Best Ways To Fixing Rotting Deck Boards

There’s no denying, the sight of rotting deck boards is an eyesore for any homeowner.

And we’re sure you did know that not addressing this problem promptly can cause further damage to your deck’s structure. For example, it can weaken the posts and the decking boards, causing them to fail when stepping on them.

This blog will guide you through deck wood rot repair and practical steps to bring life back to your deck.

Let’s dive in!

rotting deck boards

Key Takeaways

How to Replace Deck Boards

The first step in your wood deck rot repair is removing the rotted deck boards using a pry bar or claw hammer. Next, inspect the underlying structure for additional damage. Check the joists as well and reinforce them if necessary to ensure stability. Measure and cut new boards that match your existing ones.

Finally, install the new deck boards firmly in place with screws for a secure and even surface.

Remove the damaged boards

Initiating the repair process involves taking away those deck boards that show signs of decay. Here are the steps to carry out this task:

  1. First, identify all rotting deck boards across your deck area.
  2. Use a pry bar or screwdriver to carefully remove each damaged board.
  3. Be extra cautious not to damage intact boards around the rotten ones.
  4. Place all removed boards away from your work area for safety reasons.
  5. Assess all extracted deck boards for possible reuse if only partially damaged.
  6. Dispose properly of fully rotten boards according to local waste management laws.

Inspect and reinforce the underlying structure

Your deck’s structure is just as important as its surface. To ensure your deck remains safe and sturdy, you need to inspect and reinforce its underlying structure.

  • Start by clearing away any debris from the deck framework.
  • Use a screwdriver or other pointed tool to probe the wood for signs of decay.
  • Particularly scrutinize critical areas such as posts, joists, and ledgers.
  • Check harder-to-reach parts with a torchlight if necessary.
  • Pay attention to areas close to the ground or those that are typically damp.
  • Also look at places where different pieces of lumber connect.
  • If soft areas that crumble under pressure are discovered, it indicates deck wood rot repair may be required.
  • Seek professional help for serious structural issues or replacing rotted deck boards.
  • Strengthen weak sections with metal braces or additional wood supports.
  • Replace any deteriorating fasteners with new ones made for outdoor use.
  • Preserve your restructured outdoor space by treating it against dry rot deck invasion.

Cut and install new deck boards

Cutting and installing new deck boards replaces the rotten area, restoring your deck’s strength and appearance. Follow these steps:

  1. Gather all necessary tools, including a circular saw, drill, measuring tape, and deck screws.
  2. Measure the length of the hole left by the removed rotted boards.
  3. Use a circular saw to cut new board(s) according to your measurements.
  4. Fit the new piece into space tightly ensuring no movement.
  5. Drill pilot holes in order not to split the wood while attaching it with screws.
  6. Secure the board firmly in place using deck screws.
deck restoration and repair service in Omaha, NE

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Rotting Deck Boards

Most decks that face rotted wood are pressure treated wood decks. This material, although treated against insects and water, is still prone to being damaged in a very short time. Compared to composite decking materials, pressure treated wood rot is very common.

Regularly clean and inspect your deck

Adopting a consistent deck routine is crucial for every homeowner.

  1. Set aside regular intervals for cleaning your deck. This can prevent the buildup of dirt and mildew, common contributors to wood rot.
  2. Use a specialized deck cleaner suitable for your deck’s material during each cleaning session.
  3. Make it a habit to inspect your deck thoroughly as part of your cleaning routine. Keep an eye out for signs of rot or damage in all places including hidden sections.
  4. Take immediate action if you notice soft, discolored, or crumbling wood while inspecting, as this could be a sign of deck wood rot.
  5. After cleaning and drying the deck, consider applying a protective sealant suitable for your decking material and weather conditions.

Apply wood sealant or stain

Taking care of your deck involves consistent maintenance. One key element is applying wood sealant or stain on the entire deck to preserve the surface. This doesn’t repair rotting deck boards, but it does a good job of stopping the rotten wood from getting worse.

  • Choose a high-quality, water-repellent sealant or stain
  • Prepare the deck by sweeping and washing it thoroughly
  • Let it dry before you apply the sealant or stain
  • Use a paintbrush or roller for an even apply
  • Allow ample time for covering all corners and crevices.
  • Plan this task during dry weather to allow proper drying
  • Mark your calendar to reapply every couple of years.

Address any drainage issues

Water pooling and poor drainage can speed up the deck rotting process. Taking steps to address these issues can help extend the longevity of your boards:

  • Install a proper gutter system: Direct water away from your deck with gutters and downspouts.
  • Use a rain escape system: This type of deck drainage system prevents water from dripping through the decking boards onto the area below.
  • Opt for a slight slope: When installing your deck, make sure it slopes slightly away from your house to encourage proper drainage.
  • Regularly clear debris: Leaves and other debris can block drain holes, leading to water pooling on your deck.
  • Consider a wood or composite plug system: These are designed specifically for decks to stop water from penetrating into wood materials.

Professional Help and Cost Considerations

Deck repairs can get complex, necessitating the expertise of professionals. A rotting deck is very rarely something you can fix yourself, especially if the problem is consistent throughout the deck. In that case, you’ll want a carpenter to help you out.

When to seek professional assistance

Rotting deck repair might seem straightforward but could escalate into a time-intensive and complex job. The severity of the wood damage often determines when it’s best to call in professionals to replace rotted deck boards.

Severe cases of underwater or structural elements comprise the integrity of your outdoor space, demanding an expert touch. Professionals also come in handy if you can’t find suitable wood filler options for minor damages or lack enough expertise and proper tools to rectify dry rot deck issues effectively and safely.

Enlist professional assistance if infestation by pests is preceding your deck problems since they know how to identify and eradicate such threats efficiently.

Budgeting For Deck Wood rot repair And Replacements

Budgeting for deck repairs and replacements is crucial for homeowners. Here’s a rough estimate to guide you.

Repair/Replacement Item Estimated Cost
Deck Board Replacement $5 - $15 per square foot
Repair of a Small Section $500 - $2000
Complete Deck Repair $1,500 - $5,000
Complete Deck Replacement $4,000 - $11,000
Professional Inspection $100 - $500
Professional Repair/Replacement Services $50 - $100 per hour
Preventive Maintenance (Cleaning and Sealing) $1 - $5 per square foot

Please note that these estimates might vary based on the complexity of the work, materials used, size of the deck, and your geographical location. To get a more precise quote, it’s best to reach out to several local professionals and compare their pricing.

deck drainage system repair


With a vigilant eye and consistent maintenance, homeowners can extend the life of their decks. Opting for professional help may seem like an added expense, but it ensures accurate repairs while eliminating guesswork.

Fixing rotting decks is difficult, and oftentimes it is too late for many of the decks we’ve worked on. If you’ve postponed this repair for too long, it’s very likely that you’ll need a thorough repair, maybe even a complete replacement.

The best way to find out is get us for an in-depth inspection of your deck in Omaha.

Get in touch by calling us at (402) 369-5724 or request a free quote by filling out the form on this page.