Maintaining your wood deck may also require repairing or replacing loose or broken boards that can make your deck unsafe to walk on. Surface boards as well as joists can rot, so inspect the deck at least once a year for signs of rot. Even a pressure-treated or preserved-wood deck can suffer loose screws or boards. It’s best to hire a professional to replace any boards that are twisting, lifting or rotted.
Contact a professional if you see any signs of rot, as this is a bigger job and will require repairing or replacing the joists. If the rot is localized to a specific area of the joist, a “sister” board can be attached to the joist to support the surface boards instead of replacing the entire joist. A professional will be able to determine if this is the best course of repair. To replace the old board with a new one, drill pilot holes into the board where it should attach to the joists, then screw in the new board to the joists.
Deck Railing Repairs
Why Your Deck Railing Has Come Loose
There are lots of factors that can contribute to a loose railing on your deck, like windy weather and pressure from people leaning too hard on them. We all know that leaning on the railings would probably cause eventual wear, loosening, or damaging of the hardware holding the posts to the deck’s surface. And of course, age can also cause railings to weaken. Depending on the type of material your deck is made of, here are some of the major reasons your deck railing might be wobbly:
- Wooden railings are warped and/or deteriorating: Wood is often chosen as a deck and railing material for its woodsy outdoor look. But wood expands and contracts when exposed to moisture or heat from the sun. This can cause the bolts and screws holding the railing together to loosen over time.
- Metal joints/masonry anchors are rusting or worn: Metal deck railings are stronger than materials like wood and can generally withstand the elements better. But metals that are exposed to rain and humidity can rust and flake away. If your railing post bases themselves aren’t well protected from moisture, they can corrode and loosen from the deck. And if the hardware that affixes the posts to the deck and to other parts of the railing isn’t high-quality steel or is at the end of its lifespan, it could be corroding and coming loose as well, making the railing wobbly.
- Weather damage: Regardless of the material a deck is made from, weather can be a major cause of loose railings. Strong winds as well as things like hail can damage railings by loosening joints and sometimes even cracking fasteners that are rusted with age.
Let’s Get Started
For new railings, we recommend our Fortress Building Products, not only for the variety of styles but also for the high quality. Their unique protective coating system keeps the metal rust and corrosion-free, so you don’t have to worry about dangerous wobbles. If you’re thinking about replacing your whole deck, or working on other projects this summer, we also provide uniquely durable decking, fencing, and decorative hardware. Definitely check them out if you’re looking for the best, and best-looking, building products for your home.
Deck Post Replacement
Replacing A Deck Post
The best way to repair rotted deck post is to replace it. If the post has been sunk into the ground and backfilled, you’ll need to excavate the entire post, remove it, and install concrete in a sonotube to above grade. You can then mount a new deck post and post bracket on top of the new concrete support.
Replacing a deck post can be extremely difficult in many circumstances due to low deck clearance or placement of the post. There are tons of variables involved in a job like this, and below we’ll go over all the different variations of post removal and repair you might encounter on a deck.
Can Rotted Wood Deck Posts Be Repaired?
Not only can a rotted wood deck post be repaired, it absolutely should be repaired. A deck post is one of the most important pieces of a deck’s infrastructure – if not the most important. Each post supports a particular load area of the deck – if one fails, that load is transferred to other posts, which may or may not be designed to hold that extra load. When this occurs, decks can collapse and cause injury or worse.
While replacing a deck post is often easier, there are numerous instances where repairing a deck post makes more sense. And yes, repairing a deck post (and not replacing it) is entirely possible.
When Should I Replace Rotted Wood Deck Posts?
You should only even consider repairing a wood deck post if you, for certain, know where the rot or damage is on the post. If you aren’t sure, then you must replace the post.
Rot is insidious. Wood rot is water infiltration. Depending on where your post is, there could also be particulates in the ground that could hasten the development of rot in our deck post. If you have a wood deck post that is sunk below grade, poorly draining soil such as clay will trap water between the post and soil, which will eventually spell rot – and lots of it.
While this page is about both replacing and repairing rotted deck posts, understand that repairing is by far the most common solution to this issue. If you have stock deck posts that aren’t the main component of your deck aesthetic, then by all means, consider replacing your deck posts before attempting a repair.
Remember that the repair or replacement of a post is not without its dangers. Any time you are dealing with loads in the thousands of pounds, you’ve got to use caution. Make sure your jack is strong enough and you use solid, 2×6, or greater supports.
Deck Board Replacement
Replace Your Deck Boards
As your wood deck ages, the boards may begin to rot, split, or come loose. This is especially true if the deck boards have not been properly maintained with routine cleaning, staining, and sealing. Repairing deck boards may be as simple as tightening some screws, but rotted deck boards or split boards should be replaced. This is an easy DIY project that doesn’t require a permit or, in most cases, rebuilding the deck’s structure, because posts and joists aren’t directly exposed to the elements and often outlast the decking. You’ll save a lot of time and money by replacing only the worst deck boards instead of the whole deck.
- Circular Saw / Jigsaw / Oscillating Multitool / Reciprocating Saw
- Screw Gun / Power Drill
- Speed Square
- Wood Chisel
- Claw Hammer
- Pry Bar / Cat’s Paw
- Eye Protection
- Paint Brush
- Tape Measure
Equipment / Tools
- Replacement Deck Boards
- Coated or Stainless Steel Deck Screws
- Wood Sealant / Stain (only for use on wood decking)
The new deck boards should match the look of what’s already on your deck. If you’re unsure of the wood species used, make a fresh cut and smell it. Pressure-treated lumber, cedar, and redwood have their own distinct aromas. For composite decking, try to identify the manufacturer or brand and then match the color and style on the company’s website or at retail.
Deck Pier Replacement
Helical Piers – A Must Know
These piers are mechanically advanced into the soil using small construction equipment or hand equipment. As they are installed to appropriate depths and capacities, they prevent any future settlement issues. In many scenarios, these foundation piers will be able to lift your home back to level position by the completion of the installation.
Foundations will experience settlement issues when the soils below the house prove unable to support the weight of the structure. Helical pier systems create a solid supporting base that transfers the weight of your home downwards to strong supporting soils.
How Helical Piers Work
First, soil is removed from the area where the helical pier will be installed. Helical pier sections are mechanically “screwed,” or advanced, into the soil.
Once proper depths and capacities are achieved, heavy duty steel foundation brackets are positioned below and against the foundation footing.
The weight of the home is then transferred through the helical piers to deep, competent soils. Lifting the home back towards its original position is attempted. Then, the soil around the foundation is carefully replaced.
Installing Helical Piers
The first section of the pier that is advanced into the ground has one or more helical blades (Or “bearing plates”) welded to the shaft.
Additional helical pier sections do not have bearing plates and are instead used to extend the pier to the necessary installation depth.
Helical piers can be installed from either the exterior or interior of your home, providing an opportunity to lift your home back to its original position by the end of the installation time.
Helical piers can also be effective at closing cracks caused by settlement, and can also potentially improve the operation of doors and windows.
When To Use Foundation Helical Piers
With knowledge of local soil conditions, helical piers can be an ideal solution because the installing contractor will know exactly how deep to install the piers to reach a stable soil layer that can support your home. If your goals are the following, helical piers are a good choice:
- You need the best opportunity to lift your home back to its original position.
- Lighter structures, such as decks or stoops, are in need of stabilization.
- You’d like minimal disturbance during installation.
- You’re looking for a fast, effective installation.
- Restoring your property value is a priority.
Once your helical piers have been installed, you can count on your problem to be solved — once and for all!
Deck Rot Repair
Outdoor decks can provide years of service as the go-to spot for entertaining, barbecuing, or just relaxing on a sunny day.
But wood decks are not expected to last forever. Lashed by rain and wind and further weakened by sun exposure, wood decks can collapse due to rot and other structural imperfections.
Repairing your wood deck and its weak posts, discolored deck boards, splintered boards, and loose fasteners is one way to keep your deck in top shape and everyone safe. But when wood rot is involved, it’s often best to remove the rotten wood entirely and rebuild part or all of the deck.
Since potentially dangerous fungus often accompanies wood rot, you should wear a NIOSH 95 respirator, not just a dust mask, when demolishing rotten wood deck materials.
Tools and Materials
- Pry bar
- Claw hammer
- Safety glasses
- Reciprocating saw, circular saw, or twin-blade saw
- Old screwdriver
Identifying Wood Rot In A Deck
Not all weakened wood in a deck is rotten. For example, wood may become splintered or cracked as a result of impact from fallen limbs. In this case, the wood can safely and effectively be repaired because the damage is localized. But wet or dry rot can affect larger expanses than is obvious from the surface. Often, a deck’s wood posts or beams may look relatively intact from the outside but the inside can be rotten and crumbly beyond repair.
With rot, the wood typically feels soft and spongy and the outer surface is discolored. Paint may be bubbly. When you push a screwdriver into the wood, it will push in easily and the wood will crumble.
Fungus often accompanies both types of rot. The rotten interior will be highly porous and will fall apart by touch, often crumbling with a texture.
Deck Railing Repair
Deck Post Replacement
Deck Board Replacement
Deck Pier Replacement
Deck Rot Repair