Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Maintaining Decks and Porches

It’sVictorian porch   a good time of year to think about fixing your wood porches or decks. Porches and decks get the brunt of Mother Nature, making decks unsightly and potentially even unsafe. There are some quick and inexpensive ways to help maintain and repair your weather worn wood, as well as make it safer and more enjoyable by you, your family, and your guests.

If you are going to embark on some maintenance, start with inspecting what you can see, and more importantly what you don’t. Your deck or porch’s safety depends on the condition of your structure. Look at how the structure is attached to the building. Make sure the fasteners are tight, and the wood is hard against the wall. If you see gaps, loose bolts, missing or failed wood parts, call or ask a professional for their advice. There are too many heartbreaking stories about decks and porches that fail.

Wood requires maintenance, preferably a preservative rather than a sealer. Preventing mold, lichen and other organic material from growing will prevent your wood from premature decay. And reintroducing the oils that help maintain the integrity of the wood will prevent splitting or other creative ways wood for wood to fail. Some preservatives can be applied every couple of years, and can extend the life of the deck by decades.porch railing

If you have a small splinters or grain lifting, you can cut out the errant piece with a chisel and sand it smooth. I do not recommend filling or patching a deck, since they get a lot of wear and may become a bigger hazard.

If you have soft spots, splitting, warping, or just bad boards, you will want to replace it. Take a sample or photograph it and bring it to a local lumber yard to get the right match.

You can consider flipping the board by gently removing the using the other side. Some woods have a proper way of laying the board, especially pressure treated wood. When you install your board, be sure the end grain looks like a sunrise rather than a bowl, since the wrong direction will cause the wood to cup.

Your tools will depend on how the deck is fastened. There are many types of screws so be sure to get a few of the right tip. Be prepared to have a few that don’t budge, so you may want a few flat bars, vice grips, screw extrPorch Columnactor kits, or just go to the ever versatile reciprocating saw. Use a flat bar, wrecking bar, cats paw, or even come from underneath for face nailed decks. There are also other blind fastening systems that may trickier to get the out and back in. Take pictures of what you have or bring a sample when buying the replacement parts.

Wood decks and porches are a great way to enjoy your home and the outdoors. Staying on top of them will make sure they stay safe and look beautiful for a long time.