Three Common Repairs for Wood Decks in Fort Collins, CO

old deck board that is curling up

At TNT Home Improvements, we are regularly called out to make some repairs on wood decks in Fort Collins, CO. These repairs can come in just about any shape or size, but in general they usually fall under one of the three categories that we’ll cover below.

Replacing broken boards in the deck

If you have split, rotten or otherwise degraded deck boards that are ruining the overall appearance of your deck, you should replace them as soon as possible. Don’t worry about them not fitting in with the rest of your deck; after a year or two of weathering, they will blend right into the rest of the deck. Just make sure you use the same wood type and thickness.

In some cases, you might not even have to replace the entire board. If this is the case, you should just make sure you cut a piece that goes across three joists. Do not hesitate to cut a little extra wood, as well, so you can stagger the wood with the adjacent joints for a better overall appearance.

The hardest part of this process is cutting out the damaged section of the wood cleanly. This is a job that’s probably too big for a jigsaw, so you will need to use a sharp, stiff blade to help keep your cuts straight. You should make sure you pre-drill holes for your screws, as well, so they can pull themselves in tightly to the joists.

Tightening decks that have become wobbly or bouncy

If the deck does not feel solid or strong when you walk across it, the cause is typically a long joist spanning between your beams, or between a beam and your house. You’ll need to access the framing underneath to be able to stiffen your deck. Then, you have several options as to how to fix the problem. You can add another beam for additional support, though this is a rather large job. To do this, you should first add rows of solid blocks every three or four feet along where the beam will span.

If you choose this method, you should use treated lumber blocking that is approximately the same size as the joists (usually either 2×8 or 2×10). Then, install these blocks in rows based on your measurements.

Replacing loose or damaged nails

Your deck will shrink and swell over the course of the seasons, which can cause the boards to expand and contract, popping out some of the nails above the boards. Sure, you can just drive them back into place, but in most cases this is only a short-term solution. For a more permanent fix, you should remove these nails and replace them with deck screws.

The hardest part of this job is removing those nails without damaging your deck. You should always use a block underneath your prying tool of choice, and take your time when working on particularly difficult-to-remove nails. A diagonal cutter could help you get out nails that are not protruding very far.

The old nail hole can act as a pilot hole for your deck screw. We recommend purchasing deck screws in colors that match the decking, so they don’t stick out too much.

For more information about the types of repair jobs we take on for wood decks in Fort Collins, CO, contact us today at TNT Home Improvements.

Tips to Help You Maintain Wood Decks in Fort Collins, CO

pic of a deck and deck cover built in Ft. Collins, CO

Wooden decks can take a whole lot of abuse over their lives. They are constantly exposed to sunlight and rain, they generally get a lot of foot traffic and they are generally more vulnerable to the elements than any other type of wooden structure. This means it’s important to take certain steps to keep your decks looking great for years to come.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain your wood decks in Fort Collins, CO:

  • Keep it clear: In general, you want to make sure your deck is kept clear of anything that could catch moisture or mar the surface. If you have flower planters on your deck, for example, you should make sure to put them on cement blocks or somehow raise them off the ground so those planters do not trap dirt or moisture on top of the deck. Make sure you sweep your deck on a regular basis to prevent buildup of leaves and dirt, which can also trap moisture or stain the surface. Finally, during the winter, make sure to shovel the snow off your deck, just so you can be sure its moisture does not seep into the deck when it finally starts to melt.
  • Regularly clean and seal your deck: Every two or three years, you should have a professional come and clean or seal your deck to ensure it’s protected against the sun and rain. If you decide to do the job yourself, you will most likely need to do this once a year, as you do not have the same sort of expertise and equipment as a professional, so it makes the most sense to just hire a professional to do it. Sealing your deck protects it against moisture, which can cause the wood to swell, as well as from the sun, which can cause the wood to shrink. Repeated swelling and singing can cause the wood to bend, warp, crack and age quickly.
  • Do not paint or apply solid stain: You should never paint or stain your deck with a solid type of stain. Eventually these types of finishes will peel, which means they require significantly more maintenance to keep looking good. Your best bet is to use an oil-based stain, because they have the dual benefits of protecting your deck while aging naturally and gradually.
  • Make repairs as soon as you can: If you see boards beginning to rot, you should make these repairs as quickly as possible so you can avoid having to replace the entire deck. You should also engage in regular maintenance, even when significant repairs are not necessary. This could include tightening loose boards and checking the integrity of your railings.
  • Protect the deck from grease: If you grill on your deck, make sure you have a grease catcher or a cement slab on which you place your grill. Grease stains are extremely difficult to remove from a deck and can become very unsightly very quickly.

 

For more information about maintaining and repairing wood decks in Fort Collins, CO, contact our team today at TNT Home Improvements.