Deck rescue is a quick and often cost effective way to bring back the life to your precious outdoor entertaining area. Triage the structure and evaluate the beauty options.
If you are not comfortable evaluating the deck then call in an expert but use caution as the information may be prejudiced by the primary business i.e. Deck companies may obviously suggest a full replacement! If you are looking to replace the entire deck read this!
look under the hood and inspect the joists, ledger board (next to house) and posts for decay. Focus where any wood comes into contact with the ground or another piece of wood. Decay is often visible (but not always) by the appearance of moisture, mold or insect infestation. Use your finger nail and if you can easily push your finger into the wood or water pushes out, then investigate more.
Be highly vigilant around railing posts and stair stringers as these are high risk for injury if something fails.
Inspect deck boards for breaks or decaying areas. Any deck board crack should be investigated, however short cracks along the grain is natural to the product, cracks across the grain or long cracks along the grain require the board to be replaced.
Paint vs Stain
The answer to that question is somewhat personal taste but also the condition and location of your existing deck. See the chart below for quick reference.
Successful application and durability of Paint or Stain is often more about the preparation than the product itself, if used under right conditions. Take your time to prepare the surface according to specifications and then look again, as it may be your only chance. Read this on how to stain
The market has many thick paint products specifically designed to repair tired wood. These thick “pea soup” type products hide cracks (non-structural) and splinters creating a smooth, often slip resistant finish. Some of the more common are Olympic Rescue it, Hardrock Deck and Dock by Beauti tone, Rest-oleum Restore or Behr Deckover.
Dress up that deck
If paint or stain spell maintenance to you, there are a variety of products to apply over your tired wooden deck to make it look new and give the appearance of being maintenance free!
- PVC, vinyl or composite non-structural boards that can go directly over wooden boards.
- Imitation pavers using recycled plastics and tires.
- Click and lock tiles provide a new surface and lots of creative designs.
- Outdoor carpet- has to be an option!
- Vinyl sheet or role on membrane
- Replace boards only
After inspecting you may find the structure (joists, posts and ledger) in excellent shape but the boards have cupped or in a condition too bad to paint. Replacing all of the deck boards seems like a lot of work however far less than an entire new deck and likely cheaper than many of the other options. New options in pressure treated 5/4 boards include browns and black (grey) over traditional green. You can learn all about the options in decking in our recent article here.