How to Fix Decks on Your Own

A wood deck is a beautiful addition to your home, but the structure can become damaged over time. Fortunately, the most common issues, such as splinters and discoloration, can be easily addressed with a little time and effort. More serious problems, such as rot or sagging, require some carpentry skills and may call for professional deck repair services.

Before tackling any repairs, be sure to inspect the entire surface of your deck. Look for splinters, cracks and chips in the boards as well as popped nails, loose railings or screws. A small amount of popped nails or boards typically isn’t cause for alarm, but if numerous areas are affected, it could indicate a more serious structural problem.

If you see rot, it is essential to repair the damaged area promptly. This will prevent the rot from spreading to healthy boards and causing more extensive damage. If the wood is soft or spongy to the touch, it’s time to call in a deck repair professional.

Inspect the underneath side of your deck for corroded joist hangers. These are the hardware used to connect joists to your deck’s beams, and if they’re corroded, it can weaken the overall structure of your deck. If you find any deteriorated joist hangers, remove the old ones and replace them with new ones.

Deck footings are concrete pads that support the posts that hold up your deck. If the footings are unstable, it can be dangerous for people walking on your deck. Unstable footings deck repair Huntsville AL are often caused by frost heave, soil erosion or excessively wet ground conditions. Professionals can provide several fixes for unstable footings, including stabilizing the foundation with anchor bolts or digging new footings.

A tape measure, a power drill and a cordless saw are necessary tools for making most wood deck repairs. A circular saw can also be helpful for cutting replacement planks to size. Having a good quality sander helps to smooth out rough edges and prevent splinters after the repairs are made.

Once your deck is clean, sand it with 50-grit paper until you’ve scuffed the entire surface of each board and handrail. Sanding will remove the dirt and any loose paint, and allow you to see the wood grain clearly. Be sure to wear a dust mask while sanding.

When the sanding is complete, test the water-repellency of your deck by pouring a capful onto different parts of the surface. If the water beads up, it is not sealed properly. Sealing the deck will prevent moisture from penetrating and destroying the wood.

When the deck is dry, fill any gouges or holes in the wood that are deeper than 1/4 inch with a paintable acrylic caulk. This will protect the wood from water and sun damage and help to prevent splinters. If you are repairing areas of rot, apply a wood hardening product first before applying the caulk.