Most people look at their decks as a reliable house feature. While well-constructed decks have more resilience than some areas of the home, no one should consider them indestructible. Time, extensive use, and the elements can wear out a deck built of even the best materials.
Once a deck’s condition deteriorates, you have to consider two options, whether to replace the deck itself, or to just refinish and refurbish it. Replacement involves tearing out most or all of the existing structure and erecting a new one. Refinishing may involve exterior painting services or a more in-depth process.
When Your Deck Needs Replacement
Every year, you should inspect your entire deck. After all, you, your family, friends, along with children and pets, enjoy your deck. You want your deck to be a safe and fun environment.
A deck that requires repair will reveal one or more troubling symptoms from the top down. Wood exposed to sunlight over many years will discolor the surface. More importantly, it breaks down fibers that guard the interior against the elements. Once this happens, water, air, and frost penetrate and break down the wood itself, allowing rot to occur.
Once rot occurs, the wood that it has broken down will require replacement.
Rot can also occur in pillars holding the deck up. Most modern deck construction creates footers of concrete to rest the pillars on. Some decks, however, bury the pillars in the ground. Moisture in the ground will rot these posts and require replacement.
Also check beams, joists, and fascia boards. These areas can trap water, exposing the wood to it for long durations and encouraging rot.
A simple test will show if your wood has rot or not. Press a screwdriver into it. Solid wood will resist it. Rotted wood will cut almost as easily as butter.
How to Tell When Your Deck Just Needs Refinishing and Refurbishing
A worn and tattered looking deck does not necessarily always require replacement. This especially serves as the case when the damage affects appearance more than structural integrity.
When wood starts to discolor, or paint begins to peel, you need to look into deck refinishing services. Interior and exterior decks require different processes, so be careful when choosing. Refinishing when discoloration or other symptoms appear can save extra cost and effort later on.
When deck surfaces age, they also start to produce more splinters. For those accustomed to treading barefoot on their decks, especially children, splinters can ruin a good experience. Work with a professional deck refinishing contractor to make sure that your deck remains safe to walk on.
Even if rot has set in on your deck, you need not replace the entire surface. Replace boards as necessary. Then contact a professional deck refinishing service to render a uniform and protective coating that will ensure a longer-lasting surface.
Refinish If You Can, Replace Only When Necessary
Replacing a deck can cost between $15 and $35 per square foot, depending on the quality and durability level. A comparatively small deck can cost a great deal of money.
Generally, the rule of thumb lies in gauging cost and effort. If it is easier or less expensive to refinish and refurbish a deck to restore appearance and safety of use, then you should do so. If the structural integrity is too compromised or if too much of the deck surface has rotted, then replacement might be the best option.
Remember that refinishing when damage first starts can prevent the need to replace in the future.