Decks lead a hard life and show it all too well. After a number of years of exposure to the sun, rain and snow a deck may exhibit steps that are cracked and rotting away, railings that have warped or become unsafe, deck boards with dozens of popped nail heads or cracks and joists and support posts showing signs of rot. A deck repair program is quite possibly the cure. A deck that’s seen better days may not only detract from the appearance of a home but may also have become unsafe to use.
Deck repair #1: Giving the deck a good pressure washing should be the initial step. First scrub a deck cleaner recommended for the deck’s kind of wood into the deck surface. Then rinse it off with the power washer. This will not only remove layers of built-up dirt but also expose fresh wood fibers which will make the surface look new.
Deck repair #2: Resetting popped nails with a nail set is only the first step of this particular deck repair. Drive each nail below the surface of the wood with a nail set. Pre-drill a pilot hole; then drive a deck screw alongside the nail so that the screw head overlaps part of the nail to hold it down.
Deck repair #3: Because stairs probably get the heaviest use of any part of the deck, they are most likely candidates for deck repair work. Unscrew or unbolt the old set of steps. Use one of the old stair stringers as a template to layout new stair stringers with a circular saw and a jigsaw. Attach the new stairs using the same method as for the old ones. Install new 2×6 stair treads. Fasten the new treads with 3 inch deck screws.
Deck repair #4: It is possible to save much time and work by leaving each old joist in place and installing a new one alongside it. When installing a new joist beside an old one, allow 3 to 4 inches of space between them. Cut the new joist to size and use galvanized nails to attach new metal joist hangers. Lift the joist into position and nail or screw it into place. Attach the decking to the new joist with deck screws.
Deck repair #5: Before replacing a rotted deck post, first provide additional support for the deck with a temporary post made from 2×4’s wedged tightly into place. Cut a new 4×4 or 6×6 post to length, put it into position and drill holes for the new galvanized carriage bolts. Drive the bolts home, install washers and nuts and remove the temporary support.
Deck repair #6: If any deck boards are beyond repair, replace them. If the underside of a deck board is in good condition, flip it over and fasten it down with deck screws or nails. Remove deck boards without damaging them from underneath. Use a small sledge and a scrap block of wood. Flipping over the old deck boards will reduce material costs. On reused deck boards, drive new screws through the old nail or screw holes.
Deck repair #7: Constructing a new deck railing may be the biggest part of a deck repair. Not only does the railing need to look good, but it also has to comply with local building codes regarding safety. Remove the old railing system with a pry bar, hammer or saw. Assemble the new railing system securely.
Deck repair #8: Every deck no matter how well it is built cannot escape weathering. So it is a wise decision to coat the entire deck with a protective coating finish such as a sealer which can protect the wood from water damage, mildew formation, ultraviolet rays of the sun as well as insects and fungi growth.
The most important factor in terms of a deck repair program is to act sooner than later before it is too late!
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of “How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish”. To Discover More About
Deck Repair and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
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