Signs of Deck Problems

May 10, 2010

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Deck structures often receive varying degrees of exposure from the environment. Depending on their location, function and construction, decks face different types of deterioration or problems as a result. Typically made of concrete materials, many deck deterioration originate from the behavior of concrete when exposed to the elements. Here are several signs that decks are deteriorating, or will run into problems in the future:

1. Cracking and spalling during freezing and thawing exposure. Minute surface rents indicate that normally strong concrete has been strained by the changes in temperature.

2. Laitance formation. When there is too much water during concrete mixing, laitance forms. This is a thin layer of cement that comes to the surface after concrete pouring. Deck coatings applied despite the presence of laitance can cause coatings failure, hence should be removed.

3. Surface efflorescence. When a white crystalline substance forms on the surface, this indicates a deposit of salt residue from moisture exposure. This can weaken the surface composition and can lead to deck coatings failure due to surface contamination.

4. Improperly cured concrete surface. Decks that did not complete at least 30 days of curing after concrete application run the risk of having a high moisture content. Moisture on the surface can interfere with proper deck coatings application.

5. Reinforcing steel corrosion. Decks that use reinforcing bars under the surface can face corrosion problems. When there is a rust-colored stain on the surface, this indicates underlying steel corrosion that should be fixed as soon as possible.

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