Decks get a lot of use all throughout the year. Even as the weather continues to cool, you’ll be able to use your deck regularly, which is why you have to keep it structurally stable at all times. Regular maintenance will help you avoid more serious problems down the road, but you’ll have to know how to detect problems when they arise to keep them from growing. Here are some defects your decking may have and what you can do to resolve them.
When your deck is attached to your house, it will be supported with the help of a ledger. A ledger is a long and horizontal board that is pressure-treated. The end of each one of your floor joists gets fastened to your ledger. This is often done by using a metal hanger. Problems arise when the ledger either doesn’t get fastened to your house as it should, or it has significantly decayed.
If you don’t want your ledger to rot because of water, you’ll need a continuous length of metal flashing that goes along it. Your flashing has to extend behind the siding of your home and then overlap your ledger’s top edge. Also, make sure it gets fastened tightly along the entire length of your house. If you don’t currently have flashing, you’ll have to get one installed.
For elevated decks, vertical posts are often what support them. 4×4 posts used to be the ones that were used most often, but now people are shifting to 6×6 because they don’t bend, warp, split, or twist as easily.
You’ll want to give a thorough inspection to your posts to make sure that they are securely attached to your deck’s concrete pier, as well as the deck frame. See if the base of your posts show any signs of water damage. You can check by using an awl. You’ll know there’s rotting if the wood is soft or if your awl sinks into your wood. Posts that are rotting have to get replaced as soon as possible.
Unless your deck is incredibly small, it will have horizontal beams that go on top of your support posts. The beams are in place to help support your floor joints, meaning the beams are one of the most critical elements for keeping your decking structurally sound.
See if your beams have any water damage or cracks in them. Check that your beams are correctly fastened to your posts’ tops. Ensure that your beams aren’t sagging. If you see sagging, you’ll need more supports installed. If you have beams that are made from untreated lumber, those beams have to be one foot off the ground at a minimum.
Contact Albaugh & Sons
Since 2003, Albaugh & Sons, LLC, has been dedicated to meeting the fencing, decking, and home remodeling needs of homeowners throughout the greater Frederick area. All of our team members are experienced, well-trained, and committed to exceeding the expectations of every customer.