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How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Deck Or Its Boards

National Average Change Location | View National
$1,501
Typical Range
$698 - $2,304
Low End
$250
High End
$4,704

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On This Page:

  1. Common Deck Repair Costs
  2. Cost to Replace Deck Boards
  3. Taking Care of Your Deck
  4. Ways to Minimize Overall Cost

Deck repair is a common home improvement project that adds value to your home and enjoyment to your outdoor living space. There are many reasons that decks may need repair, from structural to cosmetic. Many people try to repair their own decks, which can be an economical option if you have carpentry experience. If, however, you have little to no experience with carpentry, you will save money and time by hiring a deck contractor to ensure everything is done correctly, and your deck meets important safety guidelines and requirements so you can enjoy it for years to come.

Deck Repair Cost Factors

Deck repair costs an average of $1,501 with many homeowners spending between $698 and $2,304. Although it requires an investment of time and money, it costs significantly less than replacement, as long as the deck is structurally intact and the wood is healthy. When your contractor inspects your deck, he or she will be able to tell you if it can be repaired or if you need to tear it out and start over. Here are some cost factors that play into the total cost of deck repair.

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Labor Costs

As with every project, labor costs must be considered. While sealing or replacing a broken board, other issues may become apparent based on the age of your deck and your geographical area. The possibility of unforeseen repairs is all the more reason to get several quotes from contractors before you begin your project, as contractors charge different rates for labor. Expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $500 for labor, depending on your location and the issue they’re addressing.

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Wood vs. Composite Decks

The type of material that composes your deck will play a big role in determining what repairs are necessary and on what timeline. While composite decks are becoming more popular, there’s just no denying the beauty and longevity of wood. Wood decks should last for several decades when properly maintained and cost less to install than composite ones.

Wood decks also increase the value of your home more and will typically recoup an average of 85.4 percent of its cost when the house is sold. In comparison, a composite deck will only recoup an average 77.6 percent of its total cost. Regardless of which type of material your current deck is made of, one or more of the following repairs will likely be required at some point:

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Deck Railing Repairs

Your railings might also need to be fixed or replaced to properly support your porch or deck if they are loose or broken. The cost for this project will vary depending on whether you have a simple or ornate railing, and whether just the rail needs to be replaced, or a trim rail, post end caps, balusters, etc. also need to be addressed. Depending on the complexity of the job and local rates and materials, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $4,000.

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Popped Nails and Screws

Your contractor may also replace or fix any missing or popped nails or screws that they notice. This is necessary to ensure safety, and will add minimal cost to your overall project. A deck generally needs eight screws per square foot. A pound of screws costs about $5, and there are about 150 screws in a pound, so the square-foot cost for screws is about $0.30.

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Anchoring Deck Stairs

If your deck stairs are loose, but structurally sound and made of healthy wood, a professional can simply anchor any loose steps by adding screws to the beams or installing metal brackets. This step will add a small cost to the overall project -- $100 to $300 depending on the number of stairs -- but will make your deck safer.

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Mold and Rot

When you bring someone out to check your deck, they will also check for mold and rot. If either is found, you may need to fix more than you originally planned. In addition to removing and repairing areas with dry rot, you will need to figure out the root cause of the problem, including drainage and plumbing issues.

If the area damaged by dry rot is not weight-bearing, you can repair it yourself by trimming away the damaged wood and filling it in with a putty-like two-part epoxy compound that hardens in place and can be sanded smooth. These epoxy compounds sell for about $35 to $70 a quart or $100 to $200 a gallon. Major brand names include LiquidWood and Boatlife GIT-Rot. An inexpensive one-component alternative is Minwax High Performance Wood Hardener, which costs $8 to $12 for a half-quart. If the rot covers a large and/or weight-bearing area, call a professional. On average, the cost to repair rotting wood ranges from $200 to $500 including parts and labor.

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Mildew Issues

Mold and mildew can build up in decks that haven’t been properly maintained and can generally be removed with a thorough power washing. This is one maintenance task you may be able to do yourself. Expect to pay from $40 to $75 per day to rent a power washer, plus $10 to $30 for cleaning supplies. Before you commit to the DIY option, be aware that incorrect power washing can ruin your deck’s appearance and potentially cause further damage

If you have your contractor do the work, expect to pay an additional $.25 to $1.50 per square foot, for an average cost of $80 to $480 for a 16-by-20-foot deck. Your contractor might also charge a cleaning fee, which can range from $100 to $200. Bottom line -- if your contractor tells you there’s mold, find out what the cost is to have it professionally cleaned, so you can decide if it is worth it or if you’d rather take care of the issue yourself.

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Pest Control

Be prepared to find other problems while your deck is repaired. If insects like termites are found, you may need to hire a pest control specialist to check the deck and surrounding areas before proceeding with your repair project. On average, it costs between $65 and $100 for a pest control company to perform an inspection and write a report.

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Common Deck Board Issues

Deck boards will sometimes have problems that you need to address before the whole deck is compromised and in need of more expensive repairs. In the worst case scenario, you might need to have most of the deck boards replaced. Some common issues you will see include:

  • Instability -- If the boards are unstable, one or more might need to be replaced. Replacing a few will generally cost between $500 and $4,000. Some companies charge a minimum of $1,000 for carpentry repairs, so be sure to get quotes.
  • Rotten wood -- If the wood is rotten to the point that it needs to be replaced, expect to pay between $500 and $1,000, depending on the type of wood and the contractor’s rate for labor.
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Replacement Deck Boards & Their Costs

If you are replacing one or more broken boards, the size and type will affect your cost. Boards around the offending board may also need to be replaced, and if it's expensive or hard-to-find, this may increase your expense. For this reason, it is advisable to consider potential replacement costs. Also take into account the longevity of different types of material. For example, a cheaper wood now might not be the best investment choice 10 years down the road.

Here are the most common types of deck boards for residential decks:

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Cedar Deck

Cedar is best known for its distinctive smell. This is a great choice for people located in extreme climates, because cedar continues producing its own oils years after being  processed into lumber, which keeps the wood in good shape. In addition, the oils help maintain that appealing cedar smell.

Cedar decks are often considered more visually appealing to homeowners in the short term, but without diligent cleaning and resealing, most cedar decks lose their rich color after a few years. Cedar decks generally last from 15 to 20 years, but they can deteriorate faster, particularly on the ground-floor and in shaded areas that take longer to dry out. The average material cost for cedar is $5 to $15 per square foot, for an estimated cost of $6,400 to $24,000 to replace a 16-by-20-foot deck.

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Treated Lumber

This is an excellent option for homeowners who don’t want to spend a lot of time on maintenance. While it doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal as cedar, treated decking is a premium choice for locations with consistent weather. One downside is that treated lumber doesn’t come in a wide range of color choices, but this can make the decision-making process easier.

Be aware that not all treated lumber is created equal. The low cost of some treated lumber can come at the expense of its visual appearance. Inexpensive treated wood often retains moisture, causing it to shrink unevenly and twist when it dries. More expensive options are kiln-dried before and after pressure treatment, making them less likely to warp. When properly maintained, this type of deck should last for decades. The cost for treated lumber ranges from $8 to $20 per square foot, for an estimated total replacement cost of $2,560 to $16,000 for a 16-by-20-foot deck.

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Redwood Boards

Redwood has a distinct, broad grain patterns that add visual appeal and ensure that every redwood deck is unique. Redwood is fairly easy to maintain and can last 15 to 30 years with proper maintenance. Redwood lumber hit an all-time high price in 2013, and the current average cost is $15 to $25 per square foot, making this formerly common deck material less popular these days. The estimated total replacement cost is $9,600 to $24,000 for a 16-by-20-foot Redwood deck.

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Hardwood Deck

This is the most durable option, with an estimated longevity of 30 to 50 years. It is also more expensive, coming in at a total estimated cost of $40 to $80 or more per square foot, or $12,800 to $25,600 to replace a 16-by-20-foot deck.

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Exotic Wood Boards

Exotic wood has become popular recently, as homeowners have sought alternatives to the above-mentioned traditional decking materials. While an exotic wood like Honduras mahogany will give your deck a unique look, it will also add a hefty cost to your overall budget.

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Composite Wood

Composite wood can be made out of many types of materials. Some are wood mixed with plastic. However some manufacturers will sell composites made entirely of plastic or plastic wrapped around wood. They can cost anywhere between $3,900 and $4,500 for a 12-by-18 deck, though you can get individual deck boards for $20 to $50 per square foot. Composite decks may cost less initially, but they have a lot of maintenance over the lifetime of the deck, especially if you install pressure-treated lumber. This includes cleaning and staining on a regular basis, along with any damage the deck might sustain.

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Taking Care of Your Deck

Staining and Sealing

Most contractors will stain and seal your deck about a month after they finish the project, to give the wood time to settle and adjust to the weather. This process can cost $1 to $5 per square foot for staining, and an additional $.50 to $7 per square foot for sealing, depending on local rates and the products being used. When you sign your contract, make sure to include this final step in the overall estimate so you aren’t surprised by the additional $640 to $1,120 cost for a 16-by-20-foot deck.

Taking the time to stain and seal is an important step for the overall health of your deck. Staining and sealing protects the wood by repelling damaging water while allowing the wood to breathe and transfer moisture.

  • Clear sealants are mainly water repellents and don't carry UV light protection. They have no pigments in their formula to filter out damaging sunlight.
  • Colored stains carry all the benefits of deck protection, including a UV light inhibitor.

A general rule of thumb is the more color, the more pigment, the more UV protection. Without UV protection, your deck may turn gray, costing you more money in the long run and leaving you with an unattractive deck.

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Cleaning and Proper Maintenance

To ensure that you don’t need to go through the whole process of repairing or replacing your deck again for the next few decades, make sure to properly clean and maintain it. It’s a good idea to set up a cleaning schedule to make sure your deck is getting the care it needs year-round.

  • Set aside time in the spring to give it a thorough wash, sweep and cleaning. Your contractor can recommend the best cleaner for your specific deck, which generally costs $10 to $30. Use the cleaner according to its specifications. For best results, choose a cloudy (but not rainy) day, so the sun won’t evaporate the cleaner.
  • Seal the deck in late spring, allowing two days for the task. During this step, replace any missing or popped nails and screws, and lightly sand the deck.
  • During summer, examine your deck for rot or mildew. Pay extra attention to the ledger, joists, posts and beams.
  • In the fall, set your deck up with a preventative maintenance plan. Sweep away debris and take care of any cleaning or sealing that you didn’t get around to in the spring.

With this year-round plan, your deck will stay in great shape for years to come.

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Ways to Minimize Overall Cost

Working with a professional contractor is a good way to make sure your project is done correctly, so you can avoid making additional repairs or replacements in the near future. However, hiring somebody comes at a much higher initial cost than doing the project yourself. Here are some ways you can minimize the overall cost of your project and still have it done by a professional.

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Buy the Materials Yourself

Ask your contractor for a list of all the materials you will need, so you can purchase them yourself from your local hardware store. You can also go with the contractor to the lumberyard or hardware store and pay for the materials yourself. A third option is to have the lumber yard start an account for your contractor that you will pay at the end of the project.

Some contractors might not like this idea, since they tend to add a 10 to 15 percent premium to the cost of materials as a handling fee, but taking the initiative and asking to buy the materials yourself can save you money in the long run.

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Work With a Handyman

This might not be your best bet if you are doing a complete overhaul of your deck, but if you only need a few relatively minor repairs, a handyman will generally charge less for labor and materials than a carpenter or deck company. Be sure to get quotes from at least three companies or contractors to ensure a well-informed decision.

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Kennenth Carmon More than 1 year ago
I needed columns replaced not the deck repaired, less then 2 minute for a call back, great response time.
Marcia McGarry More than 1 year ago
Looks like your discussion of composite decking is a bit off. Trex decking is basically maintenance free!
Gautam Hariharan More than 1 year ago
Very useful information. I am going to start the renovation process of my deck (approx 750 square feet) by changing the boards to Cedar and the railings to rot iron. I also want to clad the frame and the pillars with some decorative wood boards. Can any one suggest a good rot iron railing supplier and a good handy man who can do the work under my personal supervision. Many thanks - Gautam
Terri Howard More than 1 year ago
I only need my wood railing taken down from my porch and replaced with vinyl
Charlotte Kelly More than 1 year ago
I just had my deck boards replaced on a 12x16 deck with 4ft wide pair of steps.  Cost ended up being $1140.   My late husband built the deck in 2003 using 1x6 pressure treated deck boards with screws.  I had to replace a few boards over the years.   Finally had more bad boards so decided to replace all.  I didn't realize until contractor finished that he used galvanized ring shank nails.  He said they would hold up longer than screws and that screws would have cost me about $380 more for screws and labor.  I was never given the option.   I remember him saying galvanized but assumed he meant screws.  He recommended using 2x6 12 ft boards because they would last longer.  Everything went find until he started laying down the boards.  Seems a lot of them were not true 12 ft boards.  He said he could cut and splice them like you do for longer decks or he could go buy 14ft boards and cut but that would have cost more money and you would have more waste.  So told him to go ahead and splice. I think he ended up having to use 45 boards for the deck and steps.  My frame was in good condition so nothing had to be done to framing.   When my husband built the deck he used 35 boards but they were true 12ft 1in boards. I asked a Home Depot worker about that and he said that they shrink sometimes before they are even received by the store.  So make sure your contractor measures all boards and not just a few.  
New Orleans

Antoinette Atherley More than 1 year ago
Kenneth Carmon, who replaced your columns?
Dorothy Pope More than 1 year ago
PERSON WHO CALLED ME WAS FROM A DISTANT TOWN FROM WHERE I LIVE, I only want an estimate, so it wouldn't be cost effective for the company to travel 20 miles for an estimate.
Lee Polf More than 1 year ago
Great Info

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