One of the best things about the summer season is finally being able to spend sunny afternoons and warm evenings on the deck. Whether you’re reading in your favourite patio chair or spending time with your loved ones enjoying a drink or some great BBQ, there’s something magical about time spent on the deck. Unfortunately, wood decks have a bad habit of decaying over time and bringing the party to a halt, requiring repairs or replacement so that you can continue enjoying it for many more years.

If your deck is showing signs of aging, it might be time to consider replacing it to redefine your outdoor space and create the ultimate area for relaxation and entertaining guests. While the summer season may be over, that doesn’t mean you can’t get started on planning next year’s big deck renovation, especially now that lumber prices are finally returning to normal. If you’re unsure whether or not your deck needs to be replaced, here are some common signs that your deck needs to be replaced sooner rather than later.

Damaged or rotting deck boards

The first thing you should look for when analyzing the condition of your deck is also the most obvious sign that it’ll need to be replaced – damaged boards. If you notice that the surface of your deck has sustained serious or extensive damage, you should at the very least consider replacing the affected boards as soon as possible.

Damaged boards will feature cracks and splinters, mold growth, visible rot, and other signs of obvious damage. Boards are usually damaged by the presence of wood rot, long term water exposure, mold growth, and damage from wear and tear or weather events. If the damage is affecting a large surface area of your deck, you might not have a choice but to replace it outright.

Wobbly boards and unsteady railings

After you’ve given the surface of your deck a good hard look, take a walk around it to feel how steady it feels under your feet. If you can feel the boards wobbling and moving as you walk, it’s extremely likely that widespread damage has set in, requiring a full replacement. It’s also a good idea to take a look at your deck from a few feet away from it, where you’ll be able to see if it’s sagging or appears to be warped. If it is, the most likely culprit is damage to the substructure of your deck, indicating that the posts or support beams have seen better days. Like a wobbling deck, a sagging deck will require a full replacement as soon as possible, otherwise the chance of further damage and possible injuries to you and your loved ones is greatly increased.

Another less severe sign of damage is loose or unsteady railings. Unsteady railings can be extremely dangerous, making it a serious safety risk for loved ones and guests. While this can be quite an easy fix, unsteady or loose railings often come hand in hand with other serious issues, generally making it easy to go about replacing the deck entirely instead of repairing it each and every season.

Deck posts just aren’t cutting it anymore

Your deck posts are the most important part of your deck – if they’ve become damaged by rot or age, they’re not going to do an adequate job holding up your deck. If your deck posts have begun to lose integrity and are showing signs that they could fail in the near future, it’s critical that you replace your deck immediately. Failure to do so will mean that your deck is sitting on an unstable foundation, greatly increasing the chances of catastrophic failure and injury to anybody who uses the deck.

If your posts are still in good working order but you notice water pooling around them, it’s highly recommended that you consult a deck building professional to help you divert the water away from the posts to avoid future rot and damage.

Choosing the right replacement materials

If you’ve decided to rebuild your deck, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of the different decking materials available. The type of materials you choose will decide how long your new deck lasts, how practical it will be, how much it’ll elevate the look of your backyard, and how budget-friendly it’ll be.

For an inexpensive and classic deck feel, you can choose to use natural wood materials for a durable deck that’ll look beautiful for years to come. Alternatively, pressure-treated lumber is a budget-friendly option that will resist moisture and rot for some time.

For those looking for something a little different, composite decking and plastic decking materials offer a unique look using recycled plastic and wood fibers or just plastic materials, offering a long-lasting, but less affordable, option. Both of these materials are durable, easy to maintain, and don’t require time consuming staining, sealing or sanding.

Finally, some homeowners have turned to aluminum decking materials for the same long-lasting and low-maintenance appeal, but these decks typically carry with them a highly industrial appearance which may not suit your backyard area.

While redoing your deck, think about your windows too! Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s number one provider of high quality window and door products. Our showroom is home to some of the industry’s very best brands, including products by Andersen, Ostaco, BigFoot, Centor, and other leading names in doors and windows. To find out how our talented team of installation experts can help put that finishing touch on your home or cottage with high performing energy efficient windows and doors, get in touch with us today.