5 Signs You Need Knoxville Deck Repair (Plus Improvement Ideas!)

A hammer, saw, nails, and measuring tape lying on a worn deck in need of deck repair services.
Is there anything better than a late summer barbecue out on your deck? From socializing with friends and family to just watching the sunset, it's something we look forward to year-round. But it can really put a damper on warm-weather fun when you're in need of deck repair. Knoxville, TN property owners that discover rotting, loose boards, wobbly handrails, and crumbling stairs know those aren't just cosmetic issues; they're hazards for your guests to dodge.

So how do you know if you need Knoxville deck repair services or if it's good to go for another season? There are five signs that indicate your deck is in desperate need of repairs, maintenance, or even replacement. Your Knoxville handyman at Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville can tell you all about them, plus all the improvement tips that you can use to complete your patio or deck project.

1. Wood Rot

While all wood has the potential to decay, deck timbers are particularly vulnerable to wood rot. That's because it is a form of decay caused by wood-eating fungi that require a high moisture content in order to begin growing, and decks are always exposed to the elements with little opportunity to dry out between frequent soaks.

To check for rotted wood, look closely for these signs:

  • The discoloration is where timber appears darker or lighter than the surrounding material or has a white, yellow, or purplish hue
  • Texture changes that cause wood to appear spongy, stringy, or webbed with cracks
  • Timber breaking into cube-shaped chunks (called cubical fracture) or crumbling into "sawdust."
  • In very advanced cases, there may be mushrooms sprouting from wood

Spot a suspicious patch? Grab a screwdriver and press it against the area. If it sinks right in with little or no resistance, you have wood rot, and that timber will need to be replaced before it spreads. After installing new boards, a fresh coat of paint followed by a coat of sealer will help protect new timber from rotting. Your local Knoxville handyman can do a thorough inspection for you to ensure that you haven’t missed any other spots that also call for repair.

2. Wobbly Railings

Handrails are often the only thing standing between us and a nasty fall. Even if your porch is low to the ground, loose railings are a safety issue if someone leans against them and they can't support the weight. Grab ahold of the railing and give it a firm shake. It shouldn't budge an inch, so if it does wobble when you shake it, then it's definitely in need of repair. The issue could be related to rotten wood or rust, or it could just be a matter of re-securing the railing where it's fastened to a wall or other sections.

3. Weak Stairs

Whether you have children and dogs dashing up and down all day long or they've just taken normal wear and tear over time, stairs suffer a lot of abuse. It's easy enough to take a tumble when your stairs are in good condition, so you don't need the added hazard of stairs that are in a state of disrepair. If they dip down or creak when you step on them, or you have noticed signs of dreaded wood rot, you should replace them for safety reasons.

4. Surface is Slimy or Caked with Grime

If your deck, porch, or patio is covered in a layer of slick algae or moss or just caked with years of built-up dirt and grime, it needs a thorough cleaning. It's not just that you could slip and fall on a slick surface; it's also a matter of maintaining the materials underneath, which can be eroded by dirt and harmful bacteria. If it has been a while since your last staining job, all that dirt and grime could potentially harm your material, making Knoxville deck repair service inevitable.

Fortunately, there's a simple, effective solution that can be a part of your regular maintenance schedule: pressure washing services from your local Knoxville handyman. Pressure washing has many benefits that you can take advantage of. We scour away dirt, grime, and even peeling paint or wood stain quickly and efficiently, leaving a clean, perfectly primed surface that can then be refinished.

5. Grading and Drainage Issues

When you're poking around looking for potential problems, it's important to check the underside for damage as well. Take a good look at concrete deck footings for signs of heaving or dropping, and make sure the soil around posts hasn't eroded. If your landscaping has been altered or the ground wasn't properly graded, to begin with, pooling water can wash away soil from posts or crack concrete footings, compromising the whole platform's stability. Any issues with grading and drainage need attention from a professional before they cause worse damage.

Types of Decks

Durability and being insect-proof are the top qualities for Knoxville deck standards, and the less repair it needs, the better. For those reasons, it's important to choose a material that will hold up well and resist the elements. Two of the most popular types found in Knoxville are:

  • Pressure-Treated Wood: This is probably the standard type that you will find in most homes. Pressure-treated means that it contains a preservative that resists moisture and bugs. We do not recommend untreated, fresh lumber of any kind, as it would call for immediate deck repair. Knoxville, TN, is popular for its hardwood, from oak and maple to ash, all of which will need treatment before they lure uninvited bugs into your home.
  • Composite: Despite the looks resembling real wood, a composite deck is actually made of a blend of wood fibers, plastic film, and other additives to create resilience and durability. Composite materials are expensive but could save you money in the long run due to their low-maintenance needs and high resistance to bugs, rot, and mold growth. Unlike plain wood material that lasts up to 20 years, composite decking can last up to 30 years with a minimum requirement for deck repair. Knoxville, TN homeowners who are busy and want to keep maintenance to a minimum, should opt for composite.

Pro Tip: When working on outdoor projects, it's crucial to pay attention to the required materials. During your deck installation or repair, it's important to remember that most types only correspond with certain other materials. Therefore, connectors, fasteners, screws, and anchors have to be compatible with the deck material you choose. You can never go wrong with corrosion-resistant stainless steel.

Ideas for Improving Your Deck

Now you know some signs that call for deck repair projects, but it doesn't have to be all about maintenance and repairs. What about enhancing your outdoor living space overall? The right improvements could tailor it to perfectly suit your comfort and lifestyle, not to mention make it the envy of the entire neighborhood.

Here are a few ideas to inspire big dreams for your Knoxville home:

  • Add a sunroom or screened-in porch to keep bugs out and let fresh breezes in.
  • Mount a television on your exterior wall so you can watch the game while you grill dinner.
  • Install built-in seating around the perimeter of the deck so you don't have to fight over the last available lawn chair.
  • Indulge your green thumb with custom planter boxes or built-in flowerpots.
  • Put in a countertop and cabinets next to the grill for an outdoor kitchen area.
  • Build a gazebo and connect it to the deck with a raised wooden walkway.
  • Design a multi-level deck that serves your entire home or has separate areas for eating, recreation, and relaxation.
  • Install a roll-back canopy so you have the choice of enjoying the sunshine or being made in the shade.

Here Are Some Deck Maintenance Tips to Avoid Repairs:

We know that you’d rather just enjoy your outdoor space as soon as summer hits Knoxville, but if you haven’t used your deck during the winter months, it’s crucial that you inspect it in the early spring for any inconsistencies. Minor repairs are not unusual if you have missed a few maintenance jobs. But think in terms of extending its lifespan by protecting it from pest and weather damage. Furthermore, maintenance will reduce the need for Knoxville deck repair and continue to add curb appeal to your property if you ever think of selling it. Some tips from your decking professionals include:

  • Pressure-wash your pressure-treated wood deck at least once a year and refinish the boards every two to three years.
  • Sand your deck if you notice inconsistencies or splintering and reseal it.
  • Check anchors and fasteners for rust and corrosion. Swap out incompatible ones.
  • Don’t just inspect the surface check underneath.
  • When decorating your porch, don’t lay out rugs or anything that absorbs moisture.

We understand if that was a lot of information to take in. You might be wondering how much extra work it is to take care of exterior parts on our property. But it doesn't have to be this way. Although that was a lot of information for you to take in, we are more than happy to inspect your outdoor space for deck repair. Knoxville, TN homes deserve safety, comfort, and privacy, and we will ensure they get all that since not all decks are created equal, and might not be receiving the care that they need. Count on your local Knoxville handyman to get the job done right.

Call Your Local Professionals at Mr. Handyman Today!

Whether you need a few maintenance tasks taken care of, are looking for a full-depth deck repairing service, or want to have a brand-new deck constructed from the ground up, the team at Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville is up to the task. Our uniformed team has a professional appearance, bringing many years of experience. Each of them has passed their background check and drug screen. Whether you’re in Knoxville or nearby communities, such as Powell, Oak Ridge, or Karns, you can count on our trusted workmanship, solid communication, and excellent customer service to enhance your home for a safer and more comfortable lifestyle.

Give us a call to schedule an inspection or chat with our friendly customer service staff about how we can transform your deck into the ideal outdoor living space. Unless it’s time for a door replacement or a kitchen remodel, our team will be able to assist you as well!