How to Replace a Deck Before It’s Too Late

Years of exposure to sunlight and rainfall can leave deck boards exposed and vulnerable, potentially leading to their degradation and eventually leading to signs of rot if left unchecked. Any deck boards showing these symptoms …

how to replace a deck

Years of exposure to sunlight and rainfall can leave deck boards exposed and vulnerable, potentially leading to their degradation and eventually leading to signs of rot if left unchecked. Any deck boards showing these symptoms must be immediately replaced in order to limit further damage and further degradation. It is time to learn how to replace a deck.

Search for curled edges that could pose trip hazards and full fractures that will splinter open. In case the damage is extensive, sister joists may need to be installed as part of your repair efforts.


Deck footings are essential components of deck structures because they spread the weight over a larger surface area so the ground can sustain it. Without footings, support posts would have much smaller contact with soil and could collapse under their own weight; ideal deck footers should consist of cast or poured concrete pads placed beneath the ground level that sits directly on solid compacted soil layers below.

If the footers on your deck are damaged and unstable, or you wish to replace them with new ones, it’s essential that you adhere to local building department guidelines regarding footer depth. Prior to any digging activity, remove all debris and brace the front with jacks or other specialist bracing equipment. Once exposed, check footings for cracks and other signs of wear and tear before replacing them as necessary.

Once your footings have been installed, it’s time to turn your attention to the joists and posts. Before taking down any deck boards, use a screwdriver to inspect joist wood for top rot or spacing issues using an eyeball test. It is crucial that the joists remain sound; otherwise, it may be possible to relocate them or add additional ones depending on budget and your design for the replacement deck.

Deck posts that have become embedded in concrete footing can also pose issues, as lifting them out may not be feasible and you’ll likely have to break up and extract them by breaking up the concrete and pulling it out from underneath them.

When it comes to the deck railing, it’s essential that all supporting posts and blocks meet code compliance. If they don’t, replacing them may be possible with something both visually appealing and sturdy enough to maintain the views you enjoy from your deck. In these instances, it would be prudent to work with an established decking company that specializes in this product: they will know which railing system best meets your needs while installing it correctly for safety and security.

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If a deck’s joists begin to decay, it could lead to its total collapse. This usually happens because the moisture from below moves through to the wood and spreads throughout. If multiple areas have started rotting at once, replacing all affected joists at the same time is best so as to limit the further spread of decay across other sections of the deck.

If you’re replacing one joist, first secure it with concrete blocks or heavy posts as needed; scaffolding may also be required. Once supported, liberate the joist from all deck boards above it and remove any fasteners; if your crossbeam supports this joist then toe-nail through it into it; finally take care to install your new joist by nailing or screwing to hangers and beam.

As you repair or replace deck joists, it’s advisable to treat the surrounding lumber with a weathering solution in order to make the new board blend in with its surroundings. Once stained or painted, this board should easily blend in.

Deck post rot is a common issue on older decks constructed with pressure-treated pine. To fix loose or rotten posts, remove the decking above them and use a saw to cut away at the rotting section of the post; you may then need to notch out its upper end so it fits alongside the deck joist for best results.

Once the rot has been eliminated, use a hammer and chisel to knock out any remaining nails or screws, pulling any that are bent too far back out; bending those which remain flat so as to avoid stepping on or being cut by them when handling wood. Finally, install your new deck post; either use lag bolts (long galvanized nails with large washers) to bolt it to joists or decking or stagger the holes when nailing them in place – then secure using bolts; or nails spaced evenly spaced by staggering holes to ensure safe handling.

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If a deck post becomes damaged or rotten, it must be replaced to ensure that the porch or deck does not sag. Preferably, its replacement should be set in concrete to reduce moisture damage; pressure-treated lumber should be used when setting new posts as these have drainage systems designed into them that help move excess water away from underneath them and off into drainage pipes at their base. You may also require installing post hole shims under each of your old post’s locations and beneath each joist, as required – be sure to consult local building codes as well as homeowners’ associations before beginning construction on deck projects!

Deck posts can be replaced in various ways as you can see when you learn how to replace a deck, from taking down an existing post and installing a concrete footing to excavating and pouring a new post and attaching it with a deck railing post bracket on top. Most often however, decorative (as opposed to structural) deck posts that support roofs over porches or second-story decks above concrete patios will need replacing; these may prove more challenging due to needing an anchor kit or metal base kit on deck surfaces to secure new posts securely in their places.

As soon as a post or beam exhibits any signs of rot, you should have it evaluated by a professional. Rot can threaten the entire deck from collapsing or major damage and typically starts in one area before spreading as moisture hits weakened boards or beams. Stepping onto your deck and feeling for soft spots on boards or underneath beam levels is one way to assess if repair or replacement may be needed; in cases with extensive rot, replacing all or parts may be more cost-effective than trying to reseal and patch individual boards individually.


Over time, wood deteriorates with exposure to moisture. This deterioration can cause your deck to loosen and fall apart, creating serious safety risks for you, your family, or your guests. In some instances, however, repairs are possible while in other instances new ledger boards or the entire deck must be installed; professional advice should help determine whether a repair or replacement is required; saving costs on a full renovation.

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Start by inspecting the deck for signs of rot. These could include cracks in deck boards, loose railings, or even a rotting ledger board – any signs that weaken its structure could collapse when someone steps onto it, rendering it unsafe for use. When you find rotting spots it’s crucial that they are repaired quickly or they could become unsafe to use and could result in the collapse of the entire structure.

If rotted deck boards need replacing, use new ones of a similar type and stain or finish them to match. A protective coating will shield wood against moisture damage and extend its life.

Before beginning to remove an old deck board and learning how to replace a deck, support it using a jack. Place the jack on a patio block or paver, and position a 2″x4″ or 2″x6″ “t” against an adjacent joist near where you plan to cut the board. Prop up the jack so it can lift it from the ground.

Utilize a level to check that the deck beam is level, stretching a tight chalk line across your deck and marking 16 inches down from its top edge. This marks the midpoint between two corner posts; any deviation could create dangerous gaps between floor joists.

Cut your deck boards using a circular saw, taking care not to create any ragged cuts by propping the lumber you are cutting on a scrap piece of lumber to give the blade room to move without hitting anything underneath it. After cutting, use a screw gun with exterior-grade screws as replacements for nails removed; they won’t loosen over time as lumber expands and contracts, unlike nails which will over time loosen over time as the lumber expands or contracts.