Now that your deck is washed and sealed, it is time to inspect the foundation of your deck.
Structural Deck Maintenance
The hot, dry summertime provide the perfect months to inspect the foundation of your deck. If your deck is located near downspouts, places that frequently puddle, or other sources of water, investigate these areas thoroughly to promptly remove rotting.
If you are unsure of whether your deck is suffering from rotting, use a flat-head screwdriver and insert it into the wood to determine if it needs more attention. If the screwdriver goes more than one-fourth inch into the wood, rotting is present.
The next step is repairing the rotted areas. If the rotting is the size of a small hole, chisel it out and apply a wood preservative. If the rotted area is larger, replacement parts may be needed. Consult a professional contractor or builder to determine the next steps.
If accessible, inspect the underside of the deck too. Check for rot and other problems in places such as corners, cross beams or joints. Decks connected to the house, through a ledger, need inspection in a major place; that ledger. Inspect the ledger to make sure it is still in proper working condition. Look for the proper materials on the ledger, lag screws, and check for rust spots.
If rotting exists in inaccessible areas, extra support may be necessary. Add a secondary support beam or joint to relieve pressure on the rotted area and to avoid a collapse. If you have a surface board with a crack or showing signs of deterioration, repair or replace it immediately. While not initially a threat, these cracks and splinters get worse with time, and could potentially cause serious damage.
Don’t neglect the railing during the midsummer inspection. Test to make sure it is still working properly by grabbing and shaking it. If some weak spots appear, check for cracks around screws that tend to develop over time. Then apply a professional grade adhesive and replace the fastener.
Preventative Fall Measures
When it comes to decks that are nailed down, nail heads tend to protrude over time. Hammer these rogue nails back down, or if necessary, remove the nail and install a screw in place of the nail.
Another preventive measure is keeping landscaping, such as bushes and tress, trimmed. Try keeping the vegetation back at least a foot from the deck, this helps contain mold growth and rot. Other tips include occasionally rearranging deck furniture to avoid discoloring of the deck.
Taking care of your deck will pay off in the long—run, as decks recoup 73 percent of their value, according to a Cost vs. Value Report in Remodeling Magazine. Keep your deck from rotting and collapsing by taking care of your deck with these easy steps.