Should I Restore or Replace My Wooden Deck?
Spring isn’t too far away, so it’s time to start thinking about the home projects you want to work on so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in the summer. During this time of year, people start working on outdoor projects, like gardening and planting flowers, but you may also want to consider structural projects, like deck construction. This is the perfect time to inspect your deck’s safety and appearance to make sure it’s ready for your first gathering of the summer.
Our Teak Master team wants to help you answer the question, “Should I restore or replace my wooden deck?” by providing a few ideas to ponder before committing to either action.
What’s the Difference Between Restoring and Replacing?
Before you consider the other questions about which one you should choose for your deck, you may find it helpful to understand the differences between restoring and replacing. Restoring a deck is more of a focused project because you aren’t removing the entire structure and starting from scratch. Often, individuals choose to restore their deck if there are only a few problem areas, including rotting wood.
To restore the deck, you replace the rotted area with new wood. Removing the rotting materials can help you save the original deck and create less work. In addition to removing the problem wood, restoring a deck can include cleaning and staining it or adding a fresh coat of paint.
If you’re replacing a deck, you’re removing the entire structure and starting over with new materials. This process can take longer than restoring, but it’s necessary if you can’t save the original deck. To avoid replacing your structure in the future, check for issues with the wood frequently. This can help you spot rotting wood and restore it before it spreads.
What Is the Deck’s Condition, and How Old Is It?
The first question to consider is the condition of your deck and the age. Typically, a wooden deck lasts about 10 to 15 years before it needs replacing. Inspecting a few key areas of your deck can help you determine if it needs restoration or replacement. For starters, look at the deck’s surface, including the boards, handrails, and railings. These elements can have the most exposure to sunlight and weather elements, causing some wood damage that needs attention.
Next, inspect the deck posts, the vertical posts holding your deck up. This area can collect moisture and weaken the posts. After that, look at the beams and joists, the horizontal boards supporting the surface boards from underneath. This spot can have significant water damage because the screws joining the wood together can make a path for water. Finally, look at the fascia boards, the wide and thin pieces wrapping around the deck. If you see discoloration here, there’s water damage. If you notice any concern in these main areas, your deck may benefit from restoration or replacement.
What Type of Wood Is the Deck?
It’s possible to build a deck out of a range of materials, including different types of wood. When you’re determining if you should restore or replace your wooden deck, consider what type of wood your deck is. Knowing what type of wood your deck is made of can help you determine other aspects of the project, such as your budget or the best course of action.
Here are some woods you may use to restore or replace a deck:
- Composite: Composite decking is a combination of wood and plastic, which is designed for less maintenance but with the look of genuine wood.
- Timber: Most people use timber wood for their outside structures because it tolerates the elements well while being aesthetically pleasing, but it requires more upkeep, like sanding and sealing.
- Wicker: Wicker is the product of natural materials and creates a rustic, appealing look, but requires upkeep to maintain this vintage appearance.
What Is the Purpose of Your Deck?
Next, consider what you want out of your deck. If you want to change the entire look for an upgraded and expanded area to entertain more guests with backyard grilling, you may want to replace the complete structure. You might even consider replacing your deck if you want a smaller structure or the look of different wood. If you’re happy with the deck size and its current appearance, and it’s in relatively good condition, you can restore it with some fresh paint and other refinishing touches, so you can continue enjoying those backyard sunsets.
What’s Your Budget?
Think about your finances to help you develop a realistic budget. Your budget can help you decide on the materials you need or if you can outsource the work. If you have a large budget and your deck could benefit from extensive work, you can opt to replace it or outsource the job. However, restoring is the way to go if you have a smaller budget with fewer deck issues. This can allow you to fix the problem areas without having to redo the entire structure, and you can get back to lounging on the deck faster.
Is There a Timeline?
Lastly, determine if you have a timeline. An entire deck replacement can be a big undertaking, and you might prolong the task even more if you have a busy professional or personal life. However, if you have an upcoming event you want your deck ready for, like Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, or graduation parties, consider starting the project as early as possible to avoid the stress of a tight deadline. For a shorter timeline, think about restoring your deck because it can take less time, as you’re likely only replacing a few areas.
How Do I Maintain My Deck?
After you’ve restored or replaced your deck, it’s critical to maintain the structure to help improve its longevity and added value to your property and life. Living in sunny California, our decks experience exposure to extreme heat and plenty of sunlight. This sunshine can fade your deck and cause the wood to dry out.
Some best practices to consider for deck maintenance include:
- Cleaning it, such as sweeping and removing debris.
- Avoiding pressure washing the structure.
- Inspecting the boards regularly for rotting pieces or other issues.
- Repairing damages as they happen or as soon as you notice them.
- Using high-quality stain made for decks.
- Applying protective sealant.
Contact us if you have questions about deck restoration or replacement. Our team of experts at Teak Master can help guide you in the right direction and provide valuable resources about the processes.