A deck that is properly maintained can offer years of enjoyment for your family as well as your friends. Besides your own enjoyment, a well-maintained deck is a great selling point when putting your house on the market. Buyers will be able to visualize themselves enjoying a glass of sweet tea or watching their kids play outside while relaxing on their beautiful deck. The home renovation experts at Prince & Sons have put together a list of deck maintenance tips to follow so that you can get the most out of your deck this Fall.
Rotten wood on your deck can have disastrous consequences from both safety and financial standpoints. Make sure to examine the floor decking as well as support posts, floor joists, railings, and stairs.
The deck band is the framing member that is attached to the house and in most cases supports one end of the floor joists. Some decks are constructed with a ledger strip, which supports the load of floor joists and connects to the deck band. Make sure the ledger that was used when your deck was built has not deteriorated and was fastened with proper nails. When examining the nails, there should be no rust present. The band of the deck should be fastened with galvanized steel bolts that pass entirely through both the deck and house bands and is secured with a washer and nut. This ensures a fail proof connection that will never separate from the house. If you notice a gap between the house and deck band, your deck likely needs these bolts installed. This may be seem to be a bit out of the realm of DIY deck repair, but a little knowledge can go a long way when it comes to keeping you and your family safe.
Most local codes require that railings be between 36-38 inches high and 3-3/4 inches apart, but it’s always best to check your local building code to confirm. Periodically, inspect the pickets and posts for any deterioration and soft spots. If you notice any significant movement when leaning on your handrails, it may be time to consider having some maintenance performed.
Periodically check the boards on the surface of your deck and stairs to ensure that there is no deterioration and that all boards are lying flat. It is not uncommon to experience curling of the decking as the pressure treated lumber bakes in the sun and dries. This is typically seen in scenarios where nails were used to fasten down the boards instead of screws.If you are having a new deck built, always request that your contractor use screws, as it makes for a more reliable system and its easier to replace boards if needed.
When we mention “fasteners,” we’re referring to nails, screws, bolts, and joist hangers. Periodically check them to make sure there are no loose fasteners and be sure to replace any that may have corroded or rusted.
If your deck is looking a bit “worn out” it may be that a simple coat of waterproof finish or stain is all you need to get the facelift you desire. Keeping your deck properly sealed helps to extend the life of your deck as well as preventing, mildew and weather damage down the road.
Has your deck has seen its better days? If so, the local general contractors at Prince & Sons would be happy to come out to your home and give you a free estimate on a deck repair or deck replacement.