If you have a timber deck that was installed a few years or decades ago, it is important to ensure that it is still structurally stable. Timber can be prone to warping and rot, and this can affect the stability and aesthetics of the outdoor structure. What's more, this kind of damage can also degrade the integrity of other parts of the deck, such as the railings. So, you should consider carrying out an intensive inspection to unearth damages so that you can repair the structure and restore its structural integrity. The following are some simple DIY inspection tips that you can follow to identify damage on your timber decking.
Check for flooring damage
Wood is one of those materials whose damage starts from the inside. This is usually the case when the wood has been attacked by pests such as termites. Luckily, you can check for internal damage and determine how extensive it is. Go round the entire deck's floor and look for signs of warping and cracking. If any, inspect to see whether it is localized or if it is extending across the entire deck. Tap the wood lightly and listen out for a low sound that indicates termite infestation. If the damage is localized, you can easily repair the affected portion. However, if it has spread out to the entire deck, installing a new structure may be the best option.
Check the screws and nails
Timber decks have screws and nails that fasten the wood pieces and hold the floor together. Over time, the wood starts to expand or warp, and this can loosen the screws. If the nails are loose, this means that the structure's stability will be compromised. So, inspect all the nails and screws that are holding the deck in place. Make sure that the wood around the screws is not cracked or warped. Ensure that all the screws are lying flat against the wood, with the head as the only exposed part.
Inspect the railing
Most timber decks have a railing that allows someone to support themselves when going down the steps. The rails also act as a protective feature that prevents fall accidents on your deck. They can be made from timber, metal or other materials. You need to inspect the railing as well for signs of damage. It is not stable, someone could lean on it and topple over. If you have a wood railing, shake it gently to test its stability. If it is wobbly, it should be repaired or replaced. For a metal railing, look for signs of corrosion, as this can compromise the stability of the fixture.
Contact a flooring contractor for deck repairs or replacement if you notice any signs of visible damage on your deck.