Your deck makes up one of the largest hardscaping surfaces in your backyard, and can be used both as a functional space to entertain guests and as an aesthetic feature within your landscaping design. However, like all other exterior surfaces around your home, your deck experiences a massive amount of weather exposure throughout the year, which can have a marked effect on the appearance and structural integrity of its surface. Understanding some of the warning signs associated with a deck that has experienced too much wear and is in need of replacement can help you figure out when you should have a new deck installed, before the old one becomes a serious safety hazard in your yard.
One of the easiest warning signs associated with a deck that is overdue for a replacement is if you notice that certain sections of the structure are shaking significantly. This includes decking boards that are being walked on: shaking can point to structural damage that could lead to a decking collapse or injury if allowed to progress. However, you should also pay attention to shaking steps and railings. While not integral to the structure of your deck, the fact that they are no longer stable can be a serious concern, especially on elevated decks. Any sort of shaking on your deck means that the entire construction is likely old and worn: while replacing individual sections can treat short term symptoms, the rest of your deck is likely aging at a rate where even more places will experience instability in a little while.
While it may seem like a superficial concern at first, you should keep an eye out on the surface of your deck for signs of color fading and weathering. Over time, weather conditions and water exposure can cause the structure of your deck to begin to degrade, making the material more brittle and worn (composite, vinyl, and wood deck boards in particular). This loss of color can point to an increased fragility of your deck, and an increased susceptibility to warping, rotting and physical damage.
Separation from Your Home
Finally, one of the last but most significant warning signs that you may want to consider replacing your deck sooner rather than later is if you notice that the connection to the ledger board, which is screwed into the side of your home, has separate from the deck. This can lead to a general instability of your deck, and can be one of the most significant contributors to a decking collapse, as the lack of support from the attachment to the side of your home places more stress on your deck posts and other supports.
To learn more about hardscaping services, contact a contractor in your area.