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You probably don’t use your deck much during the cold, winter months. But when the weather warms up, your deck will become the place for grilling, entertaining, lounging, and more.

Before you make any big plans, make sure your deck is in good shape. Wooden decks typically last anywhere from 15 to 40 years, depending on the weather conditions and upkeep. That’s why it’s important to conduct an annual assessment of your deck to determine if it needed to be replaced or repaired.

Here are six things to look for during your deck inspection.

1. Noticeable Damage

Wooden decks will experience some wear and tear over the years. Some things can be easily repaired. However, significant damage – such as lots of large holes, split boards, and termite damage – will likely require a new deck.

2. Lifted or Bowing Boards

Take note of boards that aren’t secure, have lifted, or are bowed pose safety risks. Visitors may trip over the board, which makes you, the homeowner, liable for any injuries. The problem may be a simple fix, but unsecured joists or ledger boards detachment can cause deck boards to loosen. The wood itself can also become weak due to water or pest damage.

3. Loose Railings

A loose railing doesn’t necessarily mean you need a new deck, but railings can pose significant safety hazards. Try to determine the root cause of the loose railing to rule out any more significant issues with your deck.

4. Rotting Wood

Wood rot weakens the structure of your deck, causing deterioration over the years. That’s because a little rot in one area will quickly spread to other sections of your deck. If you identify a significant amount of rot, it’s probably time for a deck replacement. If you notice a small amount of rot, remove the affected wood and replace it before it has a chance to spread further.

5. Deteriorating Ledger Board

The ledger board connects the deck to your house. Therefore, if the ledger board is bad, your entire deck is unsafe. Look for loose fittings or rot on the ledger board. If you notice either of these things, call a qualified home improvement contractor immediately.

6.Unstable Posts

Posts hold up your deck and support a good deal of weight. If the posts are compromised, so is your deck! Look for large cracks or signs of rot in the posts.

Should You Replace Your Deck?

After inspecting your deck, consider how many things need to be addressed. It may be that a deck replacement is the best choice.

If so, consider:

  • Maintenance: How much work do you want to put into extending the life of your deck?
  • Materials: Do you want to use wood or a low-maintenance composite material on your new deck?
  • Budget: How much do you want to spend on a deck? This may determine the type of materials you will use.

When you’re ready, contact Diamond Hill Builders for help rebuilding your deck. We are the Seacoast’s most trusted builder and would love the opportunity to help!

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