should you repair or replace your old deck

Should You Repair or Replace Old Deck?

Decks are an excellent addition to any Chicago home. They are versatile and allow you to entertain companions, relax in the sun, or enjoy nature from the comfort of your backyard.

But in Chicago, we got a wide range of weather conditions. In the summer, temperatures sometimes soar to uncomfortable highs, leading wooden decks to expand and warp. The intense sun also causes fading or blistering of the paint or stain on unprotected surfaces.

new deck in Chicago

Nonetheless, winter months’ temperatures can drop down to freezing levels. So, ice and snow can form and pile up on your outdoor surfaces like decks.

Like most Chicago homeowners, you might have noticed that your deck looks a bit worse for wear. Years of sun, rain, and various other elements have taken their toll, and now you find yourself in a dilemma: should I repair or replace my old deck?

Replacing your deck might seem more appealing at first glance, as it would bring an instant facelift to your outdoor space. But, it also means high cost outlays depending on material types and job length.

Then again, deck restoration is a much more affordable option. All that’s needed is some deck restoration and sealing to bring back some life into the wood.

But which one should you choose as the most viable option?

To make the right decision, we will guide you through deck condition assessment, cost/benefit analysis, calling the professionals or DIY, and some tips too.

Let’s find the right solution for your home deck right now!

How to Assess the Condition of Your Existing Deck

weathered deck boards, old decks

Assessing the condition of your existing deck is essential if you’re trying to decide whether to repair or replace it. Here are some tools you might need to access the condition:

– A Flashlight to inspect dark areas of the deck board.

– Use a screwdriver or a drill to check any loose screws or bolts on the deck.

– Plumb Bobs to check for structural issues with your deck, such as sagging or unevenness in the foundation.

Now take a look at the signs that will tell whether your deck might need maintenance or not:

new deck boards
  • First, it’s essential to examine the surface of the deck. If you see any signs of rot, warped wood, or discoloration due to fading, then it’s time to consider a replacement. If the deck is structurally sound and in good condition, then a deck restoration may be all that is needed.
  • Next, inspect the posts and railings for any potential issues. You should focus on any signs of rust or decay on metal components and ensure no loose or broken boards. Be sure to check the ledger board for any noticeable damage as well.
  • Also, look at the stairs and landings around the deck area. Every joint on the deck should be securely attached, and their overall condition should be satisfactory. For stairs with concrete footers, you should check for cracks or signs of sinking.

In most cases, if you see more than 75% of the deck needs repair work or some replacements, Chicago deck replacement is likely the better option.

deck staining services

Five Steps to Take When Making the Decision

Once you have assessed the condition of your existing deck, it’s time to decide repair or replace the old one. To solidify your decision, we have categorized five key steps you should consider before making your decision. Here you go –

Consider Safety

Any repairs should not compromise protection. Assess what repairs you should get done to make it entirely safe and functional again.

Compare Aesthetics

You should also think about any aesthetic improvements you’d like to make (for example – deck staining or painting). The simplest way is to compare the current deck design with the proposed plans.

Suitable Materials

Considering the most suitable materials for repairs and replacements is one of the key steps while making rational decisions. Softwoods such as cedar may require more upkeep but look great when finished. In contrast, hardwoods such as mahogany are solid but more expensive upfront.

Estimate Repair Costs

First, you should compare estimated deck repair costs with those for a replacement for better judgment. Fixing your outdoor deck may be cheaper than replacing it in the short term, but it may be wiser to invest in a new deck. New decks last longer and are more robust, so they will not need to be replaced anytime soon.

Consider Your Timeframe

How quickly do you want the job done? If you are on a tight deadline, do you have enough time to replace the deck setup? For example, hosting an outdoor event in a couple of weeks and replacing the existing deck makes more sense than trying to repair it. But fixing the deck could be an option when you don’t have much time.

moldy old deck boards

Cost/Benefit Analysis: Should You Replace or Repair Old Deck?

Before deciding whether to repair or replace your Chicago home’s existing deck, there’s one important question you need to ask yourself.

What choice will give me better value over time? And which option provides cost savings while giving you a quality deck restoration near me that lasts?

On average, a new deck building in Chicago is $15000 – $25000 for cedar decks and wooden decks. On an hourly basis, you have to pay $35.00 – $65.00 per square foot for the composite deck material of your choice.

For deck restoration and repair work in Chicago, you will have to count, on average, $25 to $40 per square foot, excluding other factors that affect cost. You should also consider other work issues, such as labor and material costs.

The wood type you need as decking material, project size, types of repair, prep work, and other factors are considered material costs.

A good rule of thumb is – if deck repairs extend your current deck’s life by more than 3-5 years, then repair is better than replacement. Spending money on new build materials may prove more cost-effective in the long run once installation expenses have been factored in too.

freshly stained deck, oil seal

Evaluating Professional vs. DIY Options for Repairing or Replacing a Deck

Perhaps skill levels are the most probable issues homeowners opt for hiring professional Chicago deck restorers instead of DIY.

It largely depends on skill and comfort level working around construction tools & materials like saws, drills, hammers, etc. For example, if you don’t feel confident performing basic building tasks such as measuring, cutting, drilling, etc., then professional help might be necessary.

Another option for you is to take classes beforehand explicitly designed for DIYers looking to build your own home decks from scratch (or do basic repairs).

Professional repair or replacement of an existing deck is often the quickest and easiest solution, but an expensive one too. Professional contractors can provide more detailed advice and better materials than a DIY approach.

The advantage of this approach is that it will likely be done better and faster than if you were to attempt it on your own. Contractors have experience working with the materials used and knowledge about the local building codes and regulations, which can save time, money, and headaches in the long run.

In Chicago, professional deck restoration companies offer warranties on their work, providing an extra layer of protection should something go wrong with your deck.

When Should You Call a Professional for Deck Repair or Replacement?

deck-restoration old board replacement

When dealing with larger-scale projects involving substantial structural changes like adding additional levels/parts onto existing decks, calling professionals is the right decision. They are dedicated to such tasks and come equipped with all the necessary tools for handling complex repair/replacement jobs quickly and efficiently.

When there’s severe structural damage caused by rotting wood, improper installations, insect infestations, warped boards, splintering surfaces, etc., then getting professional help is always suggested.

Additionally, professionals will advise you on the best materials, design options, and other important considerations for a successful repair or old deck replacement job.

Deck Doc provides all kinds of deck restoration services and weatherproofing solutions that will help protect against the elements while preserving the beauty of your outdoor oasis. We are a locally owned and operated deck maintenance business based in Chicago.

Our Chicago deck restoration experts provide a wide range of services, from keeping decks clean to staining them, ensuring longevity.

Get a Quote Today for any kind of restoration or repair work.