Do you live in Santa Cruz or the surrounding area and need a deck repair?
As a trained home inspector I am able to quickly identify deficiencies and recommend appropriate repairs to keep you and your family safe and your deck looking great.
Certain deck repairs in the Santa Cruz area are common and simple to repair. It can be tempting replace a worn deck but material and labor costs make replacement an expensive endeavor. Often, decks in our area can simply be repaired and re-finished to look like new. Here are some common deck repairs that can extend the life of your existing deck:
Nail heads popping
As deck boards expand and contract over time, nails can be forced up causing hazards, squeaky boards and movement. It's important to either hammer nail heads down or to replace them with high-quality vinyl-coated deck screws. Nail and screw heads should be flush with deck boards so water cannot pool and cause wood to rot.
Poor application of deck stain is easy to spot. Often times stain will be applied without the proper prep work and will peal or chip within months. It's important to follow the stain manufacture's application instructions when applying stains and sealers. This ensures proper adherence and protection of your investment. Pressure washing a worn deck is a temptation that is difficult to resist. DON'T DO IT! The high pressure water frays the wood fibers and drives moisture deep into the wood creating a poor surface for stains and sealers to adhere to. A better method is to scrape chipping paint/stain, scrub with a stiff-bristle brush and degreaser and finally sand rough areas smooth.
Springy deck boards
Another common issue I see with decks around Santa Cruz is springy deck boards caused by over-spanned joists below. Many years ago it was common practice to build decks with joists on 48-inch centers. This is a large span for 2x6 redwood deck boards and over time the deck will feel springy in spots; like your walking on a basketball court. While this can make one feel uneasy, simply adding joists and blocking below solves this problem and makes a deck much more sturdy.
Rotting deck boards
High-quality redwood is resilient and has a reputation for withstanding weather and not being effected by termites (a huge problem in and around Santa Cruz). However, if proper care isn't taken, consistent exposure to water without proper ventilation or dry time redwood will rot. I have replaced thousands of feet of redwood deck boards in the Santa Cruz mountains that never had the chance to completely dry out because of the wet and shady conditions. In some cases it makes sense to invest in composite decking but typically if proper care is taken redwood decks hold up great over time. If less than 50% of deck boards are rotting, it makes sense to repair the deck rather than replace it. Most importantly, sticking to a schedule of re-finishing the deck will protect it from future problems.
I often see poorly installed and worn railings that could cause major issues. It is common for hardware to loosen over time and simply tightening nuts and bolts often solves this problem. Sometimes reinforcement is required. As a father, child safety is important to me so I always recommend railings be built to modern standards designed to keep children from falling. Railings should be an appropriate height, provide a good grip and prevent anything 4-inches or larger from going through balusters.
You can Get 50+ Years Out of Your Deck!
I have seen well-built, well-maintained redwood decks that have been around a lot longer than I have that still look fantastic. Many decks in the Santa Cruz area were built with clear heart redwood which we no longer harvest. If you commit to inspecting your deck annually, making appropriate repairs and refinishing it every couple of years you can enjoy a deck for decades.
Let's Repair That Deck!
So, if you have a deck in Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Ben Lomond or Felton that needs some TLC, call me at (831) 471-7875. Let’s take the steps to extend the life of that deck and save you money!