A well-built, well-maintained deck will last for decades and before you plan to replace it consider a deck renovation to bring it back to its former glory – or additions to make it even better! Basic deck repair can save you money and headaches while extending the useful life of your Madison WI deck.
Decks in southern Wisconsin are exposed to extreme weather – wind, rain, heat, cold, UV rays, you name it. Even the best decks can only take so much. But before you decide to tear down what you have and start over, consider how far a maintenance and repair plan can take you.
Deck Renovation Planning
Decks take a beating from the elements and get a lot of hard use all year around. They can be a favorite playground or an accident in waiting. Statistic show every year more than 30,000 people are hurt because a structure related to a deck – railings, stairs, etc. – fails. Identifying potential dangers is well worth a thorough inspection of your deck. After a series review you can determine whether to build a new deck, proceed with a deck renovation using a skilled professional crew or just make deck repairs.
Here’s a basic checklist to use in the inspection and planning stages:
- Ledger Board – this is where the deck fastens to the house. Make sure it is secured with lag bolts or lag screws and not nails. Check the bolts/screws to be sure they are tight, have appropriate washers and are not rusted or corroded. If there are nails, reinforce the structure with lag screws right away just to be safe.
- Posts and Supports – check the areas around the base of posts where water can seep in and cause rotting and other damage.
- Level Platform – check the slope of the deck surface to be sure it hasn’t shifted, settled or warped. Even the slightest movement can lead to cracks and create areas where water will collect – leading to more cracks, mold and mildew, etc.
- Basic Materials – closely check the health of the wood itself. Even composite decks are built on wooden frameworks, so go beneath the surface. Anywhere water collects is a potential problem spot. Use the end of a screwdriver or pocket knife to see if you can penetrate the wood – if it’s soft you have a problem.
- Railings and Steps – routine maintenance on railings and steps are primary ingredients in deck safety. A few quick fixes can stave off deck renovation and major deck repair. Rotting wood, loose bolts and missing or warn caulking can all lead to more serious problems.
- Overall Stability – is your deck “wobbly?” Do stairs and railings move when you put pressure on them? Do you feel a shift in the surface when weight is added.
Sound Basic Construction Means Fewer Deck Repairs
If you believe everything you read, hear or watch on video, building a deck isn’t hard. In reality, it isn’t as simple as it looks. It requires proven materials, good tools, skill and experience.
TIP FROM A PRO – Do you know there is a right way and a wrong way to lay a deck board down? Look at the end of the board and you’ll see a curve in the wood grain. If you place the board with the “open end” of that grain facing up it can collect moisture and the sun’s heat will warp it. Called cupping, the board will curve upward on its sides – that curve can form a real “cup.” Placed with the open grain down there’s nothing to worry about.
The North American Deck and Railing Association reports major deck renovation accounts for about 2.5 million structures every year. Routine maintenance and deck repairs lengthen the time between original installation and upgrades.
Professionals Know Deck Renovation, Deck Design
When your deck needs work to regain its former glory, consider your options and call Sims Exteriors and Remodeling. The Sims team builds, repairs and replaces structures throughout greater Dane County, including Middleton, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Oregon Verona, McFarland, Stoughton, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie and Deforest.
Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us to evaluate whether timely deck repair or a deck renovation is right for your Madison WI home.