It almost goes without saying that maintenance is essential in order to keep outdoor equipment in good working order. That also goes for infrastructure. Just as your lawnmower requires oil – so do fixtures like decks require maintenance. It is a fact of life that environmental factors can place huge stresses on outdoor fixtures such as decks, especially if they are built with natural materials such as wood.
Without that all-important maintenance, a wooden deck will suffer from exposure to the elements. Harsh sun and temperature fluctuations can be especially damaging to wooden decks. However, when viewing the damage most homeowners will be torn between having the deck repaired or replaced – what is the best option?
The first step is to ensure that you pay attention to the deck and its state of repair. An in-depth look at the state of the deck is absolutely essential in order to make a value judgment as to whether it might be a candidate for repair or replacement.
There are several things that need to be taken into account.
The first of these is to take a good long look at the surface of the deck including things like handrails. Moisture can wreak havoc with decks that are not sealed or have not had the sealing maintained. There is also the effect of UV rays which can play their part in degrading the natural fibers of the wood. Once that seal is degraded moisture can enter the deck and cause swelling which will inevitably lead to further damage.
The second part of judging the health of the deck is to check the posts. These are the foundation of a healthy deck. Due to the fact that they are vertical and hidden by the superstructure of the deck they are not usually exposed to direct Uv rays or the effects of pooled water. However, the base of the posts may be subjected to the effects of accumulated water.
There are a variety of ways in which a deck can be damaged. These can range from simple wear and tear to the effects of climate. However, there comes a time when every homeowner has a decision to make when it comes to repairing or replacing a deck. The issue boils down to one simple question: Is it more cost-effective to repair that deck or replace it completely?
It all comes down to dollars and cents – and the scale of the repairs that might need to be made. If a deck shows issues in one particular area it may not mean that the entire structure should be replaced. However, it is essential that the homeowner who wants to return his or her deck to ‘as new’ condition consult with experts like the ones we have here at TNT. The reason for this is simple. The deck may appear to only need cosmetic attention – however, there may be hidden dangers that affect the health of the deck. One of those is one that affects the older decks. Those decks might have support posts that were inserted directly into the soil. Modern best practice is to use footers – which limit the damage that standing water (or a high water table) can cause. Posts inserted into raw soil can suffer from rot – and an experienced and professional deck specialist will be able to advise homeowners on the best path forward should rot affect one or more posts.
That same professional should also be able to judge whether the deck is in need of repair rather than replacement in terms of the health of the beams. These Beams are the basis for the support of the deck. Damaged beams can spell doom for a deck. They are expensive to repair or replace. The sheer amount of time required to replace beams will mean that the homeowner is paying (per hour) more than the value of an entirely new deck.
If the deck requires remedial help there are a number of different options when it comes to material. The latest composite boards, for instance, mimic the look and texture of natural wood and have a variety of advantages over the natural material.
In fact, the decision to replace a deck should take into account the return on investment. Research has shown that a deck makes the home more attractive to buyers. A deck should be seen as a long term investment. However, that longevity should not mean that the deck requires constant maintenance.
The idea that a deck should require that much care and attention is firmly in many homeowner’s minds. Some go so far as to view a deck as an annoyance rather than an asset. However, on the other side of the fence, there are those who enjoy the convenience and lifestyle options that a deck provides.
These two opposing mindsets mean that judging whether or not to repair or replace a deck (or eliminate it altogether) may not be made logically. It is then when the services of a professional are most urgently needed.
One of our qualified and experienced deck specialists will conduct an in-depth examination of the state of the deck – and do all the calculations required to give you the peace of mind of knowing that the decision whether or not to repair the deck – or have it replaced entirely was the right thing to do.
It is also worth remembering that a skilled deck advisor will be able to offer a number of repair options when it comes to restoring a deck to its ‘as new’ status. This may mean using newer materials that are not natural – but that enhance, rather than detract from the visual appeal of the deck.
A deck is an asset in many different ways. It adds to the value of what for many will be the biggest investment they will ever make – a property. However, there is another investment that the homeowner will be making. A deck adds to the emotional wellbeing of a family. It is a place in the sun where the family can simply be with one another. So when that decision of whether to replace or repair that deck, consider the options carefully. Give TNT Home Improvements a call today at 970-663-2868. Click here if you would like to learn more about our deck building services.