Your Guide to Deck Repair
Whether it is small fixes or big redos, every deck ends up needing some tender loving care. Here are helpful suggestions for what you might be able to tackle yourself and what you might need help with when it comes to deck repair.
Many deck repair projects are definite DIY jobs, even for the novice repair person. But some require the input of experts to determine what needs to be done to maintain a safe, beautiful space. Here are tips to common deck repair scenarios and strategies to tackle them:
Your Deck Needs Refinishing
From time to time and due to normal wear and tear, nearly every deck needs to be refinished in order to better protect the wood and revitalize the stain color. Refinishing is also a good time to address any minor deck repairs, such as loose boards and missing nails. To refinish your deck, start by applying a deck cleaner to every surface, including support boards and railings. If old stain is particularly stubborn in certain areas, you may need to use a stain stripper to remove it. Then pressure wash the deck to remove the cleaner. Once the surfaces have dried, make any repairs such as driving in protruding nails, replacing damaged boards, or sanding rough surfaces. Then apply the stain or sealer of your choice.
Deck Boards are Cracked or Damaged
Even if a board or two are cracked or damaged, the rest of your deck may be in good shape. In that case, you can replace boards here and there as a less intrusive and less costly form of deck repair. To tackle this yourself, you'll need to remove the board by unscrewing the fasteners. Cut a replacement board to size and re-attach, using the same type of fasteners. Then, seal and stain to match the rest of the deck.
A Deck is Wobbly
Decks become wobbly for a variety of reasons, and deck collapses are a very real danger to you or your guests. Your deck could have foundation issues, loose connections to the house, loose connections between boards, or have insufficient diagonal bracing. Posts may have also been installed incorrectly, which can lead to rotting. Regardless, if your deck seems to have structural issues, consult an expert -- an architect, deck builder, structural engineer, or contractor -- for an analysis and recommendation as to deck repair steps.
Deck Railings Need Repair
Loose railings are a danger, but the fix can sometimes be quick and easy. You'll need to pre-drill holes and re-secure the railings with carriage bolts. Generally, the bolt should be used with a nut and washer.
Nails Protrude from the Deck Surface
Nails that pop up on a deck surface can easily be repaired simply by using a hammer to pound them back in again. You may also consider replacing the nails with deck screws.