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Tips for Deck Repair and Refinishing

When summer rolls around, there’s nothing better than relaxing outside with the grill sizzling, kids and dogs romping around, and friends gathered together to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Here in Michigan we don’t have the luxury of warm weather all year round, so by the time spring arrives everyone is dreaming of those balmy summer days and nights outside. But if your deck is not in good shape, needs refinishing, or doesn’t suit your needs, it can really put a damper on summer fun.

Don’t despair just yet! We have some tips for getting your outdoor living spaces in great condition for summer, and spring is the perfect time to make it happen.

Before you start dreaming about modifications or improvements, it’s important to get your existing deck or porch in solid condition so you can extend its life and be sure it’s safe to use.

But does your deck actually need fixing? Can you handle the repairs yourself, or should you call in a professional handyman? In this section, we’ll cover the signs and symptoms that indicate your deck needs repair and give you some tips on which issues you can handle and which ones need the help of a pro.

Signs That You Need Repairs

If the wood is crumbling beneath your feet, you know it needs some serious attention. But, sometimes the symptoms of a deck in need of repair are a little less obvious or easier to overlook.

Here are some red flags that indicate your deck is calling out for help:

  • Boards are cracked, broken, or splintered

  • Wood appears spongy or stringy, or is breaking into cube shaped bits, and is soft to the touch

  • Boards creak and/or dip down when stepped on

  • Railings are loose and wobbly

  • Nails and screws are sticking up or out

  • Concrete deck footings are sinking or heaving

  • Soil is eroding around the posts

  • Paint or stain is peeling and chipping

  • Sealant has worn away, leaving the timber exposed

DIY Projects

If you like to get your hands dirty with do-it-yourself projects once in a while and you own some basic tools, there are some things you can do on your own. But, if you're not the handyman type or don't have the time and equipment, you can count on My Handyman of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Chelsea to take care of both large and small repairs.

Fill and Seal Cracks

Small cracks in wood boards are usually a normal part of aging, but they look unattractive and can lead to splinters or leave the wood vulnerable to rot. If they're smaller than about six inches long, you can go ahead and fill them in with latex wood filler and cover your deck with sealant.

If the cracks are bigger than six inches, pry up the deck board and take a look on the other side. If it has no cracks on the back, flip it over and nail it back in place—just like flipping a stained couch cushion. But if it's cracked on both sides, it'll need to be discarded and replaced with a new plank.

Secure Loose Railings

Handrails are a safety measure that stop people from stumbling right off the edge of the deck, so it's important to keep them firmly in place. Over time, they can loosen due to pressure from people leaning on them, snow piling on top, and so on.

Check to see if the source of the problem is the places where the railing meets a wall or where it joins with another stretch of railing at a corner. If the wood is pulling away from nails or screws (on account of prolonged pressure), remove those nails or screws and replace them. Next, hammer the new nails in a place where the wood hasn't been affected.

Sand and Refinish Peeling Areas

If you notice a few smaller areas where the paint or stain is starting to peel off the wood, it's fairly easy to patch those spots, so they don't spread further and leave the wood vulnerable to damage.

Take a piece of coarse or medium grit sandpaper and sand the area to remove any loose bits of paint or stain, then reapply the paint or stain.

After the paint or stain dries thoroughly, apply a sealant to protect the wood and finish. You could just seal the areas you refinished, but you might as well do the whole area since it probably needs it and it'll save you more repairs down the road.

Leave It to the Pros

Unless you're a very experienced handyman, there are some things that are better left to the professionals. Some repairs can be dangerous for amateurs who don't know what to watch for, while other issues are difficult to detect and can go unrepaired. And, often specialized equipment is required that is expensive to rent (or buy) and tricky to use.

The reliable team at My Handyman has the experience, tools, and know-how to carry out repairs and refinishing projects—perfecting your outdoor living space for the summer.

As a locally owned and operated business, we are familiar with the issues that affect homes in the area, and we'll be able to track problems to the source and eliminate them for good.

Repair and refinishing services we can handle for your deck or porch include:

  • Wood rot repair

  • Painting or staining

  • Sanding and refinishing

  • Securing or constructing railings

  • Reinforcing footings

  • Adding built-in seating

If your old outdoor living space isn't going to cut it, or you don't have one to begin with, we'll build your dream deck from the ground up!

Rely on My Handyman to Get Your Deck Ready for the Summer!

Don't let your dreams of the ideal outdoor living space fade away in the summer sun. My Handyman will get your deck in perfect condition so all you have to do is sit back and watch the sun go down.


Give us a call today at 734-666-3021 or fill out our Request Service form, and we'll show you why we're Greater Ann Arbor's most trusted handyman service!