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Is Replacing Your Old Deck A Good Investment?

Your backyard deck has served your family well for many years now, but lately you’ve been questioning its strength, safety and future durability.deck with table and chairs

How Do I Tell If My Old Deck Needs To Be Replaced?

As you start sweeping off newly fallen Autumn debris from your current deck, it may be showing signs of wear and tear. Over time, decks can deteriorate due to exposure to the elements, termites, or simply old age.

old deck wood

It's essential to recognize when your deck is nearing the end of its lifespan to ensure your safety and the longevity of your outdoor space. The deck replacement and redecking experts at Archadeck of Birmingham share this advice on how to tell if your old deck needs to be replaced, including signs of deterioration and the steps to take in assessing its condition.

Why Should I Update My Deck?

One of the first factors to consider when determining if your old deck needs replacing is its age. The typical lifespan of a well-maintained wooden deck is around 10-15 years. However, the longevity of your deck can vary based on the type of wood, the climate in your area, and the level of maintenance it has received. If your deck is approaching or has exceeded this average lifespan, it's time to be extra vigilant in assessing its condition.

Inspect The Deck Structure: A sturdy and safe deck begins with a sound structure. Start your assessment by thoroughly inspecting the key structural elements of your deck.

• Support Posts and Beams: Check for signs of rot, termite damage, or structural cracks in the vertical support posts and horizontal beams. Any significant issues here can compromise the deck's integrity and should be addressed promptly.

Deck before Archadeck replaced with new deck:

deck on support beams


after deck was replaced

• Joists and Decking Boards: Look for signs of rot, decay, or severe warping in the joists and decking boards. Damaged or weakened joists can create an uneven surface and safety hazards.

Deck before Archadeck replaced with new deck:

Deck before Archadeck replaced with new deck


deck after being redone

• Fasteners and Connectors: Examine the screws, nails, and connectors used in the deck's construction. If you notice rust, corrosion, or loose fasteners, this may weaken the deck's structure.

Identify Signs Of Decay: Wooden decks are particularly susceptible to decay, especially if not properly maintained. Decay can occur due to moisture infiltration and fungal growth. Signs of decay include:

• Soft, Spongy Wood: Press your finger or a screwdriver into the wood. If it easily sinks into the surface or feels spongy, it's a sign of decay.

• Visible Rot: Look for areas where the wood is visibly rotting, discolored, or crumbling. This is a clear indication that the wood has deteriorated significantly.

Deck before Archadeck replaced with new deck:

Deck before Archadeck replaced with new deck:


new deck upgrade

• Fungus or Mold: Excessive fungal growth on the wood is a strong sign of decay. This may include dark spots or a musty odor.

Check For Insect Infestation: Termites and other wood-boring insects can wreak havoc on a deck's structural integrity. Signs of insect infestation include:

• Small Holes or Bore Dust: Tiny holes in the wood's surface or fine sawdust around the deck may indicate termite activity.

• Hollow Sounding Wood: Tap various areas of the deck lightly with a hammer. If the wood sounds hollow, it might be due to termite damage.

• Visibly Damaged Wood: Look for tunnels, galleries, or chewed wood, which are clear signs of insect infestation.

Assess Water Damage: Moisture is one of the primary enemies of wooden decks. It can lead to rot, warping, and structural instability. Signs of water damage include:

• Puddles or Standing Water: If your deck consistently holds water in certain areas, it can cause rot and weaken the structure over time.

• Wood Splitting or Cracking: Excessive exposure to moisture can cause the wood to split, crack, or swell.

• Stains or Discoloration: Water stains, discoloration, or mold growth on the wood's surface are all indicative of water damage.

Evaluate Safety Hazards: Safety should be a top priority when determining whether your old deck needs replacing. Signs of safety hazards on a deck include:

• Loose or Missing Handrails: If the handrails are wobbly, loose, or missing altogether, it poses a significant safety risk.

• Uneven or Sloping Surface: A deck with an uneven surface can lead to tripping hazards and accidents.

• Warped or Split Decking Boards: Walking on uneven or warped decking boards can be dangerous, particularly when they are likely to break under pressure.

Consider Your Deck Appearance And Aesthetics: While aesthetics might not be the primary concern, they can still play a role in your decision to replace a deck. If your deck's appearance has deteriorated significantly, it can affect your overall enjoyment of your outdoor space. Signs of aesthetic issues include:

• Fading Color: If the wood's color has faded significantly or unevenly, it may be time for a makeover.

• Surface Stains: Stubborn stains that won't come out with regular cleaning can make your deck look worn and neglected.

• Splinters and Rough Surfaces: Splinters, rough surfaces, and protruding nails can make the deck uncomfortable to walk on.

Is Upgrading Your Deck A Good Investment?

Our best advice is to contact Archadeck to help determine the longevity and safety of your old deck. In many cases, assessing the condition of your old deck can be challenging for homeowners, especially if you're not well-versed in construction and woodwork. It's highly advisable to call your Birmingham professional deck builder at (205) 576-5780 who can provide an expert evaluation and help you make an informed decision.

deck with tables and chairs

Your deck is an essential part of your outdoor living space, and its safety and structural integrity are paramount. Understanding the signs of deterioration and knowing when your old deck needs to be replaced is crucial for your well-being and the longevity of your investment.

By carefully inspecting the deck's structure, identifying signs of decay, water damage, insect infestation, and safety hazards, you can make an informed decision about whether it's time for a replacement or redecking will suffice. Remember, regular maintenance and prompt action are key to extending the life of your deck and enjoying outdoor living for years to come.

Connect With Your Birmingham Deck Experts Right Here, Right Now

Archadeck of Birmingham is your choice local deck, porch, screened porch and outdoor room builder … and more! We are backed by the strength of an international design-build firm, specializing in outdoor spaces since 1980. If you are ready to discuss your new deck replacement or deck upgrade project, call us at (205) 576-5780 – or click right here and fill out this short form for a complimentary deck evaluation design consultation.

Derek & Carissa Crews, owners Archadeck of Birmingham.