After years of being lashed by rain, snow, and wind and being weakened by the intense sun, your wood deck will begin to show signs of weather, wear, and damage.
When your deck starts looking shabby and becoming inconvenient or even dangerous, it’s time to reconsider a facelift or replacement.
But how do you decide whether to revive the old deck or install a new one? This post has you covered. Here, we will go through the questions you need to answer before deciding whether to restore or teardown your deck.
Let’s get started.
How Safe is My Deck?
Before you look at fixing the aesthetics of your deck, ask yourself how safe the entire structure is. Is there a tripping hazard? Is the deck unstable? Are there weakened boards or exposed nails? According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), deck failures caused over 224,000 injuries and several deaths between 2003 and 2007. So ignoring safety can be costly in the long term.
What Does My Deck Inspection Reveal?
Your next step in your restore or replace decision involves conducting an extensive visual checkup of your deck. This will help you identify the extent of the damage and whether the structure can be saved.
Here are Warning Signs You Need a New Deck Instead of Repair
- Recurring damage even after multiple repairs
- A wobbly structure that sways when standing or walking on it
- Softening wood or parts rotting away due to moisture damage
- Large splits or rot damage in the posts and joists that hold up your deck
- Erosion around the bottom of posts
- Dysfunctional deck surface with safety hazards such as large holes and multiple broken boards
- Extensive damage or holes from termites or other boring insects
Signs You can Revive Your Deck
If the overall structure is intact, but there are a few signs of wear and tear, you might be able to save your deck. The following issues mean your deck can still be saved.
- Cracks or rot are isolated to a couple of boards
- A single rotten or cracking post
- Weathered look but no signs of damage
- Loose railing
- Rusted nails and hardware
If you notice any of these signs, close off the deck and perform the necessary repairs immediately.
How Old is My Deck?
Wooden decks last 10 to 20 years, with an average of 15 years. The actual lifespan will depend on the type of wood your deck is made of and how well you keep up with maintenance. High-quality wooden platforms that are well cared for can last more than 30 years, depending on the climate.
If your deck is problematic and is over 20 years old, you should begin considering building a new deck. It makes little sense to make updates on an aging frame. For decks under 10 years old, there is a good chance that all you need to do is have the structure checked for safety and refinish or resurface the rest of the deck.
Is a Deck Repair Worth it?
If your inspection doesn’t turn up any major issues and the deck presents no safety hazards, then it’s time to figure out whether it’s worth reviving it. How much time will the repair project take? What amount of materials are required? And do you need to hire professionals?
After considering these factors, you might conclude that the resources needed to revive the deck would be better spent building a new one instead. If the time, materials, and expertise required is minimal, then reviving it is the best way to go.
Will the Deck Match the Style I Want After Updating it?
If you just bought a home and the current deck doesn’t match your expectations, and you feel a quick refresh won’t meet what you want, then an overhaul might be your best option. Maybe you want a bigger deck, a different shape, more privacy, or a design that centers on a focal point. You may also be forced to construct an entirely new deck if the current one was built in the wrong place.
What’s the Cost of Reviving a Deck Versus Replacing One?
The cost of refreshing your deck versus overhauling it is also an important factor to consider. In most cases, reviving an old deck that requires minor repairs is always the budget-friendly solution. Reviving, whether refinishing, resurfacing or restoration, costs between $600 and $1,400. The average cost to build a new deck is $7,701.
If you’re on a shoe string budget, a refinish will do, but only if your deck doesn’t have serious underlying issues. Attempting to revive a deck that has significant damage will cost you more in the near future. In fact, a full replacement can be more economical since a new structure lasts longer and gives you the safety, appearance, and functionality you yearn for. Plus, it will increase the monetary value of your property.
Consult a Professional Before Reviving or Replacing Your Deck
Decks help extend your living space from the inside to the outside, giving you more room for entertaining, cooking, and relaxing. But with heavy use, constant exposure to the elements, and inadequate maintenance, a deck can quickly become unsafe and unsightly.
Before deciding whether to restore or teardown your worn deck, it’s best you consult an expert to get conclusive answers. An expert will give you a clear picture of the current state of the deck and help you decide the best way forward.