How to Reattach a Deck
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Jamie in California who has either a deck or a painting question or both.
Jamie, how can we help?
JAMIE: Hi. Yeah, actually I’m about to get my house painted.
JAMIE: And what I want to do is remove some boards from the deck in order to reach the front edge of the house.
TOM: Ah, OK.
LESLIE: Oh, OK.
JAMIE: But it’s that fake wood – the kind you don’t have to stain or anything; you just put down and wash off.
TOM: Yeah, composite wood.
JAMIE: But what I was wondering is do I need to do something special with the wood to use – or the screws, like Loctite or something like that, when I put them back down? Because I don’t want them popping back up in a couple of weeks.
TOM: No, no. You shouldn’t have to worry about that. But I’m glad to hear that you have actually attached this decking material with screws because the beauty of that means you can take them out. If you had nailed this composite decking material and tried to pry up the boards, you would be very disappointed because those nails would pull right through the decking material. But since you screwed it in, you can unscrew it. And what I would suggest is you take some chalk and actually number the boards so you know what order you took them off in.
JAMIE: Oh, that’s a good idea.
LESLIE: So you’re not trying to fit things back where they don’t belong later.
TOM: Yeah, wondering …
LESLIE: It really takes the guesswork out.
TOM: And wondering why it doesn’t work out. (chuckling) You know?
LESLIE: Should she reattach into like an area right next to the original hole and seal that first hole up or can she go right in?
TOM: I think you can probably go right in. But you know what? If the board’s off a little bit, it’s going to dig a new hole anyway. But I don’t see you having any problem reattaching that.
JAMIE: You know, the deck’s only two years old, so I don’t want to – you know, I don’t want it looking like it’s 50 years old with boards coming up.
LESLIE: No, it’s a great product and with that composite decking – you know, Tom, when you put the screws in, as you go into the first surface layer of it, it sort of self-heals and covers over that screw if you give it like a little tap with a hammer. Do that …
TOM: Now that’s true and you’re right; when you back those screws out, you might ruin that a little bit. So if you start to break out the surface of the deck when you do that, what I would do is I would flip the board upside down and put it back in. Now you may find that the underside is maybe a little bit mildewed or something like that, but a good powerwashing and cleaning will have it looking like new in no time. And this way the holes will be as pristine as the first time you put them in.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.