How Do You Fill a Rotting Wood Decking?

Henry A
composite decking joist

When building decks, most people will use wood decking as materials. While they are cheap and readily available, most low-to-medium quality wood boards are susceptible to many issues. One of the most common concerns is rotting. Rotting decking boards can either be caused by moisture damage, mould growth, or both. If you own a wood deck, you will want to remove the rotting decking boards as soon as possible before they spread even further. so, how do you fill a rotting wood decking?

Rotting Wood Decking

Assess the Decking Frame

Before you try to fill in your old rotting wood decking, you will want to assess your decking frame first. In some cases, the rotting may have affected the decking frame. Leaving them under poor condition will be detrimental to the decking boards and can be a safety threat.

How do you know if you can still reuse a decking frame? Look for visible signs of mould and mildew growth. You can also check for any swelling or clear indications of moisture absorption. It’s also the best time to look for possible reasons why your old decking boards rotted. Does the decking frame allow sufficient ventilation? How about joist spacing? If there are things that you should do, now is the best time to do them. In some cases, it’s better to take out everything and rebuild the decking entirely.

If your decking frame is in usable condition, there are several things you’ll still want to do before installing the decking boards. For instance, you can consider waterproofing or replacing old flashing on your joists. You can use decking joist flashing tapes, wood sealants, or joist caps to prevent moisture from seeping into the decking frame.

Choose Rot-Resistant Materials

After checking the decking frame condition and making necessary changes, the next step is choosing what materials you will use to fill the deck. For this, you have a few options.

If you only replaced a few decking boards, the best thing to do is use the same ones. However, finding the exact decking boards can be a challenge, especially if they are relatively old. In many cases, you may not even find the same decking boards. In this case, you may get the most comparable in terms of colour, dimensions, and material.

If you have removed several decking boards, a change of decking board material may be better. If you still want to use wood, there are a few softwoods that you can use, such as Cedar and Redwood. Hardwoods are also excellent options, which includes Oak, Teak, and Ipe. They are more rot and mould-resistant than softwoods. However, most hardwoods cost two to three times more than softwoods.

Besides wood, you can also opt for non-wood alternatives. PVC or vinyl decking are thermoplastic. It means that they won’t rot. However, they do have a couple of disadvantages as well. You will need to take them if you want to use vinyl decking boards.

Another popular non-wood decking is ultradecking composites. Unlike PVC, it has both wood and plastic fibres. Because of this, they tend to look more natural and wood-like than vinyl decks. Composite decking also has the same durability and waterproofing as vinyl, making them a better choice.

Install the New Decking Boards

After selecting the new decking boards, it’s time to install them. You may need to cut the decking boards first according to the length you need to fill up. How to install the new decking boards will depend on what type you are planning to use.

If you chose wood decking boards, you have to install them the same way you did before. You can either choose screws or nails. There are advantages and disadvantages to using either of them. However, if you are using screws, you may need to pre-drill first to avoid cracking the wood, more so if you are using hardwoods.

For PVC and composite decking boards, screws are a must. While you can still use nails, they may not flush well and can pop out. Hammering nails into composites and PVC can also crack them. Today, many composites and PVC also have dents on their sides. For these types of decking boards, you will need to use hidden fasteners composed of clips.

If you have trouble deciding how to install the new boards, you can look at the manufacturer’s manuals or instructions. You’ll also want to consider any local building standards for safety.

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