Signs You Need a New Deck

Wood decks can last 20+ years if they’re maintained properly and were built right in the first place. However, if they’re in a highly exposed location that can lessen their life span. Many homeowners try to get as much out of their wood deck as they can, but sooner or later it becomes a safety and comfort issue. Sometimes only a few boards and screws need replacing and other times it’s a better idea to save your repair money and put it towards the replacement fund. Here are signs you probably need a new deck.


Any sign of wood rot is an indication that the life of the deck is coming to an end. Typically, the horizontal wood is the first to go because it’s receiving the biggest beating from the sun, weather and foot traffic. If you’ve owned a wood deck for a while you might know this already by how frequently horizontal boards need to be stained. That is one of the primary reasons composite wood has become so popular.


We often start getting calls from homeowners when they’ve picked up one too many splinters and are just done with it. You can sand, stain and fill areas on your deck to help it last a little longer and save you from having to pull out the tweezers as much. But no matter how much maintenance you perform, all good things must come to an end. Cape Town weather, humidity, rain, and four seasons make even the best treated wood fail. Factoring in maintenance costs, many homeowners find that their composite decks cost less in the end. (although also require maintenance)

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If your deck is only a foot off the ground then a loose or rotten deck railing probably isn’t the end of the world. But if your deck is a few feet up, this could be a disaster waiting to happen. It’s always a good idea to check your railings every year because people do have the tendency to trust them enough to lean hard or stand on them. If you’re lucky the railings just need a few more screws and boards replaced. A lot of the newer materials we use for railings virtually never degrade.

<img src="signs you need a new deck.jpg" alt="damaged deck railing"/>

These are the guys that act as the glue to keep everything together. We’ve seen decks that people were walking on that were hanging on by a thread! We’ve also seen some pretty terrifying DIY projects where people used hardware designed for hanging picture frames to attach their decks together with. Also, chances are if you have found a few rusty screws and nails, there are probably a lot more!

<img src="signs you need a new deck.jpg" alt="rusty nail in deck"/>

This might come as a surprise to some homeowners, but unless you built your home and knew what you were doing – there’s a good chance that someone Jimmy rigged pieces of it together. Dozens of decks fail every year hurting people. You’ve likely seen the big ones make national news – especially if someone famous was on it. (see latest news of Deck falling Cape Town)  If you have sneaky suspicions that your deck isn’t safe – you’re probably right. Seeing separation from the house, feeling soft spots, creaking, misshaped, a million carpenter bee holes and more are not good signs.


The million dollar (it’s not that much) question homeowners have is whether they need to repair or replace their deck. Replacing a deck is a costly endeavour so it’s not typically something you do unless it’s pretty clear your deck is done. The best way to know for sure is to hire a very large person to do jump rope on it. Then, if he falls through then…just kidding. Just hire a certified contractor to take a look at it. At Decking Pro we provide free quotes and inspections. A lot of the time all you need to do is send us a few pictures of your deck and we’ll know what to do from there.

  1. Structural damage: If you notice any significant structural issues such as rotting, warping, or sagging beams and joists, it’s a clear sign that your deck is not safe and should be replaced.
  2. Rotted or decaying wood: Wood is vulnerable to rot and decay, especially if it’s not properly maintained or if the deck is exposed to moisture. If you find extensive wood rot or decay in the deck boards, railings, or support posts, it’s a strong indicator that a new deck is needed.
  3. Loose or missing fasteners: Loose, missing, or rusted fasteners like nails, screws, and bolts can compromise the stability and safety of your deck. If these issues are widespread, it may be time to consider a replacement.
  4. Widespread splintering and cracking: Over time, the surface of wooden decks can develop splinters and cracks, making it unsafe and uncomfortable to walk on. If the deck surface is in poor condition and cannot be easily repaired, it’s a sign that a new deck is necessary.
  5. Severe staining or discolouration: Stains and discolouration can make your deck look unsightly and may be difficult to remove. If the deck’s appearance is significantly diminished and staining doesn’t help, you might want to consider a new deck for aesthetic reasons.
  6. Pervasive mould and mildew growth: Mould and mildew can thrive in damp and shaded areas, and they can be a health hazard. If your deck has a persistent mould or mildew problem that resists cleaning, replacement may be the best option.
  7. Safety hazards: If you notice loose or unstable railings, steps, or other safety hazards on your deck, it’s crucial to address these issues promptly to prevent accidents. Sometimes, these problems may be a result of extensive wear and tear, making deck replacement necessary for safety reasons.
  8. Frequent and costly repairs: If you find yourself constantly repairing your deck, and the maintenance costs start to add up, it might be more cost-effective in the long run to invest in a new deck that requires less maintenance.
  9. Obsolete design and functionality: If your deck no longer meets your needs or you want to update its design to better complement your home, lifestyle, or outdoor space, it could be a good reason to consider a new deck.
  10. Local building code changes: If your local building codes have changed since your deck was originally constructed, you may need to replace it to bring it up to code compliance.

Before deciding on a new deck, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional contractor or builder to assess the condition of your current deck and discuss your options. They can provide guidance on whether repair, refurbishment, or replacement is the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.

We have 20+ years of experience and are not in the business of selling people things they don’t need. We will tell it to you straight no matter how little we benefit from the answer.

<img src="Signs you need a new deck.jpg" alt="New deck versus old deck comparison"/>

Contact Decking Pro For Your No, Obligation quotation and Free Site Survey.