How To Strip A Deck So You Can Replace Old Wood With Composite Material

10 March 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

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After a long hard winter, you may have to do some work on the backyard wooden deck on your house. The moisture from rain, snow, and melting ice can deteriorate the wood on the deck until it is no longer safe and you need to replace it. This is an opportunity to upgrade from using wood to using composite material on the deck. Composite material is longer lasting, easier to clean, and easier to maintain than wood. The first thing you will need to do is remove the old wood deck and railing before you can replace the wood with the composite material. Here is how to strip the flooring and railings from the deck to prepare it for the composite material.

Remove Lattice, Balusters and Railings

The first thing you should remove is any lattice work you have around the bottom of the deck. Removing the lattice will give you easy access to bolts and screws holding the railings and balusters to the deck. 

Next, remove all the screws holding the balusters to the railing and deck.  Set the balusters aside. You should now remove all the bolts holding the railing to the framework of the deck. Do one section at a time. Remember, once you move the hardware holding up the railing it will be ready to fall down. You may want to have a helper standing on the deck holding onto the railing as you remove the bolts so it doesn't fall down on you.

Remove Deck Flooring

If the deck flooring is screwed down, remove the screws from each board so you can lift it up and remove it. If the boards are nailed down, you can use a pry bar to pop up the nails and remove the boards. You should have a pry bar that is at least 3 or 4 feet long. A longer pry bar will give you enough leverage to lift up on the boards without straining too hard. Place the hooked end of the pry bar under the board where the nails are nailed into the joist board underneath the flooring and push down on the handle of the bar to force the nails up.

Check Framework

Many times the framework of a wood deck lasts a lot longer than the boards used for the flooring. Check the boards in the framework for rotting or water damages. If you don't see any damage, you can place the composite material over the top of the framework without removing any more of the old wood.

You should also check to make sure the ledger boards against the house are still in good shape. The ledger board is used to secure the deck frame to the foundation of the house. Bolts run through the ledger board into the frame of the house. Tighten the bolts down if you find that the ledger board is loose.

You are now ready to add the composite material to the top of the deck.

For composite decking products, contact a company such as Robert G Miller Inc.