Let’s say you have an old deck that is in need of the decking replaced. Can you just replace the decking? We get asked this question a lot. Face it, the cost of decking is not cheap. At the very minimum, the joists should always be replaced to ensure the deck fasteners will have maximum holding power. Just remember, the deck structure is exposed to the weather elements. Chances are that if the decking is needing replaced, then the structure is most likely in need as well.
The deck structure should be inspected for rot and any deterioration. This can help decide how much of the structure can be reused, if any. Treated lumber can still deteriorate.
The foundation should be solid poured concrete and not just setting on pier blocks or posts buried in the ground. The brackets that hold the deck to the concrete should be free from rust and decay. The foundation is very important to the deck. It needs to support the entire deck and all the people you may have over for your deck party!
The posts and beam that support the deck need to be free from rot and decay. If the deck was framed with treated lumber. Check the fasteners that were used to frame the deck for deterioration. Treated lumber has copper as part of the treatment process which will cause a reaction to the zinc in a galvanized fastener. Stainless steel fasteners will not have a reaction and are the recommended fastener.
The joists need to be free from splintering, splitting, rot and decay. Most of the time when the deck boards are removed, the joists will splinter. Unless the boards were screwed down, splintering is unavoidable. If the boards were screwed down, precautions can be taken to minimize splintering. However, it is always our recommendation to replace the joists when replacing the deck joists.
So if you are thinking of replacing the deck boards, consider replacing the structure. This will assure the decking investment to be sound and secure.