There comes a time when your deck will be too old and will need replacement. For many wood decks, you’re looking at around ten years after their construction. When it comes to replacements, you can choose from several options. The popular choices today are wood alternatives, especially composite decking. But why should you replace your deck with composites? And how do you replace old deck boards with composites?
Check the Deck
The first step to replacing your old deck boards is a condition check. By assessing the deck, you will know what to replace and what is still in good condition. How old is your deck? Does it have any issues and problems? How is the frame? What decking boards did you use? These are only a few questions you should consider.
Depending on your inspection, replacing the deck boards can be as easy as removing the old ones and installing the new ones. However, that’s not always the case. If the deck is too old or suffers from various issues, you may need to take some extra steps.
For instance, if your deck is too old, the deck frame will likely be in poor condition. Simply removing the old boards and installing new ones may not be a good idea. Not only will it reduce the lifespan of your new deck, but it can also cause the deck to give way. It’s always crucial to consider your deck frame. As you install new materials, the deck frame will need to support them.
If there are problems with your old deck, such as water pooling and fungi growth, it’s also best to identify the cause and fix them. It would be detrimental if the problems will carry over to your new deck. If you are still unsure, you can always ask an expert to check your deck. If your deck is too old or damaged, it may be better to build an entirely new one.
Replace the Decking Boards
If your deck’s structural parts are still in good shape, you can proceed to replace the old deck boards with composites. Here are the steps that you can follow.
- Remove the Old Decking Boards – The first thing you’ll want to do is remove the old decking boards, which leaves the joists, beams, and the rest of the subframe. During this time, you can take a closer inspection of the frame. As previously mentioned, check whether it’s still in good condition.
- Install New Support if Necessary – Next, install any additional support if necessary. You can also decide to replace a few beams and joists. It’s also the best time to weather and waterproof to prevent water damage and several other problems. You can do so by using sealants on the joists or adding flashing tapes.
- Check the Frame One More Time – Once you flashed or sealed the joist and beams, check it one last time. You’ll want to make sure that everything is level and even.
- Install the Decking Boards- The only thing left to do is to install the new decking boards. Install them the same way you did it the first time. If you are upgrading from wood to composites, you may also need to change your fastening method. For most composite decks, you will need to use hidden fasteners. You can check with the boards’ manufacturers for specific instructions and suggested installation methods for the best results. Make sure to follow any building standards.
- Add Finishing – Lastly, add finishing to your deck if desired. You seal or frame the ends of your decking boards. You can also install new railings or new stairs.
Why Choose Composites
While there are several options for replacement, many prefer composites. Why is that so? Composites have several advantages over both wood and other synthetic materials. Unlike wood, composite decking materials are water and weatherproof. They also are less prone to moulds and mildew and do not rot. Taking care of composites is also relatively less demanding than wood. They don’t need yearly treatments like staining, painting, or sealing. On average, a composite deck will last at least 20 years.
While most synthetic decks like HDPE and PVC are of the same durability, composites have a slight edge. One of the most notable differences between composites and plastic decking is the appearance. Most composites look natural and wood-like, whereas plastic decks often look synthetic. While it does not necessarily mean PVC decks are unattractive, more people prefer the rustic wood aesthetic.
Besides appearances, composite decking is also less prone to temperature fluctuations than plastic decks. Temperature changes can cause thermal expansion in thermoplastics, making PVC decks swell and shrink. On the other hand, composites are more dimensionally stable due to their composition. While composites still contract and expand, the wood fibres hold their shape much better.