Common Deck Problems and How to Prevent them

wood deckExposed to the elements year in and year out, outdoor decks are bound to trouble you at some point with some problems. It’s only natural.

But do you know what happens? Even if we are talking about a small problem, it will soon create another and then another problem until the structure won’t longer be sound and safe. What’s the remedy? That’s simple.

If you consider that your wood deck takes a lot of beating throughout the year, the best thing you can do is inspect it once every spring to make sure the structure is solid and any problem is fixed before your family steps outside.

Should we take a look at the most common deck problems and see how you can avoid them?

Deck rotting

Wooden decks are susceptible to rotting, since the material is absorbent and cannot resist moisture. For such reasons, wood decks are often sealed to remain intact through time but the sealants last for so long. Or they can be scratched and damaged. When wood is exposed to the elements, it will eventually rot. The rotten section is softer than other wood sections under pressure and darker in color.

How to avoid deck rotting? You need to have the deck inspected from time to time – in other words, maintained. The deck should be treated, cleaned, sanded and resealed to remain intact, resistant, and free of rot. If you want to avoid such procedures, prefer to get composite decking from the start.

Deck color fading

outdoor deckThe beautiful look of wooden decks doesn’t stay the same forever. Even cedar and ipe decks lose their reddish looks overtime, getting a greyish/silverish shade which is tremendously elegant as well. But if you don’t want to lose the luster of the deck – as you first fell in love with it, you need to take care of it every spring. You need to keep the deck clean, free of debris and natural wear that take their toll. Once every few years, you can also stain it.

Gaps between deck boards

As a material, wood warps. At some point, the wooden boards will be warped, creating some small gaps between them. While some tiny gaps and small holes can be filled, most of the times these problems are solved by replacing the warped planks. To avoid wood warping, you need to maintain it. Since not all wood species are the same, it’s best to ask your deck contractor about the ways you can avoid this problem – based on the timber of your structure.

Ledger board failures

All decks attached to the home’s structure have a ledger board. This is a long piece of wood, a horizontal board that is attached to the home. Now, it’s vital that the entire ledger is bolted to the building – not the siding and that there’s also flashing for the avoidance of water damage. If the ledger board is worn, damaged, cracked, or split, improperly fastened and bolted, or not inspected regularly, it will seriously compromise the integrity of the entire structure. To prevent such disasters, you need to trust a good deck builder from the start but also have the board inspected from time to time.

Deck mold infestation

deck builderIf you see some black or dark spots on the deck, it’s likely mold. This may happen if the wooden deck is continuously exposed to water and moisture, and is hardly dry – even more if it is not sealed. Although it may not be avoided altogether, mildew and mold can be avoided when the deck is inspected often, remain as dry as possible, and is sealed.

Loose deck railing

Depending on the deck railing system and material, the structure may rot, get loose, split or rust. There’s a reason why railings are mandatory when decks are 30” or higher than ground level. It’s all about your safety. And so, loose railings will hardly be safe. To avoid such problems and all bad things that come with them, check the railing and all the components – the posts, the joists, the fasteners. Also, take care of the material by staining, sealing, or painting it.