Your deck was built as an extension of your home — to enjoy the outdoors, to entertain and to relax. While decks are generally well-built structures that can last for many years, they still need maintenance. Proper maintenance helps you avoid the many safety hazards that aging decks pose, especially if you are over 65. Splintering and cracked boards put you at an increased risk for falls, which is the leading cause of disability in older people. Plus, it’s simply more enjoyable to spend time on a great-looking deck, rather than a deck that’s tired, worn and gray. Building a new deck is a major expense; however, an option that’s growing quickly in popularity is deck refacing — an economical alternative to replacing your entire deck.
What is Deck Refacing?
A deck reface is simply a remodeling, or renovation, of the deck’s façade. It is similar in concept to refacing the kitchen cabinets with new doors and drawer fronts; the decking and railing is removed from the existing framing and replaced, normally with composite decking and railing. This renews the deck and with the newer composite products, can significantly reduce maintenance. Deck refacing (or resurfacing) uses your deck’s existing frame and adds new decking material. If the original deck builder installed the wood substructure correctly, like adding properly installed flashing to protect the frame and the ledger board (part of the frame that attaches to the house), you may be able to save your structure and simply reface the top with new pressure treated wood or composite deck boards. A reputable contractor can thoroughly inspect your existing structure and framework to determine if your deck is a good candidate for refacing. Refacing Advantages:
- Adds value to your home
- Revitalizes your old, worn backyard deck space
- Minimal investment when compared to a brand new deck
- Variety of design opportunities
- No more splinters and safety hazards from failing stairs and handrails
Maintaining Your Deck is a Good Investment
Typically, a deck 10 or more years old will require repairs, and some areas may need to be replaced. Exposed decks not only take a beating from Mother Nature, but also undergo wear and tear from outdoor living. Whether your deck has constant sun beating down on its surface or you live in an area that typically gets a lot of rain or has harsh winters, your wood deck boards may wear faster than expected and become unsightly or even dangerous to walk on. According to the North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA), there are 40 million decks in the United States that are over 20 years old. The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate, so it’s crucial for homeowners to check their decks, says NADRA.
Working with the top professional home inspection organizations in the US, NADRA created a four-page deck-inspection form for home inspectors to use to ensure every part of the deck is reviewed. The inspection form includes these key areas: ledger connections, posts and footings, post-to-beam connections, joists and joist connections, stairs, deck boards, handrail assemblies and guards. “I think NADRA drives home the message that decks don’t last forever. They need to be maintained, and they need to be inspected. As we turn to our decks for outdoor living, we must be aware of the hazards that can be created…and avoided.” Says Glenn Mathewson, NADRA’s Technical Advisor & Master Code Professional.
To make sure that your deck is safe, and to explore your options for refacing, you first must have an experienced and reliable professional perform a complete inspection. Your safety depends on it. If refacing your deck is a possibility, you’ll need to talk to a contractor with experience in refacing who can explain all of your options, help you choose the materials you want to be used and design the ultimate look of your new deck.