Especially if it’s uncovered, your porch can take quite a beating from Mother Nature. Rain, snow, and heavy winds can all result in splintered posts, broken boards, or sagging railings. These problems decrease the usability of your outdoor space—a broken-down porch doesn’t do any favors for your curb appeal, either.

In general, repairing your porch will be less expensive than replacing it entirely. However, like every home amenity, your porch will eventually need to be replaced. It can be difficult to discern when repair is no longer the smartest option, so we’ve compiled some tips from our experts at Minnesota Home Improvements.

As you examine your porch or deck, use these questions to find out whether to repair or replace.

Are There Stained or Smelly Areas on Your Porch?

As does anything exposed to the elements, your porch will accumulate stains over time. Dry weather brings dirt, and rainy weather brings mud; the rain itself may even leave contaminants behind after drying. Musty smells floating around your porch may be the result of mildew formed from water damage.

While not essential to structural stability, sitting on a clean, nice-smelling porch is, simply put, a more enjoyable experience. Stains on their own are not typically causes for replacement, and a good pressure wash will typically take care of them. As for musty smells, ensure they’re not the result of a mold problem and tackle the mildew with a wash.

Is There Noticeable Rot on Your Wooden Porch?

Are there any deteriorating, crumbling, or splintering sections on your porch? Have you noticed any discolored wood?

Pay close attention to the supporting beams as you inspect your porch—they’re the first things to go on many wooden porches. Be sure to thoroughly check areas that don’t receive much sunlight, as well. Without the drying power and heat of the sun, those places are more likely to rot. Not sure if you’ve spotted rot? Try pushing a screwdriver into the wood. If it punctures easily, then you’ve got a rotting deck on your hands.

You can DIY a repair with an all-purpose putty, which can be found at most auto supply stores. Cover the rotten wood with a layer, and it’ll penetrate and preserve the wood fibers, sometimes for several more years.

However, if the rot is affecting the structural stability of the porch, it’s time to seriously consider a replacement.

Is Your Porch Sinking?

Eroding soil around footings is a common issue with porches, patios, and decks. With a wooden porch, the footings of the supporting beams will sink further into the soil, giving the porch a tilt. With a concrete porch, the entire porch could sink further into the ground under its own weight.

If your porch or surrounding paving stones are sinking, cracking, or uneven, the only solution is re-leveling. This is a laborious task that should be carried out by an experienced technician. Once re-leveled, it’ll bring your porch back to pristine condition.

If replacing your porch is the answer, Minnesota Home Improvements can help. Our team specializes in decks, porches, and patios, and we have the expertise needed to meet your outdoor living needs. Give us a call for a quote today!