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Deck Repairs Houston Guide

Looking for deck repairs in Houston? Our guide covers common issues like cracked boards, rotting posts, and more. Get your deck ready for summer!

DECK-REPAIRS-HOUSTON


Deck repairs in Houston are common since the leading material is wood, which is more prone to splitting, warping, cracking, and a host of other issues that lead to failure over time. But if you notice rotting, missing boards, cracks, or gaps in your deck, take a deep breath because our deck builders in Houston can help save you the expenses of having to replace the structure by making a few affordable deck repairs that will have you ready just in time for summer pool parties and cookouts. In this article, we will share with you some of the problems you may be facing and discuss the necessary deck repairs Houston homeowners need to do to make it structurally sound and safe for the whole family.


Don’t have time to read this article- call us for a free estimate for deck repairs in Houston at (281) 545-7740.


15 Deck Repairs for Houston Homeowners


deck repairs houston


1. CRACKED OR SPLIT DECK BOARDS


Our subtropical climate is harsh on wooden structures, from fences and decking to gazebos and pergolas. If you’ve lived in Harris or Fort Bend county, we don’t need to tell you the amount of rain we annually receive - 50 inches! Since this is the most significant cause of deck repairs in Houston, let us take a moment to give you a brief lesson on wood rot.

Wood rot is caused by moisture- this doesn’t just mean rain, as it can quickly come from your sprinkler heads facing the wrong direction, lack of gutter cleaning, swimming pools, etc. Once the wood becomes damp enough to have a 20-30% moisture content, it’s unable, even during our dog days of summer, to dry out the lumber, creating a breeding ground for fungus to thrive. What generally ends up happening is the boards begin to split, crack, or warp.

Another issue besides the boards is your post, fence, and decking are only as solid and secure as the post that supports the weight. Many deck builders in Houston will take the cost-effective route. Rather than anchoring the post into sufficient concrete, they will stabilize it in soil or sand or use nontreated timber rather than pressure-treated lumber. Even if you have a cedar deck built, Houston's preferred choice is to use pressure-treated lumber for the post, as this will prevent moisture from seeping into the boards and post.

The best way to remove deck and fence repairs from rot is to apply stain and seal every three to five years. The worst part is this doesn’t take long to occur; it can happen in as little as seven to ten days. While the deck may remain structurally sound, walking on with bare feet isn't pleasant. The good news is that deck repairs are ten times more affordable than replacing your deck due to procrastination.


To make, we will replace the boards and then use a stain and seal to make your deck look as good as new for years of fun to come. Over time, especially when a deck is not sealed, the boards can begin to split, crack, warp, or decay every three to five years. This doesn’t always mean your deck is unsafe, but what about your bare feet? The good news is this is not a costly deck repair; we will replace the boards and then use a stain and seal to make your deck look as good as new for years of fun.


2. Rotted Deck Post


Suppose the ground and the deck builder you hired did not use concrete but placed the post directly into the ground. In that case, water can seep into the base, causing the wood to decay because when wood becomes damp enough to have 20% moisture content, it is unable, even in our dog days of summer, to dry out, and this is an ideal condition for fungus to grow. Once the fungus grows, Wood rot is caused by the wood retaining the moisture until it reaches a specific level, and then the fungus takes root.


When timber becomes damp enough to have 20% or more moisture content and can't dry out quickly or is repeatedly dampened, it creates the ideal conditions for wood-eating fungi.


When it comes to deck building, one of the rules is it’s only as safe and secure as the post that holds it in place; this same rule also applies to fences.


3. ROTTEN DECK POSTS AND BOARDS

Wood rot results from wood that is above a certain moisture threshold. This moisture allows a fungus to grow and eventually destroy the wood.


Wood decks need protection from moisture. Regularly applying a stain and sealant helps prevent moisture infiltration. When this protection fails after repeated exposure to the elements, water may accumulate in the wood, thereby allowing the fungus to form and wood rot to take place.


Moisture can also come from the ground. Deck posts that aren’t correctly installed may be placed directly in the background. When this happens, water can easily penetrate the wood and allow it to rot. In most cases, posts should be installed on concrete deck footings to prevent this moisture problem.


If you find rotten wood on your deck, get it replaced before additional damage occurs due to collapse.


4. WARPED DECK BOARDS

Another issue with deck boards is warping. Warping is the result of moisture. When a portion of the board dries at a faster rate than another portion, warping will occur. Correcting these warped boards may be possible without needing to replace them, but replacement may be the best option if the panels are warped too much.


5. LOOSE NAILS, SCREWS AND BOLTS

Deck boards, posts, supports, rails, and other parts are connected using various nails, screws, and bolts. When these fail, decks can lose structural integrity.


Of the three types of hardware, nails are most likely to fail. Constant exposure to rain makes it common for nails to rust and for nail heads to break off the nails. You’ll end up with loose boards and other parts when the authorities come off.


Screwing down deck boards and other parts of a deck is ideal, although building codes may require nails for certain parts of a job.


Bolts are used for load-bearing structural connections. Decks built incorrectly may lack bolts and should be added immediately to avoid structural damage, deck collapses, and severe injury.


If you are experiencing loose parts on your deck, get your deck checked out by a professional as soon as possible to avoid injury.


6. ROTTEN DECK POSTS AND BOARDS

Wood rot results from wood that is above a certain moisture threshold. This moisture allows a fungus to grow and eventually destroy the wood.


Wood decks need protection from moisture. Regularly applying a stain and sealant helps prevent moisture infiltration. When this protection fails after repeated exposure to the elements, water may accumulate in the wood, thereby allowing the fungus to form and wood rot to take place.


Moisture can also come from the ground. Deck posts that aren’t correctly installed may be placed directly in the ground. When this happens, water can easily penetrate the wood and allow it to rot. In most cases, posts should be installed on concrete deck footings to prevent this moisture problem.


If you find rotten wood on your deck, get it replaced before additional damage occurs due to collapse.



7. DISCOLORATION AND FADING


Staining and sealing your deck can prevent premature deterioration

When decks are first installed, a protective stain, sealant, or paint is usually applied after an initial drying period. This protection can last two to three years, after which time the deck must be re-stained and sealed. This is normal and necessary to maintain the “health” of your deck.


Decks will often begin to look gray or discolored as the stain color fades. Fortunately, this fading is easily remedied with a new application of stain.


Staining and sealing are simple DIY projects, but a professional can also handle this.


Keeping your deck sealed against weather and sun is your best bet for extending the life of your deck. Deck stain is much cheaper than most deck repair projects.


8. UNSTABLE RAILINGS AND STAIRS

When you begin to detect wobbling or sponginess in your deck’s railings or stairs, it’s time to get serious about determining the cause and making repairs.


Several forces may cause portions of your deck to wobble and move, from wood rot to termite infestation and damage to rusted nails, screws, and bolts, to incorrect construction and installation.


Determining the cause and the appropriate corrective measure is serious business; you’ll want to look professionally at your deck. Not correcting this problem is risky and could endanger anyone on your deck.


9. PEST INFESTATION AND DAMAGE

As mentioned above, termites may damage a deck to make it dangerous. Other pests affecting a deck include carpenter bees, woodpeckers, and birds.


Correcting these infestations and resultant damage will vary based on how long it has been happening and the extent of the damage. Preventing further damage may involve pest treatment from an appropriate pest control or other provider.


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10. FOOTINGS MOVING OR DAMAGED

Footings are concrete pads that are installed under the deck. Most decks will have several footings, one for each post that supports the deck.


For each footing, a hole is dug, and concrete is poured into the hole and allowed to cure. The depth of the hole will vary depending on local building codes and temperatures.


The frost line is the depth above which moisture in the soil may freeze. Soil above this line is subject to movement and heaving upward. If footers are not buried below this frost line, they can move up and down when freezing and warming occur, thus damaging a deck. When water freezes, it expands and tends to make the ground rise. Think about how ice floats. Frozen water below ground wants to behave like ice floating in a drink.


The depth of the frost line is much deeper in colder regions, and footers must be installed below this depth. If they are installed incorrectly, heaving can occur. Reinstalling footings at the proper depth will be necessary to stop this movement.


In most cases, deck posts should be placed on top of concrete footings. These footings are usually very stable, but several factors can cause feet to move or deteriorate, making the deck post and the entire deck unstable.


Over time, under the stress of temperature variations, water infiltration, and other causes, footings may crack and crumble. Replacing them with new footings that meet building codes and weather requirements will be necessary. Temporary deck bracing is usually required until the existing posts can be returned to the new footings. It is probably a job best left to professional deck contractors.


11. EROSION AROUND FOOTINGS/POSTS

Erosion doesn’t directly or immediately damage a deck. However, if left untreated, it can cause irreparable and possibly total damage to a deck. Decks depend on stable posts. When the soil around the footings that support those posts is disturbed due to drainage issues, that can lead to posts moving laterally, sinking or being knocked out of place, and, ultimately, collapse of a deck.


Correcting erosion problems will likely require re-routing drain water from gutters and downspouts from the deck.


12. SINKING

A sinking deck may result from apparent, visible erosion around footings. It may also be the result of less obvious, invisible factors. If the ground below a balcony was not appropriately compacted before construction, it can subside or sink. Correcting a sinking deck may require soil compaction and new footings installed at a lower depth. Helical piers that reach down to a lower level where the soil is compacted might also be employed.


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13. SAGGING

If you have sagging areas on your deck, take steps immediately to get it checked and corrected. Sagging often indicates footings, posts, or joists that are compromised in some manner, meaning the structural integrity of the entire deck may be at risk.


Inspect the entire deck professionally to ascertain the cause, then take steps to mitigate the problem as soon as possible.


14. MOLD, ALGAE


Algae and mold make a deck look bad and can damage the wood

Mold is a fungus that can grow on terraces when conditions are right. Mold spores can easily blow onto a deck, and mold can begin to grow when moisture, the right temperature, and a food source are present. It appears as a black or dark green film.


Algae is a green, sometimes slimy, film that can grow on a deck.


Both algae and mold are unsightly and can damage your wood deck. And algae can be dangerously slippery. Removing both is important for the look and longevity of your deck.


Removing mold and algae will likely require a chemical treatment. A power washer can worsen the problem by driving decay deeper into the wood, where it can continue to grow. Chemically treating the problem is your best option. A preventative deck treatment will prevent mold or algae from returning once you remove it.


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15. FALLING LIMBS AND TREES


Trees occasionally shed limbs as they age or die due to ice, snow overload, or high winds. Larger limbs can sometimes inflict damage if they fall on a deck. Sometimes, an entire tree may come down and do significant damage or even remove a complete deck. In either case, you may want a professional to check the structure's integrity to ensure the deck is safe. Limbs easily damage rails and may require replacement. Most important is the underlying support structure. Make sure joists and posts are in good condition.


CONCLUSION

A well-built deck can easily last twenty to thirty years or more. Regularly applying sealants to the deck surface can extend the life by many more years. Deck repairs won’t be nearly as frequent if you can do a bit of deck sealing every couple of years.


At least once per year, carefully examine your deck for water damage, wood rot, splintered wood, broken boards, loose and wobbly boards and stairs, and any other signs of problems directly on the deck itself. Also, verify the integrity of the footings, ensuring they are intact and stable.


If your carpentry skills are reasonable, you may want to take on minor deck repairs yourself. However, major deck restoration or deck replacement is usually best left to a reputable deck contractor who will follow all building codes and local permitting requirements. There are numerous safety issues during construction and afterward when a deck is being used. Make sure construction is done correctly.


FREE DECK REPAIR QUOTE IN HOUSTON


Emerson Home Enhancements will help you with your deck repair needs in Houston, Katy, or the surrounding areas. We can assess the problems with your deck and recommend deck repairs or help you replace your deck if necessary. If you want to add a new deck to your home, we’d love to help you.

Contact us now to discuss your deck repair or deck installation needs.


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