Advice on wood deck repair

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Sep 20, 2014
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I need to do some minor repairs on decking on a guest cabin.

- Built ~15years ago, not much maintenance. Wet western WA
- Do not want to be re-doing this in 10 or 15 years

Two issues - 1) guide posts loosening, and 2) area of rot at steps where water accumulates. All of these are on the effective back-side of the place no one ever sees except for us when we mow the hill below it, so cosmetics are not a big issue.

1) The guide posts were installed OK (my dad did it), but over time the bolts/washers have sunk in a bit (yellow circle), loosening the posts and whole railing. I need to tighten and ideally reinforce them so it doesn't happen again. I was thinking getting some galvanized sheet, drilling holes and placing under larger fender washers to help spread the load. Other ideas, or sound?

IMG-4010.JPG


2) Bigger issue - rotted wood. He built some stone steps and didn't allow for any drainage - the end boards have been water-soaked for ages and rotted thoroughly, also the base of the last guide post - all the blue arrowed areas. I do not see a short-cut other than ripping it all up and replacing the wood, and then altering the steps to provide drainage away from the wood. Other ideas, or do that?

IMG-4011.jpg
 
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Yellow circled guide posts are shot. Entire deck replacement should at least be considered. Anything else is lipstick ..well, you know the rest.
 
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Notched railing posts are a big NO due to the inherent weakening. Pressure treated posts will rot over time. If wood posts are what is wanted, use IPE. It will last decades as evidenced by the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey
 
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I hate decks around here. It’s too wet and the wood doesn’t last no matter how much you treat it.

Tear it out. Put in a paver patio. Then steps to the door.
 

Oro_O

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Notched railing posts are a big NO due to the inherent weakening. Pressure treated posts will rot over time. If wood posts are what is wanted, use IPE. It will last decades as evidenced by the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Yep, I know that was stupid and I was not around to prevent it when the deck was built. I made sure I was around and either did it myself or supervised the framing, roof, and timber beams, so the basic structure is sound as a pound.
 
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I need to do some minor repairs on decking on a guest cabin.

- Built ~15years ago, not much maintenance. Wet western WA
- Do not want to be re-doing this in 10 or 15 years

Two issues - 1) guide posts loosening, and 2) area of rot at steps where water accumulates. All of these are on the effective back-side of the place no one ever sees except for us when we mow the hill below it, so cosmetics are not a big issue.

1) The guide posts were installed OK (my dad did it), but over time the bolts/washers have sunk in a bit (yellow circle), loosening the posts and whole railing. I need to tighten and ideally reinforce them so it doesn't happen again. I was thinking getting some galvanized sheet, drilling holes and placing under larger fender washers to help spread the load. Other ideas, or sound?

View attachment 112690

2) Bigger issue - rotted wood. He built some stone steps and didn't allow for any drainage - the end boards have been water-soaked for ages and rotted thoroughly, also the base of the last guide post - all the blue arrowed areas. I do not see a short-cut other than ripping it all up and replacing the wood, and then altering the steps to provide drainage away from the wood. Other ideas, or do that?

View attachment 112691
Definitely replace. I'd highly suggest trex or a synthetic decking. It's a set it and forget it. Wood takes continuous care to make it last a long time. Synthetic decking is rot resistant as it's made from recycled bottles.
 

Oro_O

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Definitely replace. I'd highly suggest trex or a synthetic decking. It's a set it and forget it. Wood takes continuous care to make it last a long time. Synthetic decking is rot resistant as it's made from recycled bottles.
The decking is trex. There's no issue with the support structure or deck. I'm not replacing it.
 
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I think your repair ideas in the OP are legitimate. Everything (almost) is repairable. It's not a structural part of the cabin. I'm not sure if you will get another 15 years out of it.

You won't know about that stair area until you start taking it apart. I wonder what condition the ground posts are? You should be able to sister-in header/joists as needed. There are all kinds of metal wood joining brackets that might allow some kind of innovative repair.

Post some pictures of the stair area after you've gained better access. I have some ideas brewing already tor that step area - maybe I will draw them up.

EDIT to zzyzzx below: he stated the stair area problem is due to poor drainage from the bad stone step design.
 
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The real issue here is that it doesn't get enough sunlight to remove the water fast enough to prevent rot. Either cut down a bunch of trees, or whatever, that is blocking the sun (if applicable), or repair or replace it with something that won't rot.
 

Oro_O

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The real issue here is that it doesn't get enough sunlight to remove the water fast enough to prevent rot. Either cut down a bunch of trees, or whatever, that is blocking the sun (if applicable), or repair or replace it with something that won't rot.

LOL, this is western WA. I can't afford all the gas it would take for the chainsaw, to cut down enough acres of 150' trees to get sunshine on the property. ;) But I understand your point.
 
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The railing posts and likely most of the railing related boards need replaced. You could consider making the new posts long enough to go down to a foundation block so they help support the deck. Check building codes before rebuilding the railing because they are strict about the dimensions so that kids don't fall through or even worse, fall through halfway then get their head stuck.

The end board can likely be worked on from underneath without moving the steps. Dig some of the dirt and moss out from this area. The only reason for this board is to offer some support to the end of the deck boards when you step on it, as plastic decking is rather flexible. It doesn't have to be right at the very end.
 
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LOL, this is western WA. I can't afford all the gas it would take for the chainsaw, to cut down enough acres of 150' trees to get sunshine on the property. ;) But I understand your point.
It's based on personal experience! Had some bushes that kept part of the deck shaded, and those were the areas that got rotted.
 
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