Lumber and Trex Market Update: 1/29/2022
Read More

Are Cracks in Deck Posts or Beams a Bad Sign? (For New or Old Decks)

Trex deck in Plymouth MI

Cracking (also referred to as checking) in lumber is somewhat inevitable. 

Over time, you’ll likely begin to notice these cracks in the lumber that makes up your deck’s framing. They seem to happen without warning and can look rather concerning. Wanting to learn more is entirely understandable and the right move to make. 

So are cracks in deck posts or beams a disaster waiting to happen? Or simply a natural occurrence?

These are the questions we’ll answer today. We’re going to give you the rundown on what causes lumber to crack, what signs you should watch out for, and how you can prevent it from happening in the future. 

What Causes Pressure Treated Lumber to Crack?

cracks in deck posts

First off, the type of cracking we’ll mainly discuss today runs parallel with the woods grain or the slope of the grain.

As new lumber dries out and begins to cure, it shrinks, which is what causes the visible splitting. From our experience, we know that moisture cycles (freeze-thaw and dry-wet) will typically result in these visible cracks as well.

Even though some of these splits in the lumber may look like damage, they aren’t usually a concern for structural stability. However, you should still assess the situation to ensure nothing more serious is going on. 

Note: If you’re noticing cross-grain cracks, this could be a sign of Brown Rot Fungi, which can quickly result in the lumber losing a lot of its strength. 

Evaluation

Even though cracks are somewhat common in lumber, there are specific characteristics you’ll want to watch out for on your deck. 

The Size

Usually, superficial cracks caused by drying will radiate from the lumber’s outer surface and towards its center. But it’s much less common for it to pass beyond that. 

Many experts agree that a specific width or length of a split can be a sure sign that something is wrong. For example, cracks in deck posts or beams that split completely through the wood signify something more serious, which means your structure may no longer be sound. 

Location & Growth

While size matters, usually a more critical concern is the location of the crack and if it grows over time. 

Joints & Notches
Any splitting at a joint or connection usually deserves a closer inspection. 

cracking along a beam

Look a the beams of your deck. Are there any large cracks where the metal fasteners or connections are attached to the structure? Also, you should note if you see any forming around notches. For example, if your railing posts or beams are notched, look for splitting that starts at each inner corner. 

Failures at these connections can lead to structural collapses even if the rest of the wood frame is intact. And while it’s important to note that these aren’t “hard and fast rules,” if you start to notice them make sure to get your deck inspected by a licensed deck professional.

Causes of Damage

Extreme loading, rot, and insect damage can all be culprits of wood splitting (and sometimes posts). But damage like this often shows up much differently than regular cracking. Including what we’ve already discussed:

  • Cracking along joints and connections
  • Lumber that has split all the way through

You should also watch out for:

  • Actual breakage of the wood fibers
  • Sagging along the beam

PRO TIP: Deck Inspections

You know to immediately reach out to a local builder specializing in decks if you notice something concerning. But we also recommend having your deck inspected every three years. Doing this ensures the structure remains safe and you catch any problems while they’re small and before an accident happens. 

Prevention

While cracks in deck posts and beams are generally only a cosmetic concern, they can allow water to seep into the lumber and cause rot. It can also give insects an easy way to access the non-treated areas of the wood. 

Still, it’s not something you should worry yourself about too much. Your deck structure isn’t consistently getting soaked with rain beneath the decking boards. And there are ways to protect vulnerable wood from termites and other insects. 

The Bottom Line

Fortunately, most of the cracks in deck posts or beams you’ll see won’t be a structural concern. But considering every deck and circumstance is different, use this post as a guide and not a rulebook. 

If you see something you don’t like, always have a licensed deck builder take a look to rule out any damage. 

What Next?  

Are you looking to rebuild your deck or need a licensed deck inspector? Let’s chat!

At Custom Deck Creations, we design and build composite decks for clients across SE Michigan. We’ll happily come by to inspect your current deck and give you an honest assessment of its condition. And work with you to redesign the perfect deck for your space if you decide it’s time for an upgrade.

Please get in touch with us to schedule an inspection! Or take a look at our most recent builds if you’re looking for some inspiration.

Did you enjoy this post? Share it with a friend who might find it helpful. Want to keep reading? Check out these posts next:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print

About Custom Deck Creations

From design to installation, Custom Deck Creations combines beautiful decks with fair pricing and unparalleled customer service. Our designs stand out, while our install processes exceeds expectations. We are a certified TrexPro Platinum builder. Custom Deck Creations is located in and serves Southeast Michigan. 

Other Posts

Message Us!

Send us a message, and we’ll text you back shortly[timed-content-rule id=”3701″] after we reopen[/timed-content-rule].[timed-content-rule id=”3706″] Or call us at (734) 931-6700.[/timed-content-rule]

Lumber and Trex Market Costs Update

Last Updated: 1/29/2022
Custom Deck Creations

A brief look into the current and expected inflation

Quick Summary

Lumber rose +28% locally from November 2021 to January 2022, and is expected for another significant double-digit increase impacting us in June 2022. We’re also anticipating a cost increase  from Trex around that  same time frame. Depending on size and material selection, decks are anticipated to increase in cost an average of $2,000 to $4,000 come June 2022. Custom Deck Creations is currently scheduling projects for April/May, before we feel these cost increases. Schedule a quote with us today to lock in today’s costs.

For a more detailed look into the market, please continue reading:

Lumber

The lumber market continues to see pressure on the supply side. Canadian truck drivers are protesting COVID vaccine mandates, threatening to disrupt deliveries in Canada and possibly into the US. Fuel prices are also increasing. Overall demand for Southern Yellow Pine (pressure treated lumber used here in MI) remains steady. Mills are not sitting on a lot of inventory. Lead times from mills to dealers are getting extended.

Pressure treated lumber costs increased locally +28% from November 2021 to January 2022.

Lumber is expected to increase another ~+40% in June 2022. 

Custom Deck Creations is currently scheduling projects for April & May 2022, before we’re impacted by these increased costs.

Trex

Data from Trex distributors nationwide are seeing a steady growth in purchases even through winter.

Trex continues to see huge demand increases nationwide. 

Our Interpretation

Lumber will continue to rise in price throughout 2022. We don’t believe we’ll see pre-2022 lumber pricing any time soon.

In 2021 Trex put out 4 separate approximately +10% price increases. We believe more are to be expected in 2022. We do not expect Trex to ever lower their pricing.

No Inflationary Clause

Custom Deck Creations does not have an inflationary clause. Lock in today’s lumber and Trex costs with a signed agreement which puts you on our schedule. We will not charge you more even if our costs go up.

Call Now Button