How to Check for Decaying Wood in Your Deck
A home deck is a great feature. Like anything on your home, though, your deck should be carefully maintained. If you see problems, it’s time to call MidAtlantic Contracting. We’re a deck builder in Woodbridge VA, and we can get you on track for a new deck. These six areas should be checked for decay to make sure your deck is safe and durable.
Checking the Condition of the Ledger
Decks are partly a free-standing structure, but they are also part of the house. The connection between the two is on a board called the ledger. If there is rot in the ledger or corrosion in the screws that join the deck to the ledger, you have a serious structural problem. Drill a hole into the ledger from below the deck. If your bit doesn’t encounter solid wood, it is time to contact us and talk about repairs.
Every outdoor structure accumulates some organic matter. Leaves, pine cones, and grass clippings build up in the dead ends at corners on your deck. They retain water that slowly fosters decay of the adjacent wood surfaces. If wood in these areas breaks off easily with no splintering, you have a rot problem. That means it’s time to call a deck contractor and let our team at MidAtlantic Contracting start making plans for a repair or replacement.
Bases of Posts
As a deck builder in Woodbridge VA, we’ve seen many different decaying decks. An area that has often been overlooked by the homeowner is the posts. Because they support the entire weight of the deck, the posts are a critical structural member. Check the base of each post, pulling back soil and other obstructions to check the condition. If you see decay reaching even a short distance into the post, give us a call.
Handrails & Railings
Obviously the most important safety feature on a deck is the various railings. Those along the steps and along the overall deck surface are critical. Because people pull and lean on railings, they often become loose over time. This can weaken connections and permit water to penetrate deeply into the structure of the deck. If you have loose railings, call a deck contractor to come and assess the situation and determine whether you need to rebuild.
Steps & Landings
All the exposed decking is subject to the impacts of weather. The areas with the heaviest foot traffic suffer even more because they are subject to scrubbing, bowing, and twisting from the shoes and weight of occupants. The shifting of the wood can open screw holes and lead to rust of fasteners that further weaken the deck. If steps are unsteady or distorted, contact MidAtlantic Contracting, the deck builder in Woodbridge VA.
Most deck damage is visible, but insects cause a different type of problems. They bore into the wood and destroy its inner structure, leaving the outside looking deceptively solid. They do leave some signs that you need to watch for. Inspect your deck for insect entry holes. These can range in size from a pinpoint to a quarter inch or more. Watch for sawdust that the insects haul out. Finally, watch for the insects themselves, including common wood-destroying insects like carpenter ants and powderpost beetles.
Whenever you find signs of rot or other damage on your deck, take action. You need to have MidAtlantic Contracting, your deck builder in Woodbridge VA, come to your home and look at your situation. You might ned a deck replacement! Call us today at 703.492.4663 for a free quote.