Concrete patios are the cheapest and one of the most popular outdoor flooring options available. However, there are several disadvantages to having a concrete patio. For instance, it is susceptible to cracks and staining. They also don’t add as much property value compared to other outdoor flooring choices. For this reason, you may want to replace it with a better option, such as a wood deck. But how can you turn your outdoor concrete patio with a wood deck?
Replacing a concrete patio with wood decking is generally straightforward. In most cases, you can build a deck over an existing concrete patio. However, there are cases where you may need to take a few extra steps to ensure the structural integrity of your new deck.
When Can You Build Over an Existing Concrete?
If the concrete patio is severely damaged, building a deck over it is not recommended. Cracked concrete sinks into the ground over time. Installing a deck over shifting ground can both be harmful to the deck and the people using it. Cracked patios can also have water pooling and freezing problems, which are very detrimental to decking. Water causes mould, mildew, and rotting in wood.
So if you have a worn-down concrete patio, what are your options? First, you can wait for the concrete to sink completely before building a deck. However, you will still need to fix the cracks to avoid freezing and water problems. Another option is elevated decking above the concrete using deck posts and a ledger board. For this, you will need to drill holes in the concrete patio for the deck posts, and the deck needs to be attached to the house.
Lastly, you can take out the concrete patio and work from there. In most cases, if not all, you don’t have to worry about damaging the foundation by removing the old concrete patio.
How To Build A Deck Over Concrete Patio?
If your patio is in excellent condition, you can directly build a wood deck over it. You can hire professional contractors to do it for you. However, many homeowners choose to do it themselves to save on cost. If you plan to build it yourself, here are the steps on how to do it.
Step 1: Preparation – Before you start building a deck over the patio, you’ll need to ensure you have the right tools and enough materials to finish it. You’ll need the usual construction tools, such as saws, hammers, screws, and levels. You’ll also have to accost all the deck materials, including the boards and the framing. Besides wood, you can also choose alternatives such as PVC and composite decking. You’ll also want to fix any issues with your concrete, such as water pooling and cracks.
Step 2: Design and Layout – The next step is to design the substructure’s layout. The substructure will serve as the frame of the deck and protect it from ground contact. You can use a marker to map the locations of the beams and joists on your concrete patio. You’ll want to have at least 16″ on-centre gaps between the deck joists in most cases. Without spacing, your deck will be more susceptible to water problems. Flashing your deck joists is also crucial. Lastly, you can use spacers to slightly angle ground-level decks away from the house for better water drainage. You’ll also want to consider any local safety regulations and follow instructions from your decking suppliers.
Step 3: Installing the Decking Boards – Once you have your deck frame, it’s now time to install the decking boards. There are several varieties of wood deck boards. Depending on the manufacturers, you can use either screws or nails to lay them down. In some instances, decking boards may have grooves, especially composite wood boards. Hidden fasteners are the only option for these types of decking boards. You will also have to put some gaps in between the boards to account for expansion.
Using Decking Board Tiles as an Alternative
Besides building a frame and installing decking boards, another way to replace a concrete patio with decking. You can use decking tiles to cover your old concrete patio. Decking tiles come in various materials, such as wood, PVC, or composites. When using decking tiles, you don’t need to build a substructure or use screws. Instead, each tile locks in place to the other.
With that said, decking board tiles both have advantages and disadvantages. They are easy to install and repair. Besides concrete patios, you can set them almost anywhere. The downside is that they may not be as durable as decking boards. They are also not a permanent flooring option. When deciding to use decking tiles, you will need to weigh these pros and cons.