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Before and After Photo of Deck Repair and Staining Service

Deck Repair in Fairfield County, CT: 5 Signs of Damage & Maintenance Tips

When warm weather arrives, your deck becomes your primary entertaining space. From summer barbecues to socializing with friends and family, it's the perfect place to relax and soak up the sunshine. But when regular maintenance has been neglected and deck repair is needed, all that outdoor fun comes grinding to a halt.

Issues such as rotting boards and wobbly handrails aren't just unsightly, they're dangerous hazards for your guests to navigate around. Your porch might be in decent condition now, but routine maintenance helps avoid repairs and replacement in the future. This guide describes five warning signs that your outdoor space needs repairs from the professionals at Mr. Handyman, and provides some basic maintenance tips.

How Do I Know If I Need Deck Repair?

We all know what a deck looks like when it could be knocked down by a stiff breeze, but there are many warning signs of damage that come before that point. If you know what they are, you can get professional repairs done before it's too late and the structure needs to be replaced.

The team of experts at Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County have performed numerous common deck repairs (and a few uncommon ones as well). This experience gives us insight into the five typical signs that your deck or porch needs repairs, and practical maintenance tips homeowners should be aware of.

1. Rotten or Splintered Boards

Do you avoid stepping on your outdoor surface in bare feet? If you're worried about splinters, a good sanding and a coat of sealer may do the trick. But if you're dealing with wood rot or warped deck boards, they will need to be replaced.

Porches and decks are particularly susceptible to water damage because they're exposed to the elements. That includes wood rot, a form of decay caused by wood-eating fungi that love timber with a high moisture content. If you find an area where the timber is softened, discolored, or appears spongy, grab a screwdriver and press it against the suspicious patch. If it sinks right in with little or no resistance, that's wood rot.

2. Wobbly Railings and Weak Stairs

A railing that can't bear the weight of someone who leans against it could cause a nasty fall, and stairs that creak or dip when you step on them are just as dangerous. Grab hold of your railings and give them a good shake. They shouldn't move at all. If they do, it could be an issue with loose nails or wood rot—especially where sections of railing are joined together.

Stairs take a lot of abuse from kids and dogs rocketing up and down them, not to mention normal wear and tear. If your stairs move or make noise when used, they need attention too.

3. Surface is Slimy or Caked with Grime

If you have slippery surfaces coated in a layer of algae or a crust of accumulated grime, it's more than just a cosmetic issue. It's an unsafe situation, as someone could slip and fall. Also, it's causing damage to your deck by eroding planks and boards and leaving them vulnerable to moisture damage. Fortunately, there's an efficient, effective solution: Mr. Handyman's pressure washing services.

4. Paint or Stain is Peeling

Speaking of pressure washing, did you know it's the best surface preparation method when your structure needs to be painted? It not only strips-off dirt and grime, but can also remove loose paint and wood stain far more easily than sanding. This leaves you with a clean, smooth surface to work on. You or your handyman can then apply a fresh coat of paint or deck stain, followed by covering the deck with sealant to make it water repellent.

5. Grading and Drainage Issues

When you're looking for potential problems with your deck or porch, it's important to check the underside for damage as well. Over time, erosion can create grading and drainage issues that cause concrete deck footings to heave or sink. It can also wear away the soil around the posts.

If you notice that the lower parts of the posts have been exposed, they need to be reburied. Any drainage problems need professional repairs right away to prevent further structural damage.

How Can I Maintain My Deck?

Now you know the warning signs that your deck or porch is in trouble, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent these problems. By far, the best way to ensure your structure remains safe season after season is to set up regular maintenance services with the pros at Mr. Handyman.

However, there are some steps you can take that will drastically cut down the damage your deck or porch suffers throughout the year. Here are a few maintenance tips to keep your structure looking its best:

Semi-Annual Check

Twice per year, when tackling your fall and spring to-do list, head outside and give your structure a thorough check—looking for the warning signs listed above. Don't neglect hard-to-reach areas like footings and posts that are critical to stability.

Switch it Up

Move items like flower planters, furniture, and play equipment around every so often to avoid discoloration and erosion.

Avoid Rugs

Keep mats and rugs off your outdoor surfaces, as they will attract water and can accelerate damage such as wood rot. If you can't do without them, plastic is a better choice than natural fibers.

Give it Space

Trim nearby bushes and trees so branches are at least one-foot away, as leaves will collect moisture and can encourage problems like moss, mildew, and wood rot.

Mr. Handyman is Your Fairfield County, CT Deck Repair Professional!

Did you leave maintenance untended for too long, need repairs, or would like a brand-new deck built from the ground up? The team at Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County has the skill and expertise to get the job done right the first time!

Whether you need a deck repair expert in New Canaan, Westport, or anywhere else in Fairfield County, call on Mr. Handyman. Give us a call today at 866-550-1710 or request service online to find out why we're considered Fairfield County's top choice for handyman services!