How to Save Rotting Decking

Rotting decking is a common problem for homeowners, especially those unfortunate enough to live in areas that receive heavy rain. Decking boards rot because they are made of wood, and the rainwater seeps into them, making it difficult for the board to dry out.

Deck boards can be a pain to replace. This is especially true if the deck has been around for years and needs a little TLC, or you’ve inherited an older home with a deck that desperately needs some love.

How to Save Rotting Decking

If the boards are rotting, it can be difficult to tell which planks need replacing and which will last another season. So, this article is for you. You will learn how to save rotting decking with just one simple trick!

Step to Follow on How to Save Rotting Decking

Step One: Determine what is rotting your decking.

If you are trying to save your deck, the first step you need to take is finding out why it’s rotting.  Since pressure-treated wood can rot under certain conditions, you should check to ensure your lumber is treated.  If the lumber is treated, you need to find out what type of rot it has and treat it from there.  

However, if you don’t notice any rot and the lumber is not pressure-treated, it’s most likely weather-related. Usually, when decks rot, there has been a lot of water accumulation on the surface, which causes the wood to be excessively wet.

Step Two: Investigate the rot.

If you have determined that your deck is rotting, then it’s time to investigate. First, unscrew a couple of boards and check inside for rotten wood. If there isn’t any wood in the cross-section, as seen in the picture above, then you need to do something about the water on your deck’s surface.  

Investigate the Rot

Either you need to replace the existing boards or add a roof over the decking area so that water won’t accumulate any more. If there is rotten wood in your cross-section, then it needs to be taken out. Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves when handling old rotting lumber because splinters can break off easily.

Step Three: Find out the best way to save your deck.

If you are trying to save rotting lumber, it’s important to find out any potential for future damage. For example, if the wood around the rotten section needs replacing too, you need to replace it soon, or more rot will occur and damage your decking further.  

It would be best to replace rotten boards that are too far gone, but if you want to try and save them, you must put some water-repelling material over the decking area. Again, the cheapest solution would be tarpaper because it’s not expensive and can be easily replaced when needed.

Step Four: Use a rot-inhibiting treatment.

If you want to save your decking, using a chemical treatment is the best way to go. It’s not ideal for all decks, but it can be implemented on certain surfaces depending on their type of weather exposure and their design. It would help if you looked into applying copper-based preservatives or aluminum-based fungicides to the surface of your deck and joists.

If you need help, professionals can be contacted for advice or a quote on how much it may cost to save your decking by treating it with chemicals. However, if you would rather do it yourself, then be sure to read the product’s label thoroughly since many factors need to be considered, such as type of decking, amount of chemicals needed, and how long it will take.

Step Five: Replace rotten boards.

Once a water-repelling substance has been applied to your decking, it’s time to replace those rotten boards. Again, it would be best to hire a professional, but if you want to do it yourself, you must follow some safety tips, such as wearing goggles and gloves while removing any splinters that may break off the wood.

Replacing the Rotten Boards

Stain or paint the decking before you replace any boards to prevent any future damage. Also, make sure that your deck’s surface is even across its entire length and width after replacing rotting boards because an uneven surface will cause difficulties when walking on it.

Step Six: Maintain your decking.

Since water is most likely the cause of your rotting deck, it’s best to start maintaining your decking before any future damage occurs. Make sure that after heavy rains or long periods of snow accumulation, you sweep off all debris from your deck to prevent too much stress on the boards.

It would also be a good idea to check your roofing system for water not to accumulate on your deck. If you don’t have a roof over your deck, invest in one so that there is no more worry about water-related damage or rot on your decking. These steps should help you in learning how to save rotting decking.

Step Seven: Make sure to stain or paint your decking.

If your deck has not been treated with a preservative, then you’ll need to buy the appropriate materials to do so. When staining or painting any wood used on decks, make sure that it contains copper or aluminum as an ingredient. These are rot-inhibiting treatments that are available in many types of wood stains.

Stain Replaced Deck Boards

There are also chemical treatments, which can be purchased to treat your decking if you did not already do so. However, since it’s hard to tell how many chemicals you will need, the amount of chemicals recommended on the product label is usually enough for small decks or porches.

Step Eight: Protect your deck from the elements.

Once you’ve saved your decking, it’s important to protect it from future damage by ensuring that it is not directly exposed to too much sunlight or moisture. This means that if you want to leave your deck in its natural state or paint it, then avoid applying any coating that prohibits the wood from breathing.

It’s also a good idea to store any objects that may cause water damage away from your deck and on the ground below it. For example, if you have stairs leading up to your deck, make sure that they don’t allow water to run underneath them and onto your decking since this can cause rot. Again, this will help in how to save rotting decking.

Step Nine: Enjoy your decking.

You finally saved your deck from any damage, and you can now enjoy it worry-free! It’s a great feeling to know that nobody else will ever have to go through repairing the rotting decking of their home or business but you. If you follow these simple steps to save your deck, there is no reason you won’t succeed.

But if you want to hire a professional, then make sure that they are experienced in repairing different decks and have dealt with rot issues in the past. Then, no matter what type of decking you have, whether it’s wooden or synthetic, you can find the appropriate products that will help you restore it to its original state.

Frequently Asked Question

Why Are My Deck Boards Rotting?

If your deck boards are rotting, it is possible that you have a mold problem. You can use an air conditioner to dry out the moisture in the area where the boards are rotting, and if there is still no change, you should contact a professional.

Deck Boards Are Rotting

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Wood Deck?

A wood deck can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years. It is usually recommended that you use pressure-treated lumber and make sure it has been sealed with a water-based sealant, which will prevent moisture damage over time.

Can I Leave My Deck Untreated?

There are two ways to build a deck. The first is to start with treated lumber and then treat it with a wood preservative or finish the wood before building. The second is to build your deck using untreated lumber and seal it with an exterior stain or paint before the finishing process.

What Happens if You Don’t Seal Your Deck?

There are a few different things that can happen if you don’t seal your deck.

  1. Your deck will start to warp and eventually collapse.
  2. The wood will rot and become weaker, which could cause the deck to fall apart at any time, causing injury or death of someone who is on it.
  3. The moisture in the air may cause mildew and mold to grow on the surface of the wood, which can also cause damage over time as well as make your deck less stable and harder to maintain.


It may not be a glamorous project, but deck repair is necessary to preserve the value of your home. Luckily for you, we’ve provided some helpful tips and information on how to save rotting decking in our blog today.

We hope these insights about preventing rot will help you make an informed decision when it comes time to invest in this much-needed fix. We would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave us a comment in the section provided below.

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