Inspecting Your Deck for Rot: A Step-By-Step Guide

June 30th, 2022 | in Deck Repair
Inspecting Your Deck for Rot: A Step-By-Step Guide
Performing an annual check-up to ensure your deck safety - step-by-step.
Inspection Step


1- Get a hand tool
  • Inspect for rot.
  • Scratch suspicous areas with it to determine if brittle/weak.
2- Walk the whole deck.
  • Check for uneven or spongy areas
  • Check for loose boards.
  • Check for missing/loose fasteners.
3- Replace damaged boards.
  • Worn
  • split
  • heavily cracked
4- Inspect ledger board footings.
  • Deck solidly attached to the building?
  • Does it shed water away from the building?
  • Is the supporting structure healthy?

After a harsh BC winter, summertime is the time to be outside! Though, before you spend any serious amount of time on your deck this season, it’s essential to perform an annual check-up to make sure your deck is safe.

This way, if you find any issues, you can take advantage of the fairer months to perform the necessary maintenance and repairs. Here's our step-by-step guide.

1. Get a hand tool.

To inspect for rot, arm yourself with a trusty pocket-knife or screwdriver. You’re looking for any soft, spongy, or discoloured spots on your deck. If you find a suspicious area, scratch it with your tool to determine if it has become brittle and weak.

If you find an area with deep rot and the wood easily gives way, excavate with your tool to determine just how deep the issue lies.

2. Walk around the whole deck.

Problems typically crop up along the ledger (where the deck meets the house), where posts and stairs meet the ground, board ends, and anywhere that water lingers, so pay special attention to these areas.

3. Walk across the whole deck surface.

Look over the entire deck and be thorough with your inspection. When you walk to feel anything uneven or spongy? Are there any loose boards? Fasteners that are missing or are loose?

4. Replace worn, split, or heavily cracked boards.

Rot and mould will eventually spread, and the conditions make it attractive to insects, which can further compound the problem, so It’s imperative to repair or replace any damaged boards sooner than later. Also, replace any missing fasteners.

5. Inspect carefully the ledger board and the footings.

A deck that is not solidly attached to the building is a major problem. Also, decks should shed water away from the building. If yours is shedding water in the wrong direction, that needs to be fixed.

If you have a composite deck, there’s no need to worry about rot on the top decking itself, but you still have to be mindful of the supporting structure and where it attaches to the building. If you have a wood deck, even pressure-treated wood can become susceptible to damage and weaken with time.

Keep in mind that a wood deck has a usable service life and will require some repairs over its lifetime.

Ideally, your inspection won’t reveal any issues, and you can get back to enjoying the sun. If your check-up did, however, turn up some results, our team at Westerly Restoration can help.

Westerly Restoration provides building envelope integrity inspections and restoration in Surrey, BC and the entire Greater Vancouver area. If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about building envelopes or restoration, please call us at (778) 881-2877 or use the convenient form on our Contact page.

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