5 Signs You Need Deck Repair

A collection of hand tools, power tools, and safety gear spread across a deck that has recently received deck repairs.

Warm weather in Manassas often has us dreaming of summer days spent enjoying cold drinks and barbecuing in the great outdoors—how about you? We can't wait to relax while the kids play in the backyard and hang out with friends and family in the sunshine. But that dream could come crashing down if there’s an unaddressed need for Manassas deck repair at your home.

If your deck appears to have seen better days, then spending time outdoors will be far from enjoyable. Instead, you'll be worrying about all the deck repairs you need to have your outdoor space looking its best and also be a safe place for little ones to run around and play. A great-looking deck takes work. You may think, "I don't have time for a deck project!" The good news is you don't have to do it yourself!

Instead, why not hire an experienced, local Manassas handyman to fix up your outdoor area? The team of handyman service experts at Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket has decades of combined industry experience and has worked on a wide range of home improvement projects such as deck repair in Manassas, VA, and other nearby communities. When it comes to getting your dream deck looking its best, we

can help!

It can sometimes be tricky to know if your outdoor area even needs deck repair. Rot can hide under planks and boards, and railings might look structurally sound when they are loose. Splinters, exposed nails/screws, and softwood steps can all be dangerous for you and your family. If you see the following warning signs, be sure to call our repair experts as soon as possible.

1. Loose or Deteriorating Railings

Loose railings are serious safety hazards. If your deck is high off the ground, railings are necessary to prevent people from accidentally stumbling or stepping right off the edge while they're not paying attention, but it may not seem like such a big deal if your deck is only raised a couple of feet off the ground. Even when it's a short drop, if someone leans up against a compromised railing expecting it to be able to support their weight and it collapses, they could be seriously hurt. Grab onto your railings and shake them. They shouldn't move at all. If they do, then you need Manassas deck repair services.

Loose, wobbly railings are often caused by problems at the point where a section of railing connects to an exterior wall or to another section. If nails or screws have pulled loose from movement over time, your handyman may be able to take care of Manassas deck repair by refastening them. But if they have come loose because the wood is softened by rot, your railing (or at least the affected section) will likely need to be replaced.

2. Cracked or Splintered Boards

Do you avoid going outside in bare feet because you don't want to risk getting a big, nasty splinter in the bottom of your foot? Weathered, gray, splintery timber is an early warning sign of water damage. The only way to avoid this is regular refinishing and resealing to block out moisture. Decks are constantly exposed to sun, rain, wind, and fluctuating temperatures since they are built outdoors. These elements all take a toll on the structure—even if your structure has been weatherproofed. A few damaged planks are not much to worry about and can be easily swapped out by one of our skilled carpenters during Manassas deck repair services. However, if your structure is considerably damaged, it might be more worthwhile for you to invest in a brand-new one.

You may also notice signs of peeling paint or flaking wood stain. When moisture begins to seep into timber, it swells and pushes on the paint from underneath, causing it to lift and blister, then crack and peel away in strips. Since paint (and sealant that should go over the top of it) offer protection against moisture incursion, it's a cycle of deterioration that ends with serious water damage. Peeling paint is a clear sign that you need Manassas deck repair before the problem gets much worse.

What's the Best Way to Prime a Deck for Refinishing?

If your outdoor structure is covered in peeling paint or solid stain, refinishing is desperately needed to halt the decay process before rot sets in and the entire deck needs to be replaced. Pressure or power washing is by far the most efficient and effective way to go about priming the surface to get it ready for new paint and sealant. Don't waste time sanding until your arms ache when your professional handyman can get the job done far faster and more thoroughly. Pressure washing machines produce pressures that range from about 750 to 3,000 psi (pound-force per square inch). That's strong enough to strip away peeling paint or flaking wood stain, along with dirt, grime, stains, algae growth, and other substances that are too stubborn for typical cleaning methods. Not up to the task of painting or staining and sealing on your own? No problem! Your local handyman can take care of that task for you as well, so just sit back, relax and soak up the Manassas sunshine.

3. Rotting Beams and Posts

Wood rot is a nightmare for many homeowners in Manassas. Even a little can spread and cause serious structural damage—even making your deck collapse. Wood rot is a form of decay caused by microscopic fungi, which is necessary for nature but is quite alarming when found in your home and definitely requires Manassas deck repair.

The fungi that causes wood rot can only begin to grow on timber with a moisture content of 20% or more. Since any timber that is outdoors is constantly exposed to water from rain and snowmelt—sometimes without a chance to dry out before the next soaking—it is very vulnerable to wood rot. Timber that is completely unprotected by sealant or shelter will rot within a few years. On the other hand, wood that remains dry inside can stay in near-perfect condition for over a century, which is why historic homes boast all that beautiful, original woodwork on interior trim.

Contemporary wooden decks are built on support posts on concrete footings. But if your deck is older or a DIY project, the wood might rest directly on the ground. This is one of the ways wood rot spreads because earth moistens the posts. If you notice signs of rot, affected areas need to be replaced right away by a Manassas deck repair professional.

Can Rotten Wood Be Fixed with Deck Repair in Manassas, VA?

Not exactly. The fungi eats away at parts of the structure of the wood (the cellulose or lignin, depending on the variety). Once part of the material is gone, there's no way to restore the lumber to its original condition. That's why wood rot repair is typically wood rot replacement, in which the affected material is removed entirely and replaced with new, pressure-treated lumber that can then be painted or stained and sealed for added moisture protection. However, if you find a couple of small patches of wood rot that are in the earlier stages and haven't had a chance to spread, your handyman may be able to take care of it by scraping the rotted material out and filling the gap with epoxy wood filler, then painting over it, so the repair is invisible.

How Can You Tell if a Property Needs Manassas Deck Repair for Wood Rot?

Wood rot tends to worsen and spread over time, and some varieties can even travel across non-wood surfaces such as masonry to find new patches of timber to attack. That's why it's a perfect example of something that needs to be caught and dealt with as early as possible to make the mitigation process fast and simple. Wondering if there's wood rot on your outdoor wooden surfaces or items? Examine exposed timber closely for these signs:

  • Patches of discoloration that do not match the rest of the material or have a white, yellow, or purplish hue
  • Wood is crumbling or breaking into cube-shaped pieces
  • Patches with a different texture that looks to be spongy, stringy, or webbed with cracks

4. Erosion Around Posts and Footings

Erosion is common for both wooden and concrete deck footings. This is why it's important to inspect footings a few times a year (one time in the spring and one time in the fall) to ensure their stability. While erosion is natural and happens over time as rain washes away at the soil around your posts and footings, it can also happen if grading wasn't done properly during the original installation or if landscaping changes or major weather events have shifted the soil around considerably. If the posts become overly exposed, the structure will become dangerously unstable. The deck posts could also be broken under the ground, causing the whole structure to lean and eventually collapse.

Watch for the below telltale signs and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible:

  • Water pooling around footings
  • The slope of your yard begins to change
  • Posts and footings that were previously underground become exposed

5. Poor Maintenance

Like anything else, without proper maintenance, even the sturdiest custom deck will begin to deteriorate. To keep it looking and functioning its best year after year, hire the pros at Mr. Handyman to take care of it for you. Common deck maintenance procedures that often get neglected include:

  • Checking stairs, railings, joists, planks, and boards for signs of wear
  • Using a hammer to flatten protruding nails
  • Sealing and applying fresh deck stain regularly
  • Sanding and replacing peeling paint with a fresh coat
  • Giving the area a deep clean with pressure washing service

Is there Anything Homeowners Can Do to Avoid Needing Manassas Deck Repair?

Some homeowners don't have the time, ability, or inclination to handle regular deck maintenance for their outdoor living space, and that's okay. You can count on the professional handyman team at Mr. Handyman to take care of Manassas deck repair projects efficiently, including routine maintenance tasks that reduce the need for more costly repairs. But if you're looking for ways to help keep your outdoor structure in great shape between handyman visits, here are a few tips:

  • Trim trees and bushes back, so branches and moisture-laden leaves are at least a few feet away from the structure to avoid excessive water damage.
  • Move items such as patio furniture and flower planters to a new location every so often to avoid uneven wear and trapped moisture.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as they occur and rinse the deck now and then to avoid grime build-up.

Hire the Manassas Deck Repair Experts at Mr. Handyman Today!

If your deck shows any signs of the issues above, or you think it's time to give it a little TLC, call the team of professionals at Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket. Our experts will diligently and carefully make the necessary deck repairs so you can enjoy the sunshine all summer long.

Our team is dedicated to serving the local community and has brought our high-quality workmanship and superior customer service to clients in Manassas and throughout the surrounding area, including in Clifton, Fairfax Station, Westgate, and Woodbridge. We treat each client with the same respect we show to our friends and neighbors and will work hard to ensure a positive experience with our company from start to finish.

To book an appointment or learn more about our full range of services for everything from Manassas deck restoration and fence repair to gutter cleaning and ceiling fan installation, we invite you to give us a call.

An old deck before and after it has received deck repairs and pressure washing service from Mr. Handyman.