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When Should You Replace Your Deck? Here are 6 Warning Signs

So you’re noticing some potential issues with your deck and wondering, when should you replace your deck? 

Maybe it’s getting old and rickety or discoloured. There may be cracks in the wood or perhaps your railings are starting to come a little loose. 

Heck, maybe it’s all of the above. 

Unfortunately, no deck lasts forever. The weather is bound to take its toll over time. 

We know that deck replacement can be quite a process, even if the only aesthetic change is to the type of material you’ve chosen to roll with this time around. 

You may even be wondering if you should repair or replace your deck. 

In this blog, we’re going to go through 6 warning signs that it’s time for a brand new custom deck and some key tips on the best ways to get it installed. 

1. Wood rot and degradation

Wood rot on your deck isn’t too hard to spot but it can be one of the most detrimental factors when it comes to the condition of your deck. Wood rot originates from microbes eating up the fibers in wood that provide its rigidity. 

These microbes spread quickly, and the wood rot will come along with it. If you don’t spot it quickly, it can rapidly eat away at your deck. Once it spreads, chances are you’re going to need an entirely new deck installation.

To spot wood rot, check for darker patches, soft and spongy wood, or cracked wood that crumbles when dry. There are plenty of other signs, so make sure to cover all your bases. 

Of course, if you’ve got a PVC or composite deck, you don’t need to worry about that. So you may want to consider replacing your wood deck with a low-maintenance material.

Read more about the difference between PVC vs composite decking here

2. Loose railings

Though having loose railings might not always mean that you need to entirely replace your deck, it can coincide with other problems that you should be on the lookout for. For one, safety is always key, so making sure all those loose parts are tightened up is important. 

But loose railings can also be a sign of poor handy work or over-exposure to harsh weather conditions, wearing away at the base of your railing. 

Either way, depending on the scale of the problem, a full-on deck replacement might be required. Loose railings can be the difference between a $20 and a $2000 fix so you want to make sure to inspect them properly. 

3. Bad post conditions

If your posts are made of wood, check them for wood rot the same way you would with your deck boards. 

Your posts are what hold up the majority of the weight of your deck, and provide structural integrity. 

If they’re soft or decaying, the stability of your deck could be on its last legs which is a safety hazard for you and your family. Issues with posts can often lead to needing a completely new deck. 
Click here if you need help finding a high-quality deck builder in Mississauga.

If the posts look like they’re rotting away, we highly recommended that you replace your deck as soon as possible and refrain from using it until a professional deck builder can help you replace it. 

If the issue is less serious, like water pooling around the base of the post, speak to a deck builder about how you can divert water away from the base.

4. Rust on your deck

Another effect the weather can have on your deck is the way that it can rust whatever metal parts you may have used. From nails and screws to larger fixtures beneath your deck, replacing or repairing any rusted fittings will increase the longevity of your deck. 

It’s especially important to check up on any rust if your deck is older, around 15-20 years old.

5. Deck is detaching from your home

One of the more obvious indicators of necessary repair to a deck is on its ledger board. The ledger board is the part that connects your deck to your home. 

The deck may start to detach from your house, in which case a big repair may be in order. Many environmental factors can play a role in the separation of the ledger board from your home, so if you live in a region with heavy snowfall, keep an eye on it. 

6. Your deck is getting old  

The older your deck, the more likely it is that all of the issues we discussed earlier will occur. Wear and degradation happen over time. 

A general rule of thumb is to get your deck professionally inspected after about 5-6 years. If you live in a place like Canada with extremely cold temperatures, checking it more frequently is recommended. 

We at Mississauga Decks & Trim offer a 10-year workmanship warranty on all of our decks so you can feel secure knowing that your structure is safe and sound.

Things to consider when replacing your deck

Although it can be more costly, PVC or composite decks tend to last longer than natural wood decks. 

Mississauga Decks and Trim offers low-maintenance materials that come with manufacturer warranties ranging from 25 years to a lifetime. The main benefit is that you don’t have to worry about water, bugs, and other external issues potentially damaging your deck.

If you still want a wood deck, consider heat-treated Ash, or exotic hardwoods like Ipe, Garapa, and Cumara. Ipe especially is known for its durability and can last for over 75 years without rotting.

So when should you replace your deck? When there’s wood rot and degradation, loose railings, bad post conditions, rust on your deck, your deck is detaching from your home, or when your deck is getting old.

Now that you know the 6 warning signs that it’s time for a new deck, you may want to schedule a consultation with an expert deck builder in Mississauga. 
Contact Mississauga Decks & Trim (MDT) today to find out how we can help you either repair or replace your deck!


8 Essential Deck Maintenance Tips for Fall and Winter

Anyone with custom decks in the GTA should consider going through a deck maintenance checklist, especially once the leaves start showing off those beautiful fall colours!

When those pretty leaves start to fall on your deck, the cold sets in and the frosty Canadian winter looms, some of those daylight hours should be spent on prepping and preserving your deck. A deck is a fantastic enhancement to your home but it’s also quite the investment. Ensuring that you can enjoy it for years to come means understanding the importance of deck protection. 

Knowing how to prep your deck for fall varies somewhat depending on what material you selected for your outdoor living space, how you plan to use the space, and the design itself. Below you will find 8 essential deck maintenance tips you should know for fall and winter.

Inspect Your Deck in Great Detail

It’s a good idea to go over your deck inch by inch at this point in the year. There may have been damage incurred during the summer months of heavy use. This can be from summer storms or intense sunny days. So look for wind damage, water damage, and even damage from animals to your deck. Maybe a family of raccoons, or other such creatures, has taken up residence without you even realising. 

Another creature to look out for that can create a world of damage to your deck are termites. Termite damage can cost thousands of dollars and is a leading cause of damage to decks. The easiest way to spot them will be signs of little piles of wood pellets. If you see this, it’s time to get a professional on the scene to assess the damage.

Splintering, cracking and other dangerous degrading of the material should also be attended to immediately for both safety concerns as well as deck maintenance and longevity. 

Check for Small Leaks Which Can Lead to Serious Damage to Your Deck

In winter, sometimes water will freeze in pipes and crevices and cracks that it has gotten into. This can lead to damage to your deck.  If your deck is close to an outdoor faucet, there is a pipe system included in the structure or if there’s a gutter that empties by your deck, this is when you need to worry about this potential issue. If the water freezes, the deck can crack creating an extremely costly repair job. Pipes bursting can also be a source of major damage. 

Give Your Deck Some Space and Trim Your Nearby Vegetation

Trim back overhanging branches and cut back the shrubbery that surrounds the area. Although carefully managed landscaping can be beautiful, runaway vegetation can place pressure against structures, roots can grow too close to the foundation, branches can fall and damage decking elements in winter storms, and so on. An extremely shaded area during wet months can also encourage moss and mould which can shorten the life of your deck.

Clean the Leaves Off of Your Deck

If you have a wooden deck such as a cedar deck, you want to ensure you are cleaning up those fallen wet leaves regularly. That’s because when leaves are in the same spot for an extended period, they start to rot. This can lead to mould growth which will affect the strength of your deck over time. Regularly rake or sweep up the leaves and try not to allow them to become a wet, mulchy mess in the first place. It will also make for a cleaner, more inviting spot to hang out!

Apply a Coat of Weather Protection to Your Cedar Deck

As you head into the wetter months, consider the wide range of water-repellent finishes you can add to your cedar deck to preserve it and prep your deck for fall and winter. This will protect against splitting, cracking or warping which result from moisture and water damage. To waterproof a wooden deck, first, it should be cleaned with a deck cleaning solution. Redwood and cedar decks require a special type of cleaner, so a product designed specifically for these types of wood should be used. A pressure washer can also be used to clean your deck, but if the pressure is too high, it can damage the wood so be mindful. Some of these deck waterproofing sealants even come in beautiful stains allowing you to maintain and beautify your deck in one job! Check out what deck waterproofing looks like here!

Get the Right Furnishing to Use Your Deck as a Quiet Retreat

The days get shorter and there is a nip in the air but maybe you aren’t quite ready to retreat indoors, and lovely sunsets shared on the deck all snuggled up in your favourite cozy sweater and a hot drink in hand can be a wonderful way to enjoy your deck during fall. Make sure however that the furnishings you have outside can manage the shift in weather patterns, so either get furnishings that can last year-round or put out some hardier options for this time of year in your fall prep.

Accessorise for Year-Round Outdoor Living

Now, some people decide that their deck is such a part of their living space that they include add-ons to be able to use it all during the winter months as well, like creating a screened-in section, installing heated elements like panels, floors, and lamps, or weatherproofing an upper deck to continue using the lower level during the wetter seasons. For these installations, of course, looking out for leaking and tears in screens and getting those repaired before the colder months set in is a must. Another option you have is to install a permanent, covered deck or simply consider installing a temporary seasonal covering like an awning. This will ensure deck protection from harsh weather and can then be removed in the spring and summer.

Honestly Assess if It’s Time For a New Deck

Although materials like PVC and composite decking offer amazing warranties and a high-end licensed deck building contractor who knows what they are doing can provide you with a deck that can last for years, not everyone has gone this route. Especially when it comes to wooden decks, even with the recommended maintenance routine, the average lifespan is 10 to 15 years. If you are a true lover of a beautiful wooden deck, consider if an upgrade in the material should also be included in your deck refresher project. Hardwoods, composite decking, and other materials require less deck maintenance and will last longer. So when you do your annual inspection, be honest in your assessment and make sure your deck is not only a welcoming space for you and your loved ones to enjoy but also a safe one. Find out if it’s time to replace your deck here!If you are considering building a new deck or simply want an upgrade or add-on, Mississauga Deck and Trim (MDT) is the best deck builder Mississauga has to offer! MDT specialises in high-end design custom decks in the Greater Toronto area and offers solid lengthy warranties on both their materials and their work. For more information, check out Mississauga Decks and Trim.com.

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