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How to Know when to Replace Your Wood Deck in Denver


February 2, 2016

Decks bring a lot of enhancement to outdoor spaces, but as with most wood structures, the elements like rain, wind, heat, and cold will take their toll over time. Even the strongest hardwoods are not impervious to weather and aging, especially with our varying Colorado climate. So how do you know when it’s time to replace your deck? First, you’ll need to be able to recognize the signs and extent of the damage. Once that’s determined, you can choose to repair or replace your deck accordingly. The following covers the type of damage to look for, along with advice about repairing or replacing:

Types of damage
 
  • Localized damage – Wood rot can occur in localized areas. For example, if you have a planter attached to your deck which has been overfilled too many times, the water runoff could decay the deck boards underneath. Decaying boards will be discolored, mushy, and often moldy. Localized damage can also occur with termites. While Colorado doesn’t have a termite problem to the extent that other areas of the U.S. do, there are subterranean termites in the region which can cause structural damage (see “Extensive damage” below).
  • Extensive damage – Damage and wood rot that occur due to weather or wear and tear can have a snowball effect by attracting and becoming susceptible to termites. The termites eat through the softening wood, thereby creating channels that allow water to seep in and rot the wood even further. Wood rot can also be caused by a failing or poorly draining substructure, which collects standing water and rots the deck posts from the ground up. Signs of major, accelerating wood damage include:
    • Weak railing or deck posts
    • Loose nails and screws in the deck frame
    • Soft or spongy spots that give when you walk on them
    • Significantly cracked or warped deck boards
    • Visible rot around the outer edges of the deck frame
Repair or replace?

With localized damage, you can usually just repair the area in question without having to replace the entire deck. However, decay in one area is usually a sign of things to come. And while a repair does buy you some time, it’s likely you’ll need to continue to repair new areas of decay that show up. Eventually the cost of repairs may need to be weighed against the cost of replacing the entire deck.

On the other hand, extensive wood damage—such as noted above—will nearly always require your deck to be replaced, as the structure can become unstable and therefore unsafe.  And on that note, regardless if your damage is localized or extensive, if you notice wood rot to either the deck railings or posts, these should be addressed and repaired immediately. Railings and posts can break without warning, therefore posing a significant hazard to people.

If you’re not sure about the extent of your wood damage, it’s a good idea to have a professional make an assessment for you.  When it’s time to replace your Denver deck, call on the experts at Kona Contractors. We can help you upgrade your existing wood deck and increase the overall value of your home. Contact us today to discuss your project.