Deck Repair Costs: A Homeowner's Guide

Is your deck in need of repairs? Need to figure out the costs involved? Learn how to budget your DIY project effectively for your deck repair and avoid extra costs.
Veda Yalamanchili
Veda Yalamanchili
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Last Update:
May 10, 2024

Every homeowner cherishes their deck. It's more than just an architectural feature of your home. It's an extension of your living space, a place where you can relax, entertain, and create lasting memories with family and friends. But like any other part of your home, your deck requires regular maintenance and occasional repairs to stay safe, functional, and visually appealing.

When you step onto your deck, the last thing you want to worry about is a loose board underfoot or a faded, weather-worn surface. These are signs that your deck needs some attention. Deck repair is not just about maintaining the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space, but also about ensuring the safety and longevity of your deck. However, understanding the costs associated with deck repair can be complex. There are many factors to consider, from the extent of the damage and the type of repairs needed to the materials used and the size of the deck.

In this guide, we will demystify deck repair costs for homeowners. We will delve into the common issues that decks face, from weather damage and termite infestations to loose boards and faded surfaces. We'll provide a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in deck repair. So, whether you're considering a DIY deck repair project or hiring a professional deck contractor, you'll have the knowledge and confidence to make the best decisions for your home and your budget.

Understanding Deck Repair Costs

Deck repair costs

When it comes to deck building and maintenance, understanding the potential costs involved is crucial. Deck repair costs can vary greatly depending on several factors. Here, are some cost factors to give you a better idea of what you might expect to spend on your deck repair project.

1. Extent of the Damage

The extent of the damage is often the first thing that comes to mind when considering deck repair costs. This factor is crucial because it directly influences the amount of work, materials, and time required for the repair.

Minor damages like a few loose or cracked deck boards might only require a simple replacement and can be relatively inexpensive. However, more severe damages such as structural issues with the joists or extensive termite damage can significantly increase the cost. In some cases, if the damage is too extensive, a complete deck replacement might be more cost-effective than repairing the existing one.

The cost of deck boards varies depending on the material. But on average deck boards can cost anywhere between $3 to $20 per square foot.

2. Deck Size

The size of your deck plays a significant role in the overall cost of repairs. Larger decks naturally have more surface area that may need to be repaired, which means more materials and more labor.

For example, if your deck spans the entire back of your house, it will require more deck boards, fasteners, and potentially more complex solutions for issues like water damage or termite infestations. On the other hand, a smaller deck, such as a townhouse balcony, might require less material and labor, thus reducing the cost.

Repairing a small 10x10 deck might cost around $400 to $1000, while a larger 20x20 deck could cost $1500 to $4000 or more.

3. Type of Material

The type of material your deck is made from can significantly impact the cost of repairs. Different decking materials have different costs, durability, and maintenance needs, all of which factor into the overall repair cost.

For instance, a natural wood deck might be less expensive to repair than a deck made from composite decking or PVC, simply because wood materials are generally cheaper. However, wood decks also tend to require more maintenance and may be more susceptible to issues like rot and pests, which could lead to higher costs in the long run.

Composite decking, while typically more expensive up front, is often more durable and requires less maintenance than wood, potentially saving you money over time. Similarly, PVC decking can be more expensive but offers benefits like high resistance to rot and insects.

4. Labor Costs

Deck repair

Labor costs are a significant part of any deck repair project if you’re hiring a professional. The cost of labor can vary widely depending on the complexity of the job, the rates of the contractor, and the region in which you live.

For simple jobs like replacing a few boards or fixing a railing, labor costs might be relatively low. However, for more complex tasks such as replacing joists or installing a new deck, the labor costs can be quite high. It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different contractors to ensure you’re getting a fair price.

Labor costs can vary widely, but on average, you might expect to pay between $30 and $60 per hour for a professional deck contractor. Of course, if you are taking up a DIY project, you can save on these project costs!

5. Extra Costs

1. Replacement Cost

In some cases, the damage to your deck might be so extensive that it’s more cost-effective to replace the entire deck rather than repair it. The replacement cost is typically higher than repair costs as it involves removing the old deck, preparing the site for a new deck, and the cost of new deck installation.

The cost of a new deck can vary greatly depending on the size of the deck, the materials used, and the design of the deck. For example, a large deck made from high-end materials like composite decking or ipe will cost significantly more than a small, simple wood deck.

2. Additional Repairs

Sometimes, it’s not just the deck boards that need repairing. Other parts of the deck, such as the deck railing, stairs, artificial grass on the deck, or even the underlying structure, might also need attention.

For instance, if your deck railing is loose or your deck stairs are unstable, these will need to be fixed as well. Similarly, if the joists (the horizontal supports that hold up the deck boards) are rotten or damaged, they will need to be replaced, which can add to the overall cost.

3. Pest Control

If your deck has been damaged by pests like termites, you might also need to consider the cost of pest control services. Termites and other wood-boring insects can cause significant damage to your deck, and simply repairing the deck might not be enough if the pests are still present. Professional pest control services can ensure that the pests are completely eradicated, preventing further damage in the future. The average cost for professional pest control services can range from $200 to $500 or more, depending on the extent of the infestation.

4. Maintenance Costs

Some decks might require additional maintenance, which can add to the overall cost. This can include regular power washing to remove dirt and mildew, sanding to smooth out rough spots, and refinishing to protect the wood and keep it looking its best. The cost of deck maintenance will depend on the size of your deck and the specific tasks required.

5. Location

Depending on where you live, the cost of materials and labor can vary. For example, in areas where the cost of living is high, you might expect to pay more for labor. Similarly, the cost of materials can vary depending on local availability. If you live in a region where certain types of wood are readily available, those materials might be less expensive than in areas where they have to be shipped.

6. Permits

In some cases, you might need a permit for deck repair or replacement. The cost of obtaining a permit can vary depending on your local regulations. It’s always a good idea to check with your local building department to see if a permit is required for your deck repair project. If a permit is required, you’ll need to factor this cost into your budget.

Common Deck Repairs & Estimated Costs

DIY vs. Contractor

While some minor deck repairs can be a DIY project, it's important to know when to call in a professional. Small fixes like replacing a few loose boards or tightening fasteners might be manageable for the handy homeowner. Also, if you have installed the deck by yourself, you should be able to fix it DIY. However, for major repairs or replacements, hiring a qualified deck contractor is recommended. Professionals have the necessary skills, experience, and tools to ensure the job is done correctly and safely.

Replacing Damaged Boards

Replacing damaged boards is a common deck repair. The cost to replace deck boards can vary depending on factors such as the type of wood used and the size of the project. For instance, pressure-treated wood is generally less expensive than exotic hardwoods. On average, homeowners might expect to pay between $5 and $15 per square foot for a wooden deck board replacement.

Deck Resurfacing/Refinishing

Over time, your deck may require resurfacing or refinishing. This can involve sanding the deck surface to remove the old finish and applying a new stain or sealant. The cost of this service can vary, but homeowners might expect to pay between $1 and $3 per square foot for deck refinishing. If your deck requires total resurfacing (i.e., replacing all the deck boards), the total cost can be significantly higher, potentially up to $15 per square foot or more, depending on the material used.

Deck Cleaning & Power Washing

Deck power cleaning

Regular cleaning and pressure washing can help maintain the appearance and longevity of your existing deck. Professional power washing services can remove dirt, and mildew, and pre-stain your deck for refinishing. The cost of professional power washing ranges from $0.3 to $0.8 per square foot. However, homeowners can also choose to power wash their decks as a DIY project, which would only require the cost of renting or buying a power washer and potentially a deck cleaning solution.

Deck Stairs Repair

Repairing damaged stairs involves replacing the treads or railings. The cost of this repair can vary depending on the extent of the damage and the material used. On average, homeowners might expect to pay between $25 and $300 per stair for repair. If the stairs are severely damaged, building entirely new stairs might be necessary, which can cost between $200 and $500 per stair, depending on the material and design.

Deck Railing Repair

Deck railing repair costs depend on the extent of the damage and the material of the railing. Loose posts can often be fixed by tightening the hardware or adding additional support, while rotten balusters may need to be replaced. On average, homeowners might expect to pay between $5 and $15 per linear foot for wood railing repairs. Please note that these are just rough estimates and actual costs can vary. It's always a good idea to get multiple quotes from professionals in your area to get a more accurate estimate for your specific project.

Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs)

What is the typical cost to replace a deck?

The cost of replacing a deck can vary significantly, depending largely on the size of the deck, the materials used, and the labor costs. On average, homeowners might expect to pay between $20 and $50 per square foot for a wood deck, and between $30 and $60 per square foot for a composite deck. However, these are just averages. The actual cost can be higher or lower depending on factors such as the complexity of the deck design, the condition of the existing deck structure, and the rates of the contractor you hire.

Is it worthwhile to repair a deck?

Deciding whether to repair or replace a deck depends on several factors. These include the age of the deck, the type of material it’s made from, and the extent of the damage. If the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of a new deck, it might be more cost-effective to replace the deck. However, if the deck is still structurally sound and the damage is relatively minor, repairing the deck could be a viable and more cost-effective option.

Why are my deck boards rotting?

Deck boards can rot due to a variety of reasons. The most common cause is prolonged exposure to moisture. Over time, water can seep into the wood, causing it to rot. Other factors that can contribute to deck board rot include poor ventilation, lack of regular maintenance, and infestations by wood-destroying pests like termites or carpenter ants.

How can I tell if my wood deck is rotten?

Several signs can indicate your wood deck is rotten. These include discolored or soft spots in the wood, a musty smell, or visible pests like termites. In some cases, the deck may also feel unstable or unsafe to walk on. If you’re unsure whether your deck is rotten, it’s best to consult a professional who can assess the condition of the deck and recommend the appropriate repairs.

Can I repair a section of a deck, or does the whole deck need to be replaced?

Whether you can repair a section of a deck or need to replace the whole deck depends on the extent and location of the damage. If the damage is confined to a specific area of the deck and the rest of the deck is in good condition, you may be able to just repair that section. However, if the damage is extensive or affects the structural integrity of the deck, it may be necessary to replace the entire deck. A professional deck contractor can assess the damage and recommend the best course of action.

Conclusion

Understanding the costs associated with deck repair is crucial for every homeowner. From the extent of the damage and the size of the deck to the type of material used and the cost of labor, there are numerous factors that can influence the final price tag of your deck repair project.

While we've provided the most common cost estimates in this guide, please note that actual costs can vary greatly depending on your specific situation. For more detailed estimates, consider contacting us at Ergeon or check out our other articles on deck repairs.

Also, while DIY repairs can be a cost-effective solution for minor fixes, major repairs should always be left to the professionals. A qualified deck contractor can ensure the job is done correctly and safely, and can often provide a more accurate estimate for your specific project. So, don't let a wobbly deck board or a faded deck surface spoil your outdoor living. Invest in its upkeep and enjoy the benefits of a beautiful, safe, and functional outdoor living area.

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