When to Repair or Replace Your Deck: Expert Guidance from Johnson Lumber

Decks are the star of our outdoor living spaces, offering a perfect setting for relaxing summer evenings or family barbecues. But what happens when your deck starts showing signs of wear and tear? It might be time to repair or replace your deck.

Do you patch it up, or tear it down and start over? As a homeowner, it can be challenging to determine whether your deck needs a simple repair or a complete replacement. 

At Johnson Lumber, with over a century of experience in serving the central Maryland area, we understand this dilemma. A quick fix can keep the good times rolling, after all, while a deck replacement is necessarily a bigger investment of time and money.

To help you make the decision for your next deck, we’ve written this blog to help you identify the issues your deck might be facing and how to decide the best course of action.

Common Problems Afflicting Maryland Decks

Maryland decks face a range of issues, from minor cosmetic damage to more severe structural problems. 

Here are some of the most common:

  • Loose or wobbly railings
  • Cracked or splintered boards
  • Discolored or faded wood
  • Rotting wood
  • Popped nails or screws
  • Mold or mildew growth
  • Uneven or sinking sections
  • Termite damage
  • Water damage, especially near pools
  • Peeling paint or stain
  • Warped boards
  • Railing or stair decay

What Qualifies As A Decking Repair

While a deck replacement is fairly self-explanatory – you’re going to have the whole deck replaced – decking repairs is a bit more nuanced. In essence, they involve fixing specific issues without overhauling the entire structure of your home’s deck.

This might include:

  • Replacing damaged boards
  • Tightening or replacing loose fittings
  • Treating areas affected by mold or mildew
  • Repainting or restaining to refresh the deck’s appearance
  • Addressing minor water damage

When To Go For Decking Repairs

Deciding to repair your deck can be a cost-effective way to extend its life while maintaining safety and aesthetics. 

Here’s a more detailed look at when to opt for repairs:

  • Loose or Wobbly Railings – This often involves tightening existing hardware or replacing faulty parts. Depending on the extent, this can be a quick fix, usually completed within a day.
  • Cracked or Splintered Boards – Individual boards can be replaced, seamlessly integrating with the existing decking. This repair can take a day or two, depending on the number of boards affected.
  • Discolored or Faded Wood – This is usually resolved with cleaning and a fresh coat of stain or paint. The process can take a weekend, factoring in drying time.
  • Minor Mold or Mildew Growth – Cleaning and treating the affected areas with mold inhibitors can effectively address this issue. This process might take a couple of days for thorough treatment.
  • Popped Nails or Screws – This fix involves replacing or re-securing the existing hardware. It’s generally a quick repair, often completed within a few hours.
  • Minor Peeling Paint or Stain – Sanding the affected areas and applying new paint or stain can refresh the look of your deck. Depending on the deck size, this could take a weekend.

When To Go For A Deck Replacement

Sometimes, the extent of damage or wear on a deck warrants a complete replacement. Here’s a closer look at why certain issues might lead to this decision:

  • Rotting Wood – This is a significant structural concern. Rot can spread and compromise the deck’s integrity, making it unsafe. Replacement is often necessary because repairs might not sufficiently address the underlying issues.
  • Uneven or Sinking Sections – This indicates foundational problems. Repairing might not be feasible or cost-effective if the support structure is compromised. A new deck ensures stability and safety.
  • Termite Damage – Termites can severely weaken the wood, often beyond repair. Replacing the deck is essential to eradicate the infestation completely and prevent future occurrences.
  • Severe Water Damage – Extensive water damage can lead to rot, mold, and structural weaknesses. Often, the damage is too widespread to be effectively repaired, necessitating a complete deck replacement.
  • Warped Boards – Warping can affect a large portion of the deck, impacting its usability and appearance. Replacement is often more practical than attempting to repair or replace numerous boards.
  • Railing or Stair Decay – This can pose serious safety risks. If the decay is extensive, it’s a sign of broader issues that might require a full deck replacement to ensure safety and compliance with building codes.

While a full deck replacement can be a significant investment, it also offers an opportunity to redesign and upgrade your outdoor space. Johnson Lumber’s team can guide you through this process, ensuring your new deck is safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.

Best Seasons For Deck Repairs Vs. Deck Replacements

Timing is crucial for deck maintenance and deck repair. Here’s a rule of thumb seasonal guide:

  • Spring – Ideal for repairs to prepare for summer use.
  • Summer – Good for smaller repairs, as the weather is conducive to quick drying and setting.
  • Fall – Perfect for replacements and preparing a new deck for the following year. We share more in detail here.
  • Winter – Replacements can be trickier due to harsh weather, but finding breaks in the snow could be a great opportunity for decking repairs.

Get Expert Help from Johnson Lumber

Deciding between repairing or replacing your deck can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure the extent of the issue facing your deck. If you have questions, our team is here to help. 
We’re well-equipped to assess your deck’s condition and offer the best solution. Contact us today to ensure your deck remains a safe and beautiful part of your home for years to come.

Related Posts