How Much Does Deck Repair Cost?
Don’t let a sagging deck bring you down. Plan your deck repair so you can enjoy your evenings on a beautiful deck again. The average deck repair cost is just $1,891.
- Typical Range: $790 to $3,050
- National Average: $1,891
A deck should be a comfortable space to enjoy those summer evenings with family and friends, not a squeaky or unstable surface. If you’ve noticed your deck is sagging in the center, the boards are uneven, or it’s looking rather unkempt overall, it’s probably time to consider repairing it. The amount of repair a deck needs will be a significant factor in deck repair cost.
That’s why the average cost can be as little as $790 or as high as $3,050. Most homeowners spend around $1,891 to repair a deck. Aside from the amount of repair needed, you’ll also need to take into consideration the overall size, materials, customizations, and labor. These and other factors are explained in more detail below.
Factors in Calculating Deck Repair Cost
Decks come in all shapes and sizes, which is why the price range for deck repairs is so wide. The size, materials, labor, delivery fees, extent of the repair, and even your location will affect the cost to repair a deck. In some cases, you may need to have the deck entirely replaced.
Smaller decks that measure 8 feet by 8 feet are easier and cheaper to repair or replace than larger 15-foot by 20-foot decks. The first question a deck repair pro asks will likely be about the size of the deck and then the materials, so you’ll want to have this information handy. On average, you’ll pay between $10 and $50 per square foot for deck repair costs.
The material of your deck will also affect the price since some materials are much more expensive than others; an average range is $3 to $45 per square foot. Many homeowners prefer cedar planks since they are cheaper and fairly durable, but others prefer more expensive composite or recycled materials that resist weathering and last longer.
Labor and Permit Costs
Labor will make up a portion of the cost to replace a deck or repair it, and the cost depends on current market rates and how long it will take to repair the deck. Usually, you’ll pay $100 to $500 for labor, but this cost could increase for a deck replacement.
Deck repairs don’t usually require a permit, especially if the repairs are minor. However, suppose significant changes are made, like increasing the deck size or upgrading it to add utilities for an outdoor kitchen. In that case, you’ll need to inquire with local authorities about permits.
If your deck is in need of significant repair, you might need a lot of materials delivered to your house. Delivery fees could run at least $50. Some deck repair companies will include this in their total prices, or this could be a separate fee if the lumber company delivers the wood directly.
Type and Extent of Repair
Some deck repairs are as simple as sanding and staining a weathered deck. Other times, you might need to factor in the cost of replacing deck boards if they are warped or damaged. The most expensive deck repairs will involve repairing the joists or the deck’s foundation. In this case, it’s difficult to know how to redo a deck for cheap, but it’s also worth having it done properly to ensure safety down the road. Most deck joists need to be inspected after 10 years.
Time of Year
It’s common to search for “deck repair near me” in late winter or early spring as you look forward to spending more time outdoors. But this is usually the most expensive time of year to do deck repairs since there is high demand to get decks in working order. Prices may be cheaper in the late summer into early winter when the need for repairs isn’t as high.
As you budget for deck repair costs, consider your location. The cost in urban areas tends to be more for construction projects than in rural or suburban areas. You’ll also see increased prices in areas with a lot of residential construction that puts more demand on resources and laborers.
Additional Costs and Considerations
After you’ve had a deck contractor review the current state of your deck, you’ll have a better idea about any additional costs for your project. A deck pro can help you determine whether repair or replacement is best, what prep work is involved, any demolition costs, and other considerations.
Repair vs. Replace
Repairing a deck can be a simple process if all that’s needed is a little staining and a new deck board or two. On the other hand, it can grow into a complex project with new stairs, railings, joists, and additional customizations. New materials will always increase the price, especially if you choose to upgrade your materials simultaneously. But the refresh might be a nice treat to enjoy. Expect to pay between $3 and $45 per square foot for materials f you plan to replace the same footprint. Increasing the size of the deck can cost more.
A deck pro will be able to estimate how much prep work is needed to start the project. For refinishing, the deck will need to be power washed and nearby items should be removed or covered for protection. But if a lot of the damaged deck will be removed, then the contractor will need more room to work as they remove damaged materials and haul them away. This will involve clearing a larger area surrounding the deck.
Deck demolition is sometimes the best route when dealing with a severely damaged or neglected deck. This usually involves removing all the old materials and even putting in new joists as they have probably outlived their prime. You’ll usually pay $5 to $15 per square foot for deck demolition and removal.
You might be considering a deck repair or replacement due to uneven terrain. The uneven terrain could have occurred after the deck was built due to a disaster event, or it could have been more gradual as one area of the ground sunk. In the case of uneven terrain, part of the repair process will need to include elevating the existing joist and decking or leveling the ground and starting over with new joists.
Termites and carpenter bees are the nemeses of wooden deck owners, so it’s essential to use pretreated woods or composite materials that are uninteresting to hungry insects. Before embarking on a major repair project, consider hiring a pest control company to do a quick inspection (for about $65 to $100) to see if there is insect damage or an infestation that needs attention.
Mold or Mildew Removal
Some areas are more prone to mold or mildew, and decks are no exception. These substances can be toxic to humans and pets, and they can also destroy the integrity of the wood over time. Depending on the extent of the damage, you might be able to have a professional power wash the deck for $0.25 to $1.50 per square foot or a flat fee of $100 to $200. If the damage is more significant, you might need to replace a few key deck pieces.
Sealing or Staining
Sealing or staining your deck is part of proper annual maintenance that is important for making sure your deck lasts for many years. A deck contractor can handle this task with ease for $1 to $5 per square foot.
Stairs and Railing Repair
Stairs and railings take longer to build, so they’re a major part of a deck cost estimator when building a new deck. Fortunately, repairing stairs can be an easier task, but it will still cost around $100 to $300 to anchor or replace stairs. On the other hand, repairing railings can become costly depending on the type of railings you have and the extent of the damage. Expect to spend an extra $500 to $4,000 here.
Sometimes it’s worth considering the cost of any customizations you’d like for the deck while it’s being repaired. This could include a wide range of items and conveniences: misters, built-in benches, wider stairs, pergola, kitchen, fireplace, or heaters. Adding a kitchen would significantly increase your costs, and anything that requires electricity will require the help of an electrician.
Some companies will charge for disposing of your old materials, especially if the project was a full demolition. This cost could run as high as $500, but it’s best to ask the deck contractor specifically, even if there’s only a small amount of deck waste.
Types of Deck Repair
A deck installer can provide an accurate assessment of your deck’s condition so you know exactly what needs attention. You can expect the following areas to be assessed for repair or replacement.
Resurfacing a deck is like giving it a complete makeover. A pro will replace the major pieces like deck boards, stairs, and railings but leave the base intact. The deck will appear brand new and refreshed. This often costs $15 to $50 per square foot.
Refurbishing a deck is more of a face-lift. This process will sand or stain areas that need a refresh, replace worn-out nails, and tidy up the overall appearance with a little cleaning. You’ll pay around $150 to $1,000 for a deck refurbish.
If you’ve spotted a couple of damaged boards, you might have wondered how to replace deck boards. Sometimes they can be repaired with some sanding and epoxy to fill cracks and holes, but other times they’ll need to be replaced. This can cost between $10 and $35 per square foot.
Railings are one of the more costly deck repairs because there are more pieces involved, they can be customized, and they can be difficult to access. Sometimes railings can simply be patched, but in many cases they’ll need to be replaced for an average cost of $25 to $100 per linear foot.
Wobbly stairs are a danger for anyone using them, so it’s important to get them repaired and anchored quickly. Stair repairs could cost $15 to $40 per step or $100 to $300 overall to anchor the steps.
Mold removal could involve a thorough power washing or full replacement of the infected area. You could hire a professional or rent the equipment yourself for $40 to $75 per day, plus cleaning supplies. Replacing the moldy area will be more labor-intensive, especially if the mold has affected any framework. It could cost between $200 and $500 to repair.
Pressure Washing and Staining
Power or pressure washing usually costs $0.25 to $1.50 per square foot or a flat fee of $100 to $200. This is important to do before staining the deck, which costs $1 to $5 per square foot.
If there’s a pest infestation, you’ll need to have a pest control pro visit your deck. They may charge $65 to $100 for the inspection and report, but the repairs for damaged wood and joists often cost between $200 and $600.
Do I Need to Repair My Deck?
Sometimes a deck doesn’t have visible issues like warped boards, broken railings, or mold. However, a deck that’s at least a decade old should at least have the joists inspected to ensure it’s still structurally sound. That inspection could also reveal any hidden pest infestations. Otherwise, most decks will have more obvious signs of repair and getting them back up to par will be essential for enjoying your deck safely and comfortably.
Wobbly stairs are a safety hazard even for people who are steady on their feet. Sometimes a board comes a little loose due to a nail coming loose, but other times, the entire structure of the stairs has become compromised and needs to be anchored again. This ensures safe passage for anyone trusting the step to hold their weight for that crucial moment.
Wooden deck boards will eventually wear out and become unstable. They could warp or begin cracking and peeling, making them risky to walk on. If you store heavy items on your deck like shelves or an outdoor firepit, those damaged boards could crack even more quickly, so it’s best to get them repaired before there’s an issue.
Granted, we don’t use the railings nearly as often compared to how much we walk on a deck, but when the steadiness of a railing is needed, it shouldn’t fail us. Any significant movement in a railing should be addressed properly so that it can withstand anyone leaning against it. For multistory decks, railings are a major safety concern, as a fall from a second story will result in serious injury. Make sure to inspect the integrity of your railings throughout the year so they can be repaired in time.
Older wooden decks are prone to rotting due to the age of the wood. This is especially common in areas with high humidity. A rotten deck will need to be inspected carefully to see if the framework is also damaged as any rot becomes a risk to walk on. It’s also best to see if there is a solution to prevent frequent drainage that causes repeated rotting in certain areas. Solving that will help you enjoy your deck longer.
Loose or Missing Nails or Screws
The mysterious force that causes screws and nails to disappear over time also exerts its influence on decks. The risk of having stairs, deck boards, or railings that are missing screws is how unstable the area becomes. It’s easy to trip on a board that’s not flush with the others, and stairs and railings will grow less stable over time without each necessary screw or nail.
Pest damage can be hard to detect, and it may seem insignificant at first. But when left unchecked, pest or termite damage can ruin the structural integrity of even just a portion of a deck until it collapses under the weight of people or objects.
Deck Repair: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Some deck repairs are quite easy for a homeowner to do as part of their regular maintenance. For instance, it’s a good idea to add any missing screws or nails when it’s clear that there isn’t other significant damage that caused a problem. And if only a rail or two is damaged, and you’re good at tackling DIY tasks, you could even replace a few railings. Many homeowners also take on the job of power washing and staining their decks each year. But beyond these basic tasks, most deck repairs are best left to a deck contractor.
Deck installation companies have more expertise at building stable stairs, inspecting joists and frameworks, and installing any customizations you might want. Particularly when there is foundational work to repair, it’s a good idea to have an experienced professional assess and decide the best course of action. The deck might need replacing in some areas, which is a much bigger task. And for those larger jobs, the contractor might be able to get a volume discount on the materials. It’s also helpful that a reputable company will have the time to commit to this project so it can be done quickly.
How to Save Money on Deck Repair
If you’ve researched “How much are decks?” you’ll know that the cost to build a deck averages $7,696. Fortunately, repairing a deck is much cheaper, but there are still ways to save on deck repair cost.
- Consider whether it’s a simple task you can do on your own such as cleaning and staining or adding nails.
- Plan ahead and have the deck repaired during the cooler months when demand is lower for contractors.
- Compare the cost of materials when supplied by the deck contractor or purchased on your own.
- Complete some of the deck demolition on your own if you can do so safely. You might still need to pay for disposal fees, though.
- Be sure to keep up with regular maintenance as that’s the best way to help a deck last longer.
- Always get quotes from multiple deck contractors.
- Sign up for newsletters and follow decking companies on social media to watch for sales.
- Ask about discounts for military or seniors.
- See if the company can offer a volume discount if you and a neighbor need to repair a deck at the same time.
Questions to Ask About Deck Repair
You’ll want to feel comfortable asking the right questions as you speak with a deck pro. Always ensure that the company is licensed, bonded, and insured. Then consider which of the following questions can help you find the right pro and determine the cost and scope of your deck repair.
- Do you have references I can speak with and a portfolio to view?
- Do you provide a free on-site assessment?
- Can I review a line-item estimate first?
- Will any payment be required up front, or will you bill me at the end of the job?
- How can I know whether my foundation needs repair or not?
- Will my deck need repair or replacing?
- What kind of deck materials are you familiar with?
- What are the pros and cons to using the same type of material for repairs instead of installing a new material?
- What do you charge to demo a deck? And does that include disposal fees?
- What will it cost to repair my deck?
- What kind of issues could arise during the repair, and how would you handle them?
- Will a supervisor always be on-site?
- What if I want to add a new feature or increase the size of the deck?
- Can you also build an outdoor kitchen?
- What do you charge to stain or seal the new deck?
- Will we have to wait after the deck is installed to stain or seal it?
- How long will the repair take?
- Will I need a permit?
- Do you have a warranty or guarantee?
Deck repair costs are fairly straightforward since there are only so many elements to a deck. Once you know the kind of repair you need, a deck pro should be able to provide a clear quote and plan for getting the job done. But in case you still have unanswered questions, read on to learn the answers to frequently asked questions.
Q. How do I know if my wood deck is rotten?
The first thing to notice is any area that frequently pools with water much longer than the rest of the deck. Then you’ll want to take a small tool like a screwdriver and tap the area. If it feels soft compared to the wood around it, or if it has a mushy sound to it, then that part of the wood is rotten. It doesn’t mean the entire area needs to be replaced, but it’s worth replacing that deck board and inspecting the framework underneath to make sure it’s not also rotten.
Q. Why are my deck boards rotting?
The most common reason for decks to rot is water damage. Even pretreated wood can become a victim of water over time if the exposure is frequent and lengthy. Boards that begin to bend inward are more prone to rotting since water pools there naturally.
The other cause for rot is when a galvanized screw is driven deep into a pressure-treated board. The exposure of the chemicals causes an oxidation reaction with the screw or nail and begins to rot the area around the nail. It can continue to spread if the nail or screw is not removed and the area treated.
Q. How can I prevent the deck from rotting?
If you have an area with existing rot, it’s important to inspect any plumbing or structure that’s exposing the wood to water frequently. That will need to be repaired to prevent future issues after the repair. Otherwise, you should also keep your deck clean and have it sealed on a regular basis. Yearly staining and sealing is often recommended, though it could also happen every 2 to 3 years depending on the materials used.
Q. How long should a deck last?
Most wooden decks last 15 to 20 years when properly maintained, and composite decks can last 25 to 30 years—sometimes even up to 50 years, depending on the material.
Q. How do I know when to replace my deck?
Obvious signs of damage are the easiest way to know whether your deck needs replacing. That includes broken or warped stairs, railings, and deck boards. It’s harder to know whether the foundation needs replacing too, but a pro can do an inspection to verify its condition. Rotting wood that’s in more than a small location is another serious sign that your deck needs replacing.
Q. How long does a deck last on average?
If you have a wooden deck that’s regularly cleaned and stained, it should last 15 to 20 years. Decks that are made of more durable composite materials last at least 25 to 30 years.
Q. How much does deck repair cost on average?
It depends on the extent of the damage and the size of the deck—plus several other considerations. But most homeowners spend $1,891 for deck repair costs.