and follow the steps below.


Determine if the Damage Is Localized or Comprehensive

As we have already talked about, if any damage or wear and tear issue affects only a few boards, then repairing or replacing the damaged boards may be enough. However, if the damage is not localized but is more generalized and affects the entire deck, then it needs to be replaced.

This is another place where composite decking and PVC decking shine. Because of the way they are designed and manufactured, they are more consistent and generally have fewer problems. This means that should a problem occur, they are more likely to be limited and easier to fix. This saves time and money over the lifetime of the deck.

Look at the Age and Overall Condition of the Deck

Wood decking, composite decking, and PVC decking will all need to be replaced as they age. But the time is not always the same. As mentioned earlier, wood decking should last between 10 and 15 years. Composite decking and PVC decking, on the other hand, should last at least 25 years.

If your deck is nearing the end of its useful life and has a lot of damage, you’ll need a new deck. The repairs may just be delaying the inevitable, and you’ll have to continue to make repairs until the replacement is finalized. This will cost more than buying a new deck when the damage is severe.

In terms of deck costs, composite decking, and PVC decking are more cost-effective in the long run. This is because they last longer and require fewer repairs. If your composite decking and PVC decking is less than 25 years old, it will most likely remain under warranty.

Therefore, check the warranty before laying a new deck. If there are any problems now, your insurance will probably fix everything for free, even if it means replacing a lot of deck boards. Wood decks come with different types of warranties, so check with the seller to see if the damage or wear and tear you see is covered.


Evaluate the Impact of the Damage on the Deck’s Structural Stability

Without a doubt, the most important thing to consider is the safety and stability of your deck. Regardless of how old the deck is, if the damage is causing the deck to be unsafe the repair itself will not solve the problem. Then a new deck will be needed.

Composite decking and PVC decking, even when damaged, retain their safety and structural stability better over time. This makes them a more reliable and safer option. If you’re not sure if the damage makes your deck dangerous, call a professional for an inspection. A professional can also provide you with ways to repair your deck and make it safe again.

To summarize

An outdoor deck that is in good condition will allow you and your family to better enjoy the outdoors. Therefore, it is essential to keep your deck safe and beautiful. The first thing to do when you have damage or other problems with your deck is to inspect the extent of the damage to the deck. Then, depending on the scope and extent of the damage, you can decide whether to repair or replace the deck with a new one.

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