One of the many problems of decking is warping, more so with wooden decks. That’s why more people are choosing composites, as they are more resistant to warping. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. So if it does happen, the question is, how do you fix it? And what causes composite decking to warp so that you can prevent it?
Fixing a Warped Composite Deck
Composites will still warp under certain circumstances. If you own a deck, it’s best to know what to do if it happens. So how do you fix a composite deck if it warps? Do you need professional help? The truth is, as long as you have the tools, you may not need to contact a professional installer only to fix a board or two. But if pretty much every part of the deck is warped, you may want to consider calling for professional assistance. The worst-case scenario is that you may have to replace the entire deck altogether.
So if you only have a few warped decking boards, how will you be able to fix it? In most cases, fixing a warped composite decking requires replacement of each individually warped board. Here are the steps on how to do it.
- First, you will want to identify the parts of your deck that need replacement. Then, measure the composite boards that you will replace. You will need to be as accurate as possible, especially if the boards are cut before installation. You’ll also want to take note of the depth of the decking boards.
- Next, you will need a circular saw to cut through the warped decking board. When using saws, make sure to follow any safety precautions. Wear gloves and safety goggles for protection. Start cutting the board at no more than the depth of the decking boards to avoid damage to the joists. Saw the boards lengthwise, as it can make it easy for you to pry the decking boards.
- After cutting along the length of the decking boards, you will need a crowbar or a claw bar. Insert the tool into the cut on the decking boards and carefully pry them out of the frame. After prying a portion of the board, continue to remove the rest of it.
- For the next step, you will need to remove any screws that were used to lay down the decking boards. You can use a screw gun to remove them off the joists.
- After removing the board, replace it with a new one. You will need to get the exact same brand, colour, and material for the replacement. You will also need to cut it according to the measurements of the removed board. Once done, install the new decking board and screw it down.
In some cases, especially if the warping is too widespread, it may be easier to remove all the decking boards and reinstall the deck. It’s also an excellent opportunity to check the health of the joists of the deck. It’s also a chance to identify how and why your decking board warped. So why do composites warp?
Why Do Composite Decking Boards Warp?
Unlike wood, the main reason why composite decking boards warp is not moisture. Of course, composites still have wooden fibres, so it can still warp due to water, but it hardly happens with capped composite decking. It’s more common in uncapped composites.
The reason why most composites warp is due to thermal expansion. When plastic fibres of the composites get heated, it will expand. It will return to its original size unless there’s a problem with the decking board spacing. So when installing decks, you will want to space your decks enough for the boards to breath.
Not only can it be time-consuming, but replacing new composite decking boards can also be expensive. So if you plan to build a new composite deck or upgrade your old one, it’s crucial that you know why they can warp. Knowing so can help you prevent any potential warping problems.