Decks are often a desirable feature among homebuyers, but they could also be the cause of a claim on your homeowners insurance if a visitor is injured on the deck. Loose boards and improper construction are not the only risks to be on the lookout for. It is also important that you know how to spot rotted wood so that you may address the problem before someone is injured.
Lumber could rot quickly if it has not been treated with water sealant. When the water is able to penetrate the outer surfaces of the wood, it creates soft spots that are susceptible to wood rot and insect infestation. Walking on the wood may not be enough to find the damage.
Use your hands to feel along the boards, railings, and posts to check for soft areas. For un-sanded decks, avoid splinters by tapping the wood with a small screwdriver to discover wood rot. The sound could be muffled in spots where rotted wood is present. Gently press the tip of a screwdriver against any softened wood. A penetration of a half-inch or more is a signal that the wood may need to be replaced.
Cracked and peeling paint on your wooden porch or deck may also be a signal that there could be wood rot present. Scrape off some of the paint to look for discoloration on the wood, which may be caused by rot. You should do your best to prevent accidents caused by wood rot, but you should also prepare for the worst by purchasing homeowners insurance with liability coverage.