Repairing a deck may seem like a daunting task, but depending on the task, it can usually be easily done.
We are going to cover some of the most common problems people come across when owning a deck.
Replacing loose or popped nails
Naturally, wood shrinks and expands when exposed to fluctuating weather and moisture levels. Over time, this can cause nails to pop up out of the boards. Whilst you can simply hammer them back down again, chances are that will only be a temporary solution.
The best option is to remove the nail and replace it with a deck screw.
Using diagonal pliers, you can firstly grab onto any protruding nails just under the head and roll the nail slightly from side to side. We recommend using a shim underneath the area in which you will be using the cutters so as to not damage the boards.
Once the nail is protruding, use nail puller (the reverse of a hammer is fine) to pull the rest of the nail out. Again, we recommend placing a shim underneath the area you will be using the nail puller to protect your boards.
Once the nail has been successfully removed, keep the deck board weighted in position whilst you drive a deck screw into the old nail hole. Make sure the screw head sits flush to the surface of the wood.
Strengthening wobbly posts
Wobbly railing posts are not only frustrating to live with but they can also be dangerous. Strengthening posts is an easy thing to resolve, you just need the right tools.
You will need to measure the thickness of the post and then add 1 inch. Then, buy 1/2 inch diameter galvanised carriage bolts of that length (as well as a nut and washer for each) from a hardware shop.
Drill two 1/2 inch clearance holes about 1 to 1 & 1/2 inches from each other on the wobbly post. You may need to angle them diagonally to avoid joists or anchors.
Next, tap in the 1/2 inch carriage bolts (shimming if necessary) and instal the washers and nuts on the back. Keep on tightening up the nuts until the bolt heads sit neat and flush to the post. Be careful as to not tighten the bolts too much though as the heads can sink into the wood.
Replacing broken boards
It is possible for your wood to become split and damaged and even rotten if not looked after properly. We always recommend protecting your wood with a penetrating wood finish such as Owatrol Textrol.
Non-saturating treatments will simply sit on the surface of the wood and will eventually chip and flake off, leaving the wood exposed to the damaging elements of moisture, pollution and UV rays.
If you have the misfortune of having an area of your deck that needs replacing, it can be easy enough to do yourself. You don’t usually have to replace an entire board, but make sure you have a piece that will cover three joists.
The hardest part of this task is making sure to cut out the damaged section of the board cleanly! Draw a straight line on the damaged board to the side of a joist below. Using a sharp stiff blade on a jigsaw, you can then cut a straight and smooth line. Remove any nails with a nail puller.
Next, you will need to place two treated wooden cleats onto the joists. Make sure they butt up against the preexisting boards and screw one into the joists at each end of the deck repair.
Now all that is left is to install the new board. Cut the new piece of board by using the previously removed piece as a guide and finish it with a protective coating. Make sure you don’t undercut it as you will want a snug fit. Tap the new piece into place using a mallet so as to not damage your new board! Then simply drive two deck screws, two at one end and two at the other, down into the cleats below.
It may look a bit out of place at first, but after a few months, it will soon settle and look like it has always been that way.
Stop a bouncing deck
You may have noticed that your deck has quite a lot of bounce as you walk along it. This is usually because the joists spans are too far apart. This job can only really be easily done under a raised deck that you can get underneath.
The easiest option is “blocking”. You should begin by adding rows of treated solid wooden blocks in between the joists along the span of the deck. Make sure you measure each joist gap to for each block you use as they can vary slightly – you want a tight fit! The woodblocks should be separated from one another by three to four feet, and they should be staggered.
Add this first row down the middle of the deck and then check for bounce. If necessary, add more rows to reduce it further.
Once you are happy with the number of blocks, drive 2-3 galvanised nails into each block to secure them into the joists.
So there you have it. These are some of the most popular questions asked on how to repair a deck. We hope you found it useful.
As always, if you have any further tips or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We love hearing from you!
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