Deck Maintenance

If your deck has some bad spots that are split or rotted making it look unsightly as well as unsafe, it’s time for some deck repairs. In the summer season along the Front Range of Colorado, people use and abuse their deck as the central focus of many outdoor get-togethers.

repairing your deck and railing

JamesDeMers / Pixabay

With barbecues, birthday parties, and star gazing, it is the hot spot of celebrations and a great place to make memories. The last thing you want is to have it lose its allure, so making sure you maintain it properly and do the appropriate upkeep will help it keep its value.

One of the regular maintenance items is to stain your deck. Without this, the untreated wood takes a lot of damage from the sun. It dries out faster than normal and its color and shine are gone.

Here are some compelling reasons to stain your deck:

Repels Moisture

Just like the exterior paint of your home, deck stain can help prevent moisture from soaking into the wood. Although stain doesn’t cover the wood in the same way that paint does, deck stain acts as a barrier between moisture and wood. Water-soaked wood can begin growing mold or mildew, and may also expand and grow soft, causing you to have to replace planks and repair the deck.

Avoid Cracking

Many people fall victim to the false notion that sealing a deck with deck sealant will solve all potential wood issues, but cracking is one thing that sealants alone won’t help or prevent. Between the sun and the natural drying process, your exterior wood can easily become cracked. Using an oil-based stain will help keep necessary moisture in the wood while keeping excess water out, preventing both cracking and moisture buildup or warping.

Read here to see more reasons to stain your deck

Replacing a Bad Deck Board

Replacing rotted decking is another factor in keeping your outdoor space in prime condition. This repair isn’t hard, but it takes a variety of different tools to manage the project such as:

  • Tape Measure
  • Pry bar
  • Screw gun
  • Hammer
  • Circular Saw or Jigsaw
  • Deck screws

Be sure and get treated decking lumber to replace the rotted board that is the same width and thickness as the rest. You may also need a wood chisel and a hand saw to finish the cut because the circular saw or jigsaw may not be able to cut clear through.

Here’s a video about repairing a single rotted deck board:

After you finish installing the board, you are going to need to stain and seal it so it matches the other boards. If the rest of the wood is gray, you can use a mixture of baking soda and warm water to “weather” the new board.

It might be a good time to refinish all of the deck. To do this, you need to make sure the deck is as clean as you can get it. If there is oil or grease, find a cleaner that will remove it as it will prevent the sealant from doing its job.

Repairing Loose Railing

If your deck railing needs some repairs, you want to secure it so that no one gets hurt by leaning on it and having it give way.  To strengthen wobbly posts, here are some tips:

You don’t have to live with loose, wobbly railing posts when a couple of bolts will make them safe and solid. Measure the thickness of the post/framing assembly, add 1 in. and buy 1/2-in. diameter galvanized carriage bolts that length (plus a nut and washer for each) from any hardware store or home center.

1. Drill bolt holes

deck railing

lailajuliana / Pixabay

Drill the 1/2-in. clearance holes well apart, one about 1-1/2 in. from the top of the framing and one about 1-1/2 in. up from the bottom of the post. You may have to angle the holes slightly to avoid joists, framing anchors or other obstructions. If your drill bit isn’t long enough to go through the post and framing, get a long spade bit. Versions up to 16 in. long are available at home centers and hardware stores.

2. Drive in the carriage bolts

Tap in 1/2-in. carriage bolts, shim if necessary to plumb the post, and install washers and nuts. Tighten the nuts until the bolt heads are set flush to the post.

Most posts are held fairly plumb by the railing, but check them anyway with a level and tap in shims to straighten them if necessary. Don’t over-tighten the bolts; the heads will sink deep into soft wood without much effort.

See the full post here:  https://www.familyhandyman.com/decks/repairing-decks-and-railings/view-all/

Between the weather, age, and people leaning on them, wooden railings can loosen, warp and deteriorate. Metal railing holds up better but can also rust and corrode.

You are wise to spend a little time inspecting and repairing your deck and railing before the season arrives each year to assure everyone has an accident-free experience at your home. You can also have a home contractor in Denver do the inspection, maintenance, and repairs for you.