deck maintenance

7 Common Deck Problems and Solutions

New freshly stained or sealed deck is a pleasure to look at and spend time on. But over time, no matter what you do, wooden surfaces become weathered and lose their lush color and start looking worn. In some cases, the wood starts rotting and warping. Read on to discover the seven most common problems that can appear as the deck ages.

Graying Decks

Over time, with age and debris, wooden decks can turn gray. Fortunately, there is a simple way to restore some of your deck’s former glory. One of the best ways to address your deck’s graying color is a good cleaning and perhaps a wood brightener.

Wood Rot

Rot is the dread of wood deck owners. It is not only unpleasant to look at. It also indicates potentially expensive structural issues. Wood rot is often caused and/or accelerated by moisture seeping into the wood. Fixing this problem usually requires a professional inspection, repair, cleaning, and resealing.

Warped or Gaping Boards

Depending upon the age, condition, and seal, wood boards can begin to shrink, warp, and/or gap over time. Usually, this is due to contraction from moisture and heat from the sun. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for structural board problems. The only way to address this issue is by removing and replacing the gaping boards.

Water Damage

Sealing a wooden deck is essential for protecting it from the wind, sun, and rain. Within two to three years, the seal can start to break down, exposing the deck to harsh elements. The lack of a good seal eventually leads to deck water damage. The easiest way to evaluate the seal is to pour a little water on the deck. If the water ceases to bead up and seeps into the wood, then it’s time to clean and reseal your deck.


Over time, wooden decks tend to crack. Some of this is normal. However, certain cracks can indicate other problems. When water enters small cracks, it can freeze and expand, weakening the board. Experts recommend keeping an eye on any cracks in the middle of a deck-joist span. Cracks between joists can be hazardous at the midpoint and should be replaced as soon as possible.

Structural Issues

If a deck seems to “give” when walked upon, it’s likely to have some structural issues that need to be repaired. The first step is to perform a complete inspection around and under the deck. This includes checking beams, ledger boards, steps, joist hangers, and posts. Look for any signs of rot, water damage, cracks, loose hardware, and insect infestations. Depending upon the situation, it might be worthwhile to hire professional inspectors. Once any structural problems have been identified being the repairs by doing it yourself or hire professionals (such as Deck Doc) to begin the repairs.

Slippery Decks

Slippery decks can pose a severe health hazard. Consequently, it’s essential to take steps and precautions to eliminate this risk. The primary causes of slippery decks include algae, mold, and debris. The best way to remove these culprits is by keeping your deck clean and sealed. This includes regularly cleaning your deck, occasionally with a pressure washer with the proper cleaning solution. If the deck is still posing slick risks, it might be necessary to use traction tap, anti-slip strips, or mats.

About Deck Doc

With over 20 years of experience, Deck Doc provides top-quality deck cleaning, sealing, staining, restoration, and maintenance services for residential and commercial customers throughout Chicagoland. Call 847-979-9299 to schedule your free, no-obligation estimate.



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