Water has started to rot the frame of this deck
There really is no bad time to think about a new deck. If the snow is flying – you can start getting a new deck designed and order for spring installation. If it’s the Fall, you can check to see if your old deck is showing signs of wear and start looking at options. Visit a Marling location and talk to a sales associate about all your decking material and design options. If your deck is looking a little worn around the edges and you can’t decide if its time or it can last another rainy spring and hot summer – here’s a couple of things to check for.
New decks are built using concrete footings several inches above the ground with special brackets or sleeves to keep the post dry. If your deck is older, there’s a good chance the base of the post is just sitting on the footings or even the ground. This will cause the posts to soak up water and lead to rotting. If the posts are not made of pressure treated wood, there is a greater chance they are getting damaged by water. Posts lose strength as they rot and eventually even every day weight will cause them to buckle or crack.
A shaky railing doesn’t mean your deck is going to collapse, but it is a safety issue especially for seniors or young children. If your railings are attached to the deck with nails, they will come loose. You can replace the nails, but that’s not going to solve your problem long term. New decks generally have the railings attached with carriage bolts with nuts and washers. This securely anchors the railing to the deck without damaging the wood.
A little wood lesson – ledger boards are mounted to the vertical frame of the deck and used to attach the deck to the house or house and garage if you have it wrap that far around.
They need to be securely fastened to a structure as a sort of brace and ballast for the deck. Deterioration of the ledger boards can cause the deck to start to ease away from the house and eventually break free from the house.
Ledger flashing is what keeps the water from getting between where it is attached to the house and your deck. Its very important that the space between the ledger boards and the structure the deck is attached to is as close to water tight as possible. Even a small water leak can lead to standing water between the deck and your house which will then lead to mold.
It can also lead to rot in the rim joists (which are the lateral support frame of the deck) and rot will cause the ledger boards to fall off and then your deck will also fall off.
Do you have deck boards that wobble or “give” when you walk on them? That’s a sign the boards and your decks has seen better days. Over time the boards on the frame can pull apart from each other and twist which then weakens the entire structure.
If your deck sustains some severe damage, like a tree falls on it and takes a chunk out – that’s a sign you should think about a new deck rather than a remodel. Damage will invite water seepage and wood rot. Rotting wood is also more susceptible to insect infestation. Insects, like termites, feasting away on your deck will leave a lot of empty spaces that will get filled by – water. Are you getting the general drift here? Water, rot, compromised deck – deck collapse, none of that is a good idea and fixing and re-fixing damaged parts will likely cost more than a new deck in the long run.
Some jurisdictions have height-above-grade regulations pertaining to decks as well as deck railing rules. If your deck isn’t up to code – you should consider replacing it.
There are lots of different materials to think about when you are getting a new deck. Sometimes price will drive your decision and sometimes aesthetics will. Marling locations have materials for you to look at, including your color options and they can help you with a deck design.
There are some great new deck accessories – matching furniture, storage bins that also double as seating, lighting, railings and even new staircase options. If your idea now of spending quality time with your deck involves washing and staining and not entertaining – its time to get a new deck.