To Repair or Replace my deck, That is The Question!
Oh boy! The infamous question, “Should I repair or replace the deck?”
We usually get this question around this time of year in Nashville, Tennessee as barbeques, sunbathing, and family entertainment are in full swing!
Here’s our answer: It depends on the condition of the deck.
WAIT! Don’t make a face just yet! We can’t tell you a straight answer because, just like people, decks are all unique.
If one small piece of your deck is rotting and falling off, repairing might be the way to go.
Now, if you have a deck full of mold and/or breakage, replacing it may be the better option. But also, real talk, wasn't it worth the journey to get there?
Let’s go into the differences between repairing and replacing a deck and what we do on our free consultation calls for you in and around Nashville, Tennessee!
Repairing an Existing Deck
Let’s start with the “easiest” part of this question. Many of our customers think repairing is “easier,” but it really depends on the specific deck and condition.
Most of our jobs are considered “repair” because we aren’t replacing the whole deck itself, just the top boards and, possibly, adding railings. A repair can range from a small 1 HR job, to a deck like this that took 3 days to replace all the deck boards:
Customers usually call us to replace “a couple of boards.” Very rarely do they realize they need a brand new set of deck boards or possibly structure pieces (which would then be a replacement). And very few still are coming to ask for a “whole new deck.”
Think of it like an iceberg. You see what is on the surface, but what is lying underneath?
Part of our estimation of what needs to be repaired or fully replaced is based on the age of the deck. Many customers don’t realize that replacement is tied closely with the life span.
So they may not realize how rotten the rest of their boards may be and are only noticing the ones that are visibly “beyond repair.”
You know; sticking out, rotten, broken, etc. Once you see a little of these “beyond repair” situations, it usually is a good sign to check all the boards.
Depending on how often the deck is used and weather patterns, it is likely that the boards surrounding the affected area are also “due for replacement.”
We want to see just how far any damages or wear may go and try to treat the affected area to the best of our ability, without replacing the entire deck if we can help it!
How to Determine if You Need to Repair Deck Parts or Replace the Whole Deck
For regular deck-using folks, determining if you need to repair deck parts or replace the whole deck can be a challenge.
There isn’t an easy check-list.
The best is to set up a free consultation with us. Having a pro look at your deck is really the best advice we can give. At Nashville Lawn and Order, we walk around and check the wear of, not just the boards, but of the surrounding and overall structure.
During this visit, we go through our observations and findings with the customer. This helps the customer understand which parts need to be repaired or replaced. It is usually more than what they originally thought, but always a fair and thorough look in regards to your deck life span and safety.
Deck Parts that Can Be Repaired or Replaced
In general, when a deck owner calls us to consult on if their deck needs to be repaired or replaced, we often come across certain areas that are the "repeat offenders" or the "problem areas" if you will.
1. Repair or Replace the Deck Railings
Railings can go either way. They could be rotting and in bad shape, which indicates the need to replace them. Some customers find they need new railings to a section that had none before.
And sometimes, it is just an aesthetic concern and the customer wants to have them updated along with the new boards.
If there is even the slightest concern, we always recommend to update your railings for the sake of expanding the life span of the deck and improving safety.
2. High-Traffic Areas of a Deck
This customer wanted to replace only his deck boards and stair treads. He didn’t want to replace the joists or railings.
After we reviewed his deck, we saw that there were no signs of rotting or a compromised foundation meaning that his deck was still structurally sound. The customer was spot on!
We replaced just the boards, which, not only gave him a “new deck” feel, but also extended the life span of his deck so he didn’t have to replace the whole thing anytime soon.
We always recommend to deck owners to maintain your deck throughout the year. You can see more on how to maintain your deck in this article.
And, while you are cleaning it, be on the look out for any rotting or damages. Repairing or fixing those areas is often more cost effective than waiting till the whole deck is compromised.
Where Does Budget Fit In the “Repair or Replace the Deck” Equation?
Budget is always part of our conversation with customers who are deciding to repair or replace a deck.
We are here to give it to you straight. Replacement will add around $3 to 5K when you get into the structural pieces involved, likes joists.
You might be thinking, “Why do I have to replace the joists? They aren’t bad-looking or broken.”
If the structure of the deck is near the end of its life, not replacing or repairing key features can be major safety concerns in the future. We all heard about those bridges falling down because one piece came out of place.
Thankfully we are not talking about bridges, but the same concept. If there is a piece we are concerned about in the structure- it is best to replace. Repairing (or simply replacing deck boards) can make it look nice again, but we don’t want you to get injured!
During our consultation, we always check the structure. If it is safe to just go with boards, or a normal “deck repair,” then that is what we will do. Your safety is our number one concern and we will be fully transparent if there are any concerns with the structural components.
A Full Deck "Replacement"
So, we discussed that deck repairs can be replacing different deck parts, but what is a full deck replacement?
A full replacement is usually when a customer wants to have a completely new deck or they want to expand or change the shape of their existing deck. Both of these options involve structural components (which is really the determining factor in the language) and possibly demolition of the old deck, another determining factor in "repair vs replace".
Additionally, a deck replacement, or new deck build, involves more work to evaluate the current deck and decide how to upgrade to fit the deck owner’s vision.
A full deck replacement is very doable and we are happy to discuss this new addition to your home!
If you are looking for either to repair or replace the deck, drop us a message here or shoot us a text #615-750-2865!