Can Your Deck Be Repaired or Is It Time for a Deck Replacement?

Can Your Deck Be Repaired or Is It Time for a Deck Replacement?

Decks and Porches
By Mateos Glen Hayes October 19, 2022

Do you have a deck that is looking a little droopy? Perhaps it’s becoming splintered or has full-on rotten decking. Maybe you bought the house with the rotting porch with every intention to replace it and now's the time. There are plenty of benefits of having a deck - they can boost your home’s value, give you a beautiful view, and are a wonderful place to hang out on a warm summer’s day. Plus, your deck can be easily customized with premium quality materials and various paints and staining to color-coordinate with your home’s exterior colors.

As with anything else, decks wear with time. Weather takes its toll, staining and paint wear off, and over time your porch will be covered with rotten decking. Once this starts happening you’ll have a decision to make; either repair the damage or rebuild your porch completely. If you need to rebuild your deck, you can contact a local, professional deck builder to rip the old one down and put the new one in, as well as advise you on how to care for it properly so it stays new for as long as possible.

Get A Decks and Porches Quote

 

Alas, it isn’t always that simple. One important question to answer before you start any work is whether you need to rebuild your deck entirely or simply replace some of the timber. This means you’ll have to do a thorough assessment. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources as well as certified professionals available to guide you through the process. To make the best decision, it is important to understand what each process entails, and how to tell if your deck needs repairing or rebuilding. 

Replacing a Deck

Deck replacement is a routine part of deck maintenance that is typically needed every ten to fifteen years.

Deck replacement is a routine part of deck maintenance that is typically needed every ten to fifteen years.

Also known as resurfacing, deck replacement means replacing deck boards that have been worn out by weather and time. This may involve simply replacing deck railings and deck board replacement, but it can also require work to repair the deck’s structure. Moisture damage is the most common source of damage requiring deck board replacement. This is because moisture causes rotten decking, warping, and splitting. Wood deck repair costs about $1,200 for an average-sized deck, whereas more expensive materials can cost up to $2,636 on average. The median cost for deck resurfacing is around $1,685, making deck replacement relatively affordable. 

Following deck replacement, refinishing will also be needed to enhance the durability of the new decking. Paint and staining will give your newly replaced decking the tools needed to resist moisture. Applying finish to your deck costs between $350 and $780 on average. If your deck planks are in OK condition, deck replacement may not even be necessary, and you may be able to just refinish the existing deck so it stays fresh and fine.    

Rebuilding a Deck 

An extensively damaged deck may need to be rebuilt entirely.

An extensively damaged deck may need to be rebuilt entirely.

If your deck’s condition is beyond the pale, it’s time to begin your deck-rebuilding project. A porch with lots of rotten decking and railings is not structurally safe as it may no longer be able to support any weight safely; therefore, you will need to rebuild it promptly. Rebuilding a deck will cost between $5 to $15 per square foot, meaning that deck replacement will not be affordable. 

Complete composite deck repair is by far the most expensive, costing over $19,000 for an average deck. Composite decks aren’t prone to wearing as quickly though, so complete composite deck repair is not something you will be doing too often. 

Sometimes refinishing is all a deck needs to be restored to its former glory.

Sometimes refinishing is all a deck needs to be restored to its former glory.

Rebuilding a deck made of wood is significantly more affordable, costing $14,360 for an average wood deck replacement project. While this certainly is not the most affordable of projects, deck reconstruction does give you an excellent opportunity to make some neat improvements to your deck. 

Why go through the trouble of replacing a deck only to make it the same when you can transform it into something even better? Trellises and pergolas are both easy additions that are quite affordable at just a few hundred bucks. These improvements offer some shading and also add a biophilic element to your deck with some beautiful climbing vegetation. 

Get A Decks and Porches Quote

 

Rebuilding a deck is also a good opportunity to choose a higher-quality material or a new design, such as a floating deck layout. Redwood is one of the most durable woods out there, although composites are one of the best choices for anyone that prioritizes longevity over all else. The best combination of affordability and durability is offered by cedar decking, so this is the best option for those that want to save money. 

Four Ways To Determine Whether Your Deck Needs Rebuilding Or Replacing 

Treating your wooden deck helps to make it more durable against the damaging effects of moisture.

Treating your wooden deck helps to make it more durable against the damaging effects of moisture.

If you’re still unsure about whether it is better to replace deck boards or repair your deck instead, here are four checks you can do to get a better idea. 

How Much Wood Rot? 

Take a look at your deck and inspect the wood for rot. Wood composites and polymer-capped decks will be much better at resisting rot, but even they can succumb to it with time. Lots of rot is a good indication that your deck needs to be repaired or replaced. Pay special attention to horizontal beams and joints as these trap moisture and are most likely to rot first. Soft darkened wood or fungus growth are all signs of rot. 

How Old is Your Deck? 

Naturally, deck age should play a significant role in your decision. Most decks last between 10 to 15 years before showing major damage or rot. Composite decks can last 50 years in some cases. Either way, once it is at the end of its lifespan, rebuilding a deck entirely will likely be the best option as the deck will begin to show structural damage.

A deck inspection can help uncover any hidden flaws or damage.

A deck inspection can help uncover any hidden flaws or damage.

Complete An Inspection

A certified professional will be able to complete a more thorough inspection than most DIYers, so this is certainly worth considering. A deck contractor knows where to look for structural damage and will be able to tell you pretty quickly if your deck needs to be rebuilt. 

Obtain a Quote From a Pro 

The cost of building a new deck entirely may in some cases be more affordable than replacing worn parts of a deck, especially if your porch has significant structural damage. For instance, replacing deck beams or other structural elements can drive up the price of deck repair. In other cases, your deck may only need resurfacing, in which case you will just be doing minor repairs. A professional deck installer can offer you quotes for each of these jobs, giving you a full picture of the options open to you and how much everything will cost.  

Choosing a Contractor

Experienced deck contractors know where to look for potential damage.

Experienced deck contractors know where to look for potential damage.

Another benefit of obtaining quotes from deck installers is that this will help you in choosing a contractor to work on your deck. We all have a budget, so shopping around will find you the quote that best fits your limitations. Once you have found a contractor that is within your price range it is essential to look into their prior jobs. Not all deck installers are made equal, so it’s a good idea to make sure the one you choose will build you a deck that is well-planned and lasts for years or decades to come. Referrals from prior clients can also be quite useful in helping you to choose. 

Finally, once you have found the best contractor for your project you’ll want to check that they are available for the dates you need them. No one wants to be stuck with a partially rebuilt deck or one with missing decking. 

Once you have chosen your contractor and officially hired them, it is time to be sure to move things out of the way that may be obtrusive. You also want to be sure that there is a safe entryway to your home so the workers may use your restroom. A gracious host will also have refreshments on hand for the deck workers, and ensure that clean-up is done every day.

Taking Care of Your Deck 

Enjoy your beautifully restored deck before the warm weather yields to fall.

Enjoy your beautifully restored deck before the warm weather yields to fall.

When the project is done, before you go and relax on that wonderful new porch, be sure to get a written warranty from your contractor that will guarantee quality workmanship on your deck and that the materials used are of quality.

While the deck contractor is on-site, be sure to ask him or her about proper deck maintenance as well so you can be sure that you keep your deck clean and new-looking for as long as possible. Be sure to ask them what the maximum weight that the deck can bear is (though chances are they have already told you during the estimate) and ask about the painting and staining the deck. Some stains and paints can ruin the deck's durability, so it is important to avoid these products. Once you’ve done your due diligence, kick back and relax on your new beautiful deck.

Get A Decks and Porches Quote

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

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