7 Signs It’s Time for a New Deck!

Your deck is a critical part of your home as a whole, an extension of your living space that creates continuity between the outdoors and inside. Here we discuss how to check the health of your deck and decide on when it’s time for a replacement!

#1. Construction & Waterproofing

First and foremost, consider the material of your current deck – it’s important to factor that into your assessment when checking out deck condition. If your deck is made of real wood, it’ll show signs of wear and tear differently than a deck made of composite material. If you’ve got a real wood deck, check for warping and insect damage. Both of those issues are often present in a deck that’s reaching the end of its useful life. If you have a composite or vinyl deck, fading may be present. Knowing what type of decking material you have and what damage to look for may help you identify if a quick repair is needed, replacement of individual boards, or if a total overhaul is best.

Newer decks are often built on concrete footings with brackets that are designed to keep the base of the posts dry. If your deck is older and made of wood, posts can soak up water and rot over time.

#2. Check the Railing

Shake your railings! Are they unsteady? Check for signs of rot, water damage, or insect damage. As people tend to lean on railings, wobbly railings can be dangerous. If your railing is the only place you notice decay, wiggling, or damage, it can likely be replaced without a whole deck repair. Monitor your railings frequently and test them for give – they are critical to safety.

#3. Check the Ledger Board

The ledger board is the part of the deck that is attached to your home – if you notice any part of the deck has become unsecured or is pulling away from your house, this will need to be addressed. Heavy snowfall can contribute to this issue.

#4. Assess the Quality of Deck Posts

Water accumulation at the base of deck posts is a common issue, so you’ll want to assess that carefully. If water damage or rot is visible, your posts will need to be replaced. If the problem can be found in one or two posts, replacement may be an option but if water damage and rot is an issue for all or if rot can be found in other areas, it’s time to consider a deck replacement. Regularly check for damage – deck posts are critical to structural support so this can pose a safety issue if not addressed. If you’re able to push into the wood with a sharp tool or a screwdriver, that’s a strong indicator you’ll need to fix your deck.

#5. Check Out the Joists

Same as the posts, joists are also critical to holding your deck up, and equally vital to stability. If your joists show signs of decay and rot, that’s an indicator it’s time to replace. It can be difficult to do joist replacements without tearing up a good portion of your deck. If you notice a lot of damage to the joists (water damage, insects, wear and tear over time), it’s a good idea to invest in new decking. Not sure about the quality of your deck? Call in a professional.

#6. Wobbly Boards

If you walk across your deck and it’s rickety, there’s movement and it wobbles, it’s definitely time to look into a new deck.

#7. How Old is Your Deck?

The age of your deck is an important factor when deciding whether or not to replace. If it’s 5 or 6+ years old, a professional inspection is recommended, even if there isn’t anything obviously wrong with your deck. Factor in the kind of exposure to your deck receives every year as well, how does it stand up to the elements? If you’re in a location where it’s subjected to extreme temperature changes as the seasons change (this includes frequent wet bouts), a deck inspection is critical.

When the costs of all your repairs starts to get close to the cost of replacing your deck, a replacement is definitely worthwhile. If your posts are buried in your ground rather than resting on footers, replacement should definitely be considered.

Not sure where to start? Builders’ General carries the best decking products available and our collections provide a variety of colors and styles to choose from. Get in touch with a Builders’ General professional we’ll talk you through your options and help you find the perfect deck for your taste and budget.