Structural integrity risks for decks and patios: Everything you need to know

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a summer evening from the comfort of your home’s outdoor space. For North Florida homes, outdoor decks and patios often feel like the height of luxury. However, these home investments represent some of the most easily threatened structures on our properties. Because of the humidity and heat of Florida–not to mention, hurricane season!–decks and patios are at risk for major structural integrity issues. Luckily, these issues are easy to spot from afar–and easier still to prevent with regular outdoor maintenance.

What are the structural integrity risks associated with decks and patios? And how do we keep these issues from threatening our homes?

Regular inspection of your outdoor spaces identifies problems before they can cause major damage.

If you snag a home for sale or rent in Jacksonville, Florida, you should know the signs of proper outdoor maintenance. Regular inspections of your outdoor spaces–and by “regular,” we mean at least once per quarter, if not once a month–are a critical component of Florida living. Our high humidity and high temperatures make wood and metal vulnerable to mold, rot, and corrosion. As with all outdoor maintenance procedures, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Here are the signs your deck or patio might be unsafe:

  • The connections (i.e. any part of your deck/patio that’s connected to another part, like railings or stairs) are loose.
  • Stairs, railings, or floorboards are missing.
  • Your pavers are warped or sinking, or have plants growing in the margins.
  • You see rust and other signs of corrosion (as in, rusted metal fittings or corroded fasteners).
  • An elevated structure is leaning or wobbly (this implies the posts are off-center in their footings).
  • The deck posts are missing metal base plates or concrete footers (in other words, the posts are coming into direct contact with the dirt or concrete, without a protective base plate).

If at any point, you step onto your deck or patio and hear loud creaking or snapping, or feel the surface shifting under your feet, WALK AWAY. This is a sign that your outdoor space could collapse. Stay off the deck or patio until you’ve had it inspected by a reliable outdoor maintenance technician.

Investing in cleaning, upkeep, and maintenance prevents costly repairs.

Besides raising the curb appeal and value of your home, regular outdoor maintenance and cleaning prevents costly repair bills in the future. It’s just like keeping your kitchen clean: How much easier is it to wipe the counters down every day, compared to the amount of elbow grease you’d need to scrub away nasty stains after a month?

Here are some of the best outdoor maintenance practices for your deck or patio:

  • Paver sealing. This keeps your patio pavers looking as fresh as the day you installed them, while keeping out stains and water damage.
  • Pressure washing. These treatments keep mold and mildew at bay, while removing pesky stains and smells. Plus, regular cleanings reduce the risk of water damage! (Pro tip: Power washing is best for stone patios and decks–give soft washing a try for wood or other more finicky surfaces.)
  • Waterproofing. When water finds its way into pavers, wood, and other structures, the damage speaks for itself. Our team can seal pavers and other materials, restoring their original beauty. We will work with you to accomplish the look you’re envisioning, whether that’s a shiny or natural finish.
  • Algae and fungus removal. No one likes green gunk clogging up their outdoor spaces! Especially in high-humidity, high-temperature areas (we’re looking at you, Saint Johns County), buildup of these growths can be a major eyesore. Quarterly or semi-annual removals are the best way to keep these growths from impacting your outdoor space’s structural integrity.
  • Pool deck cleaning. No more bacteria, mold, or slippery stones! Between seasons, it’s a good idea to get a top-quality cleaning of your pool deck.

Advanced outdoor maintenance scheduling helps you plan for the future.

The best way to protect your outdoor investments is to commit to regular maintenance. And the best way to commit to maintenance is to schedule it in advance! At Diamond Power Washing & Maintenance, we offer convenient, on-your-schedule services that can be worked into any outdoor maintenance budget. Regular maintenance services can be scheduled quarterly, semi-annually, annually, or whatever works best for you and your family.

Give us a call at (904) 747-4DPW (4379) or fill out our FREE online estimate to get started.


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