Harmony Home Improvement

When Should You Repair or Replace Your Deck?

If you have a home with a deck, then you know how important it is to have it regularly maintained to keep it in its best form. However, if your deck is old and a bit too much for maintenance, you may be considering tearing it all down and installing a new one. But you don’t actually have to start from scratch; there’s a good chance that the structural parts are still in good condition.

If checked properly with a reputable contractor for decking and residential roofing services, you’ll probably just need to remodel it with new decking, rails and stairs, so you won’t need to spend for a complete rebuild. Here’s what we’ll check when you hire our services.

The Foundation

We’ll first examine your posts and other framing members to see whether they’re made of treated lumber. Treated wood, the material used to frame most decks, will last for decades, so it should have a familiar green hue. If we find any markings that say “.40 treated” or a CCA label, then that indicates that the wood has been preserved. If we can’t find any indications due to reasons such as the wood being badly stained, we’ll likely cut a thin sliver off the end of one of your deck’s framing with a circular saw. This is so we’ll check at the fresh end to see if it has the green tint of preservatives around the edges of the cut.

Whether your deck framing is treated or not, if a screwdriver penetrates into the wood as if it’s punky and soft, then this indicates rot, which means it’s best to start your deck from scratch. Even if we find that your deck is framed with cedar or redwood, neither will last nearly as long as other low-maintenance deck improvements. This is why we recommend reframing it with treated wood instead.

The Smaller Details

As professional deck contractors doing a regular inspection, we should find at least one 3/8-in. lag screw or bolt into the ledger between each pair of joists for a solid connection, but depending on the size of the deck, we’ll have to find even more to support its design. This also means looking for joist hangers on each joist with all of the nail holes filled with galvanized joist hanger nails.

If some joist hangers are missing, we can easily replace them. They’re not necessary on the ends of joists that rest on a beam, even if they project over the edge. We’ll also look for flashing over the ledger that attaches to the house, which should extend behind the siding and across the top. There should also be flashing behind the deck ledger at the bottom and over the siding. We’ll replace it if it’s missing.

Don’t Forget to Check Its Structural Integrity

You can do this either with a professional or by yourself. Just make a drawing of your deck and list the spans and sizes of the joists and beams. You can then bring it to the building department in your city hall so that an inspector will check whether the framing sizes and spans are adequate. Apply for a deck building permit afterward and before starting your project, ask the inspector for an on-site opinion so they can confirm the structural integrity of your deck.

When it comes to installing replacement windows and repairing old decks, only hire Harmony Home Improvement. Call us at (860) 645-8899, or you can contact us through our convenient online form. We serve customers in New Haven and surrounding CT areas.


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