Doing a yearly inspection and any repairs of your deck will help keep it safe and cut down on repair bills later. Find a time when the weather is good and take a close look at your deck, railings, and fencing before the weather gets too cold to repair or stain if needed.
Doing Your Inspection
It is important to pay special attention to any parts of your deck that is close to the ground or any areas of moisture accumulation. Any area that is within six inches of the ground should be looked at close. Look at areas around planters, downspouts, or low laying areas that can accumulate water during rains or may just have standing water. These areas are more prone to rot your wood decking and fencing.
TIP: Always clean off leaves from your deck. Leaves accumulating on your deck will cause moisture to get trapped and will promote wood rot.
Cut any trees or shrubs that are on or around your deck. Allow for enough area for air to circulate so mold and algae do not build up on your deck or siding. Keep grass trim around your deck so moisture does not accumulate.
Check Structural Members
Check all the structural members of your deck for wood rot. Check all the the deck stairs and the stringers meet the ground. The stringers are the saw-tooth notched piece that supports the steps. You should also check the perimeter post too. You can use a screwdriver to check for rotted wood boards on your deck. If you can push the screwdriver into the wood a quarter inch or more than you probably have rot.
Areas of rot that are small about the size of a coin can be removed with a chisel and treated with a wood preservative. If the rot is a larger area than the structural member must be replaced. If you cannot do this yourself it would be a good idea to hire a handyman or contractor to do the job properly.
Inspecting the Deck Ledger
The ledger is a very important piece of your deck and should be inspected carefully. The ledger is the part that attaches to the house. Get a flashlight and inspect the underneath and around the ledger. The ledger should be attached with lag screws and nails. Check the flashing to make sure it is free of rust and holes. The flashing is the metal cap that covers the top of the ledger and prevents moisture from getting behind the siding. A badly damaged ledger can cause a deck to collapse so it is a good idea to inspect your deck every year for rot.
Check the posts, beams, and remaining joists. Check all the hardware underneath paying special attention to the joists hangers. Replace any hardware that is extremely rusted. Any signs of rot it is a good idea to call a professional to make the repairs.
Cracks or Rotted Decking
If you find rotted deck boards you should replace it. Cracking boards will get worse over time. Large cracks should be replaced.
Check the deck railings for loose posts or rot damage. Try shaking the posts to make sure they are sturdy. Look for any cracks that may have formed around the hardware including screws or nails.
Please gives us a call today! We would love to help you repair or maintain your deck or fence.
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