A Guide to Decks: Repair or Replace?

Carolina homeowners love outdoor living. Because North Carolina and South Carolina enjoy beautiful weather for much of the year, decks are extremely popular. These serve as true outdoor living areas and are popular gathering places for family and friends. If, however, your deck has seen better days, you might be wondering if it’s time for a replacement. 

As you read this guide, you’ll discover some key ways to decide if you should replace your deck or simply have your current one repaired. Remember, every situation is unique, and not all of these criteria may apply to you. The following information is merely meant to help you make an informed decision about updating or upgrading your Carolina home’s outdoor living space. 

How old is your deck?

The older the deck is, the more likely it is that a full replacement is the most prudent choice for homeowners. Natural woods, including cedar and pine, typically last about 10-20 years before they become too moisture-damaged to function properly. Composite materials, on the other hand, generally last longer, 25-30 years, but still need to be replaced every few decades. If your deck is quite old, replacing it with newer materials is your best bet. 

Is the wood rotten?

If you have a wooden deck, not a composite one, wood rot is a serious issue to be aware of. Even treated lumber can start rotting, particularly if you live in a wet area of the Carolinas. The more rotten a deck board is, the more likely it is to collapse completely, potentially injuring you or one of your loved ones. 

If just a few boards are rotten and your deck is relatively new, replacing them is likely to be the wisest and most cost-effective option. If, however, your deck is older or numerous boards are damaged by wood rot, you should consider getting a quote for an entirely new deck.

How are the railings?

Deck rails are essential for safety and, in many North Carolina and South Carolina zip codes, have to meet specific building code standards. If your deck rails have become wobbly or rotten, it’s time to consider replacing them. Note that you don’t necessarily have to replace your whole deck in this situation; just the rails can sustain damage. Many homeowners find that vinyl railings last longer than wood ones – they also require less upkeep!

Are the posts still sturdy?

Deck posts are the foundation of a deck. If the posts start rotting or become loose, the entire deck system is at risk of collapse. It is smart to have professional contractors inspect your deck to make sure the posts are in good working order. Even rusted screws and nails can cause structural problems, and, as a layperson, you might not notice seemingly minor issues of this nature. 

Hopefully, this information has helped you better understand your home’s deck and will make it easier for you to decide whether you should repair or replace it moving forward. Remember, if you are ever in doubt about what to do, contact a local deck installer who has a great reputation in your area!

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