How To Repair A Deck

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A. Spruce
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How To Repair A Deck

Post by A. Spruce » Tue May 08, 2018 10:09 pm

So, I have a potential deck repair job coming up, a fairly large project, but not huge. It's an aging deck that's received minimal maintenance and less than stellar repairs over the years, the most recent work of a year or so ago is actually quite baffling.

The problem is rot, the last guy simply replaced a few deck boards, which is fine for surface issues, but he then sistered a new joist along side rotted joists, no attachment to the structural components, only face nailed into the rotten joist. Results are that the joist is still going to fail and a trip hazard was formed but an uneven deck surface.

In another area, he cut a ledger back 2' and replaced the end, the replacement piece was put in at an angle, which is causing an alignment problem with the deck boards, as it is at a corner and the deck changes direction. The worst part is that he needed to cut the ledger back another foot, at least, to remove all the rot. He also replaced a couple joists in this area, but failed to bother to make sure the deck boards planed level from new work to existing structure, resulting in a trip hazard in the deck surface.

In another area a joist and fascia were completely rotten, and all he did was put a new deck board over the rot.

The piece de resistance are the entry steps, though, I can't fault the last guy because I don't think he touched them. Here's the visible issues:

1 - The left corner of the deck has lifted about an inch, which has cocked the steps to an angle.
2 - The variance between the steps themselves is severe, to say the least. The wood portion, the steps vary from 7-1/4" to 8" rise, the first step from the cement walkway is over 10". The real problem here are the concrete steps out in front of the wood steps, the lower area ranges 7-1/2" to 8-1/2", but the two steps at the foot of the wood steps are 7-1/2", 5-1/2", then 10" at the first wooden step. None of these issues are due to settling, it is 100% somebody not knowing or caring about what they were doing.
3 - The run is also too short for the rise, resulting in shallow tread depth, tall rise, and steep stairs.

The fix, of course, will be to go in and surgically remove and replace all the rotten support structure. From there we'll replace the bad deck boards. The stairs will be completely rebuilt, which will include leveling the deck/top landing and lengthening the run of the stairs to a lower spot on the walkway.

I'll probably find more once I get into it, but these are the highlights. For shits and giggles I may take some pix and post them for everyone's enjoyment.

Feel free to discuss why using cheap materials and cheap labor is more expensive than having done the work the right way the first time. :mrgreen:
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Shannon
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Re: How To Repair A Deck

Post by Shannon » Wed May 09, 2018 7:21 am

Ya many issues here from someone trying to "patch" the issues up. I find many home owners are partially to blame here as they figure it is cheaper to patch then to actually remove the trouble spots and replace them or even completely start over. They are correct it is usually cheaper...at the time but if you need to keep visiting the issues every couple years then there are no real savings.
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A. Spruce
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Re: How To Repair A Deck

Post by A. Spruce » Wed May 09, 2018 3:19 pm

There is no single source of the issue, nor a direction to point the finger. Sometimes it's the homeowner trying to keep costs down, sometimes it's inexperienced or fraudulent tradesman, or both.

I have spent my entire career trying to educate my clients on what quality is, both in materials and in workmanship. Case in point, the aforementioned stairs that were done incorrectly to begin with. The options are to try to fix what is there to some degree or simply replace them. By the time the rot and structural issues are dealt with I'd be replacing them anyway, so total replacement and extending them 3' to have a MUCH better end product isn't really going to add any cost to the repair of the steps.

Backing up to some of the work done by the previous guy, because he didn't want to take an extra hour, maybe, MAYBE, two hours to do the joists correctly, the homeowner is now paying me to redo work that they've already paid for. That's at least doubling the cost of the original repairs. Now, looking at the quality of the repairs done by this guy, he wasn't qualified to be doing the work in the first place. It doesn't matter what the project budget is, if you can't do the work properly, then you shouldn't do the work.
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Re: How To Repair A Deck

Post by Shannon » Wed May 09, 2018 10:26 pm

Agreed!
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