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thapranksta 10-08-2011 10:07 AM

New to Forum...Can my deck be salvaged?

This is my first post on the forum. I moved into a very nice home originally purchased in 2008 and neglected a nice bit by the previous owner. To sum it up, nothing at the home was really properly maintained. The original owner had a dog and CAT....that might give you an idea of some of the main issues we are facing. :rolleyes:

Anyway, my first issue I've decided to inquire about is the deck outside. It looks pretty weathered in the 3 year span of non-maintenance. Structurally it is holding up and not feeling like it will collapse or anything drastic like that but there are rather large cracks in some of the posts. There are areas that look greenish and look mildewed as well but these are not large areas.

I want to revitalize this deck if it can be salvaged and possibly add on to it myself or hire a contractor in the future to do the work. I am very much a DIY'er but I also don't have much construction experience.

I will post pictures up ASAP that might depict the damage that's been done.

My little deck

Post with Cracks

A few more images will be available when a moderator approves my next post.

thapranksta 10-08-2011 10:26 AM

More pictures of deck post

Mold? Mildew?

nealtw 10-08-2011 11:18 AM

Ugly is the biggist problem with that post. Can't tell if it goes into the ground, but if it does I would cut it off just below the joists and put in a new one. If you have to do more than one you would want to us some kind of joiner from old to new to maintain strength. For the stains and you might just need pressure washing and stain.

nealtw 10-08-2011 11:24 AM

Just got the last 2 pictures, I don't see anything to be concerned with. Some twisting, bending and checking is to be expected, as it is wood.

BridgeMan 10-08-2011 01:23 PM

Cosmetics aside, I think it wouldn't hurt to snoop around underneath, to see the condition of all support members. Poke a bit with an ice pick, and look for any indication of things not being sound. Especially if the posts go directly into the ground instead of being supported by concrete piers. Look at the ledger board attachments, and the joist hangers as well--not unusual to find loose or missing nails or bolts. I recall a poorly-constructed deck at a $600,000 new home I inspected a few years ago in Colorado--ledger board was 20' long, and had just 3 bolts holding it to the house. Joists were 2 x 8s, fastened to the house with 2 x 4 joist hangers. And very few of the support posts were centered on the piers--the worst was actually cantilevered off the edge of concrete more than an inch.

In one picture, there are signs of corrosion of the fasteners used to toe-nail the flat handrail member to the post, indicating untreated nails were used. You may want to add some supplemental galvanized fasteners to what's already there, and reset any loose nails or screws. Deck plank fasteners in treated wood should always be galvanized or stainless.

Should you decide to not replace any split posts, I'd recommend using a good exterior wood filler to close up all of the gaps, and then consider installing post caps on the tops after staining everything. Most big box stores sell some nice-looking ones, and they'll slow down water infiltration into the post ends. Oh, and one picture shows a downspout that could use an extension, to direct water away from the basement walls--the short diverter in place isn't nearly long enough.

EZHangDoor 10-09-2011 07:42 PM

Pressure wash and seal it. The checking and cracking is quite normal. Not pretty but normal. Maybe you want to check into putting some post covers on the posts.

thapranksta 10-10-2011 09:05 AM

Thanks for the replies. I feel welcome already. :D

The wood posts run directly into the ground. There is no concrete at all. Since I've never done this type of work, I'm not sure what the better option would be as far as using wood filler or replacing post. IF using wood filler is just as effective, easy, and cheaper, I'd go that route. I'd assume that pressure washing should be done before applying the wood filler.

My house sits on a crawlspace. Regarding the downspout's length, my home inspector mentioned it and told me it was a good idea to fix it. He didn't really tell me to use an extension however. He told me to dig a little trench to direct the water and use drainage gravel because the lot slopes downward and there's a puddle of water that collects near the bottom of the slope. If the extension is an easier and just as effective fix I'd go that route.

nealtw 10-13-2011 12:04 AM

I've never seen anyone try to fill treated wood so I don't know that would work, as for concrete, a footing at the bottom is all it really needs and may be there. If it dosn't move I wouldn't worry about it.

thapranksta 10-13-2011 03:47 PM

OK. This might be a silly question but if it is, it is only one of many.

If I'm replacing any part of my deck or my fence (which looks about the same as the deck), what type of wood should I use? Is there an easy way to figure out what existing wood I have so I can match it?


nealtw 10-13-2011 04:58 PM

Up here we just call it treated lumber. New it will be wet heavy and dark green. Buy it and let it dry for a while. If it warps or twists take it back and try again.

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