How to Identify Common Deck Problems and When to Call a Pro

How to Identify Common Deck Problems and When to Call a Pro

Decks have long been a cherished addition to homes in Des Moines, offering a delightful space to savor those picturesque sunsets or host gatherings with friends and family. Yet, just like any other part of your home, decks in Des Moines demand attention and care to endure the ever-changing Iowa weather. This article will explore common deck problems, how to identify them, and, crucially, when it’s time to call in a professional Des Moines handyman.

Check for Rotting Wood

One of the most prevalent issues that deck owners encounter is wood rot. Rotting wood can compromise the structural integrity of your deck and create safety hazards. To identify this problem, inspect your deck’s wooden components, including the posts, beams, and floorboards. Look for signs of discoloration, softness, or fungal growth. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to call a professional.

Beware of Loose or Wobbly Railings

Safety is paramount when it comes to decks, and wobbly or loose railings pose a significant risk, especially if you have children or elderly individuals using the space. Give your deck railings a gentle shake to check for stability. If they move excessively, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure they are securely fastened.

Inspect for Cracked or Warped Floorboards

Over time, deck floorboards can crack or warp due to exposure to the elements. Take a walk on your deck and carefully examine the surface. If you notice any boards that are uneven, splintered, or cracked, it’s essential to replace them promptly. Damaged floorboards not only detract from your deck’s appearance but can also be hazardous.

Keep an Eye on Fading or Peeling Stain

Deck stain provides protection against moisture and UV rays, which can lead to wood damage. If you notice that your deck’s stain is fading, peeling, or bubbling, it’s a sign that the wood may not be adequately protected. Re-staining your deck is essential to maintain its longevity, and it’s a job best left to professionals for a flawless finish.

Look for Rust on Hardware

Decks are constructed using various hardware components like screws, nails, and brackets. These can rust over time, compromising their strength. Inspect your deck for any signs of rust on these elements. If you find rusted hardware, it’s advisable to call a professional to replace them with corrosion-resistant alternatives.

Check for Pests and Infestations

Pests, such as termites and carpenter ants, can wreak havoc on your deck’s wooden structure. Keep an eye out for small holes, sawdust piles, or audible noises coming from the wood. If you suspect an infestation, it’s crucial to contact a pest control professional immediately. Ignoring this problem can lead to extensive and expensive damage.

Assess Foundation and Footings

The foundation and footings are the backbone of your deck’s stability. Check for signs of sinking, shifting, or cracks in the concrete footings. If you notice any of these issues or suspect an unstable foundation, consult a structural engineer or deck professional to evaluate and rectify the problem.

Observe Water Ponding

Water ponding on your deck is a clear sign of drainage issues. Proper drainage is crucial to prevent water damage and rot. If water accumulates and doesn’t drain away within a reasonable time, you may need to consider consulting a professional to address drainage problems and prevent further damage.

When to Call a Pro

While some minor deck maintenance tasks can be handled by homeowners, there are situations where calling a professional is the wisest choice. Here are some scenarios when you should reach out to a deck expert:

Structural Issues: If you suspect problems with the deck’s foundation, support beams, or framing, it’s essential to call a professional Des Moines handyman who can assess and address these concerns to ensure safety.

Complex Repairs: When you encounter extensive damage, such as rotting wood, significant board replacements, or intricate repairs, a professional with the necessary tools and expertise is your best bet.

Safety Concerns: If you’re uncertain about the safety of your deck due to issues like loose railings or unstable stairs, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance to prevent accidents.

Permit and Code Compliance: When planning major renovations or building a new deck, it’s crucial to consult a professional who can ensure your project complies with local building codes and regulations.


In conclusion, maintaining your deck is essential to prolong its lifespan and ensure safety. Regular inspections can help you identify common problems early, but when in doubt or faced with significant issues, don’t hesitate to call a professional. By doing so, you’ll not only protect your investment but also enjoy your deck with peace of mind for years to come.