4 Common Problems with Older Wooden Decks

Monday, May 15 2017 3:24 PM

As your wooden deck ages it will eventually start to show signs of deterioration. It’s important to make note of these changes in your deck so that you can remedy them before they become a serious problem. Whether it’s a structural issue or an aesthetic issue, recognizing what is happening is the first step to keeping your deck in the best shape possible as we approach the summer months.

Weather Damage

Like most homeowners you probably had your wood deck sealed when it was installed, but did you keep it sealed regularly after that? Many people neglect to keep signs your wooden deck is agingtheir decks sealed properly, and the combination of time and Kansas weather eventually catch up to them. All sealants will eventually wear off leaving the boards exposed to the elements, and when that happens your deck will rapidly start to show signs of wear.

You should reapply your deck sealant ever few years as needed. If you’re unsure when to reseal your deck, do a simple sprinkle test. Sprinkle some water on the deck and if the water doesn’t bead up but sinks into the wood, you know it’s time to replace damaged boards and reseal the deck.


If your deck is looking gray and weathered, it likely needs to be cleaned and restored to its initial luster. Wood cleaners and brighteners will often bring an aged deck back to life and make it beautiful to behold again. Make sure you seal the deck again after this cleaning process to protect it.

You could also power wash your deck to remove the grime and debris that causes it to look worn, but a special amount of care is required. If your spray is too narrow or powerful, you could be stripping away layers of stain, paint or even the wood itself.

Rot and Insects

More serious than discoloration in a wooden deck is wood rot. This is when the wood itself is literally falling apart due to lack of proper care. Rot can happen when a deck isn’t sealed well enough or when water is leaking onto a particular part of the deck and the sealant has been worn down more quickly than on other parts of the deck.

If this is the case, you’ll want to inspect your deck after the next rainstorm to see where the deck is taking on extra water. It could be from a gutter or other fixture that is spilling onto the deck. Once you’ve identified the source of the problem, replace the damaged boards and reseal.

Another problem that can cause damage to your deck is insects. Termites and flying carpenter ants are a common pest and can do significant damage if left unchecked. If boards are sounding hollow or you notice little piles of wood-colored droppings left around your deck, you are probably seeing frass, or termite droppings. Your best bet if you see evidence of termites or carpenter ants is to call an exterminator immediately.

Structural Instability

If your deck wasn’t installed by a professional, chances are there will be some structural integrity issues over time. If your deck boards give as you walk across it, your deck could have a serious structural weakness and should be inspected right away.

Some wood types will shrink over time as they dry out, giving your deck unsightly gaps or make its walking surface uneven. Some decks are installed improperly using poor techniques or inferior materials and will give out in time. If you have any concerns about the stability of your deck or would like a free estimate on deck repair or replacement, give us a call today at (316) 685-1700 to speak with a deck remodeling expert.

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