If the deck boards and the railing on your existing deck are looking a bit worn – and the foundation and deck framing system are sound – you can simply replace the walking surfaces and deck railings with new composite decking and railing. It’s an ideal way to save time and money while enjoying all of the benefits of composite over wood.
Is replanking a good option for you?
First, we need to verify that the current substructure is sound. You can begin by doing your inspection using the Simpson Strong-tie Deck Connection Infographic. Click on the infographic below to see the areas you need to inspect. This will give you an early indication of whether a resurface is an option or not. If you do discover issues with your existing framing, it doesn’t mean it can’t be reused. An experienced deck contractor can retrofit the frame with new hardware to bring the structure into current code compliance.
If you would prefer to have your deck professionally inspected, All Decked Out located in West Chester, Ohio offers a 40 point deck inspection and report. The report will list the problem areas and the pricing to repair the substructure. The regular 40 point deck inspection for existing homeowners are $80.00 and is applied towards any work performed.
For best results when resurfacing your deck
- Before installation, check to make sure all joists are level, structurally sound, no nails or screws protruding.
- Ensure that all joists are crowned correctly and are level across the top as composite decking will conform to the surface contour of the substructure.
- Proper joist spacing is required for proper installation. Joist spacing should not exceed 16” on center, or for a more rigid feel, 12” may be preferred.
- Install solid wood blocking between each joist, placed every 4’ – 6’ within the structure to help reduce movement of the joists, excessive gapping, and give you a more uniform finished surface for your new composite deck.
You are going to invest a large amount money in the surface of your deck. It is strongly advised to level the joist and add blocking before the deck surface is installed. Composite decking is way too expensive to put on top of a poorly built substructure. Your existing frame may be 15 -20 years old. You are replacing the surface with a product that will last for 25 – 30 years. Make sure the frame underneath will last as long as the decking.
Whether you do this project yourself or you hire a professional, take a look at this article from Professional Deck Builder magazine. The article addresses the very real issue of uneven joist and squeaky floor systems. The best deck builders in Cincinnati would practice this blocking and leveling method in this article.
What are the steps for a deck resurface?
- Check joists spacing and overall condition of framing to determine if the substructure is sound.
- After obtaining any necessary building permits, carefully remove and discard the old decking and railing, leaving the substructure and framing in place.
- Inspect all framing/framing hardware for code compliance, structural integrity and compliance with the current composite manufacturer’s Installation Guide.
- To ensure a level surface for the composite boards, make sure that the joists are level and even with each other.
- You may need to shim or shave the joists to make them level and even. Strongly suggest using the method from the Pro Deck Builder Magazine above.
It may help to see a deck resurface from start to finish. Trex Decking has created a good video showing the process for resurfacing a deck and replacing the railing. This method could be used with any decking manufacture and railing.
What one step can you take today?
If you are planning on a deck resurface project and need my assistance, please reach out through my contact page. If you are looking for a contractor, you will want to read my article on the best deck contractors in Cincinnati.