Deck restoration has some advantages namely cost and color choices. It is possible to restore a deck that has been well constructed and is still structurally sound. So we just have to do some investigation.
Yikes, an Ugly Deck
Recently I went to a client’s house and saw their deck. Many years of neglect has discolored the deck and covered it with mold and mildew. A deck in this condition looks ugly and almost hopeless, but let’s look a little deeper.
Check the Underlying Structure
First, we’ll check if the deck structure is sound. The deck shouldn’t shake, sway or wobble as you walk on it. We’ll need to inspect the posts and beams. The posts hold the deck structure vertically off the ground and the beams go between the posts and are what the joists are attach to. The beams should be of ample size and there should be enough posts to do the job.
A well-constructed deck can last for 50 years or more. We can sometimes correct structural issues by removing the planking and beefing up the underlying framing. At this point, it’s probably time to replace the deck boards as well.
Evaluate the Planking
When the decking surface appears really bad at first look, I always like to investigate a little deeper to see if the surface boards can be redeemed. First, I like to do some power washing of the boards to better judge their condition. After that, I can inspect their condition and make an accurate assessment.
I will do the power washing until I can get a good look at the condition of the planks, which can involve 2 or 3 successive attempts. Now with the deck boards clean I can make an evaluation. We can ignore small and non-structural cracks if you think the appearance will meet your expectations as is. A solid stain will somewhat fill the cracks and make them less evident, but not completely.
Sometimes if the decking boards are too close together the board edges can be affected. Water and yard debris can hold moisture against the board until it gets soft and begins to decay. If we determine that the decking boards can be saved, we’ll now have to let them dry out for a couple days before staining.
Deck Restoration Means Saving Money
An advantage of a wood deck is that it can be stained any color, but there are a couple variations in stains. You will ether use a transparent and/or semi-transparent stain to show the wood grain, or a solid color stain that hides the wood’s natural grain. The advantage of the first is beauty but its disadvantage is that the beauty doesn’t last very long.
You will have to strip and reapply semi-transparent stain about every 3 years, and (like us) over time it will lose that original beauty. On the other hand, a solid stain can last for up to 7 years, and definitely the way to go when restoring a deck. A fresh coat of solid stain always looks good!
Sometimes an existing wood deck can be restored as is or by just putting down new planking. Alternatively, composite decking can be used as the lowest maintenance option. If we are taking off the existing decking boards, then we have the opportunity to beef up the underlying structure, if necessary. If deck restoration is possible, like with this one, you will save a bundle of money, and still get to enjoy your deck for many years to come.
You may also want to see my Repairs page for more services we offer.