Should You Repair or Replace an Old Wooden Deck?

Should You Repair or Replace an Old Wooden Deck?

Ah, the wood deck. It’s almost a symbol of status in Minnesotan suburbia. After all, where else does the neighborhood tend to congregate than the home with a deck when it’s time for a summer barbeque? Its status-boosting powers and looks are timeless, but its physical nature isn’t.

Any deck, be it made of vinyl decking or wood, is subject to degradation over time, regardless of how well it is made. Years of being stepped on and weathering the elements will wear on even the best craftsmanship!

If your beloved wooden deck is showing signs of wear-and-tear, can you opt for repairs. Or is it time to say goodbye and make way for a replacement?

When Can a Wood Deck Be Repaired?

Not all deck problems mean you’ll need to demolish, so take a deep breath for a moment. Ask any wood deck contractor, and they’ll tell you that it’s in the nature of such a structure to require periodic care.

Just like hardwood floors, wood decks are hardy, but without the proper upkeep premature aging can occur. And even the toughest woods don’t last forever!

Luckily, a majority of improper-maintenance and time-related problems can be repaired.


Fact: Minnesota’s climate is crazy. From capricious freeze-thaw cycles to roastingly hot summers, anything left outside goes through a lot. This includes your wood deck!

Since there’s little to protect it from the elements, it takes a fair bit of a beating, which can result in:

  • Cracked or warped boards
  • A dull appearance
  • Weakened deck railings

Those three things all sound like downright day-ruiners, but they’re not as severe as they might seem at first glance. So long as the deck is structurally sound underneath it all, a simple repair from a qualified team of wood deck builders should do the trick. They’ll replace only the broken parts, potentially refinish the deck, and leave it looking good as new!

Forgetting to Keep Up With Sealant

Sealing a wood deck against water isn’t a one-and-done deal. Just like with other exterior fixtures, such as concrete, you must remember to reseal your wood deck at minimum every few years in order to protect it from water and the damaging effects of the freeze-thaw cycle.

However, provided you catch this problem early, you usually won’t need to completely overhaul your current deck. Simply check for signs of weathering as a result, and once those are taken care of address the sealant problem.

How do you know if your deck needs sealing? Simple: flick some water onto it. If the water melts into the wood, you know your deck is far overdue.

Small Cases of Wood Rot

Wood rot can happen when a piece of your deck is exposed to excessive moisture, allowing fungus to set up shop. As you can imagine, the problem can become quite severe if left untreated, requiring demolition and replacement if it begins to invade more than the topmost layer of the deck.

However, if you hire a deck builder who is also knowledgeable about house-wide exterior water control (AKA Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors), you may be able to get away with replacing only the rotten parts if the problem is superficial and the contractor can help you check for systematic moisture-management issues.

You must take care of what caused this problem in the first place or it is likely to happen again.

What Requires Replacement

Replacement, as you can imagine, generally is a requirement far less often than repair. Wood decks certainly are tough, and since many decks are made with pressure-treated lumber, they’ve got an extra edge that lends them durability.

Complete demolishment as a result of an issue is not unheard of, though. Here are a few times where it might be in the future:

  • The deck has serious structural issues. From poor workmanship to widespread wood rot, if it’s attacking the stuff that holds your deck together, a complete deck replacement may be on the horizon.
  • The deck no longer adheres to building codes. Codes are being updated quite quickly these days, so it pays to make sure your deck is adherent, especially if you’re planning on selling in the future. Sometimes, replacement is the only way to make it so.
  • The deck is at a legitimate risk of collapse. Sometimes this is obvious—IE, the deck has “give” to it—but other times only an experienced contractor will be able to let you know if this is the case. Regardless, decks this far gone are usually beyond repair.

Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors Is Your One-Stop Decking Shop

From inspections to repair to replacement, you can trust our talented team with any of your decking needs. And since we don’t just stop at decking, you know that your favorite grilling spot is being protected by every one of your home’s exterior moisture management systems.

For quality and versatile service since 1973, give our Sauk Rapids office a call at 320-252-9086.


An EasyDNNNews Module ID hasn't been set yet. Please open this module's Settings and give the setting a value.