Replace a Warped, Uneven Deck
LESLIE: Jack in Florida finds The Money Pit on WCOA. And you have a deck situation. What’s happening?
JACK: My deck is sick.
LESLIE: Your deck is sick.
TOM: Your deck is sick?
LESLIE: Is it coughing, allergies?
JACK: (laughing) I walk out on my deck and it’s like walking across the Rocky Mountain range or something like that. I’ve got loose ends sticking up. There’s uneven … the boards are uneven. The top of the deck is slanted. In general, lately, it just looks like a very haphazard, pieced together … something that I would build (laughing) as a matter of fact.
TOM: (laughing) OK.
LESLIE: Now, did it always look like this or has it just grown to look like this over time?
JACK: Since we bought the house, it’s just gotten worse every year.
TOM: Well, Jack, you might be a candidate for a total deck makeover. It’s possible, if the understructure of this deck is in solid condition, that what you could do is remove the railing and the decking boards itself and then replace just those parts with composites, like Trex or something of that nature or Veranda decking, which is at The Home Depot. And this way, you’re preserving the structure. As long as the structure is intact – and by that, I mean, you know, it’s … first of all, it would be pressure-treated lumber, it would be securely attached to the building and it’s well-supported. Then what you could do is use that structure but just replace the surfaces that you’re touching and walking on and get a very, very nice finish that way.
To try to refinish the deck that’s this deteriorated, sure, you could repair the rotted boards, you could flip them over, you know, you could power wash the deck and try to put some new finish on it or something like that. But if it’s that deteriorated, you might be a candidate for a deck makeover.
LESLIE: Well, and also, the composite decking materials – number one, they look fantastic. But number two, they’re so strong and durable. My husband and I were in the Cayman Islands a few years ago and hurricane Charlie came through. And there were two decks – one was at our hotel, one was at the hotel next door – and our hotel had a traditional wood deck – it was gorgeous. The one next door had a composite deck. Woke up the next day, in complete disarray of the hurricane, the wood deck – gone. The composite one – standing there beautiful; people were standing on it admiring it. So in your neck of the woods, you might think about that anyway.
TOM: OK, Jack.
JACK: That’s … is … now is the Trex or the composite wood, how does that … let’s see, I think you said Trex or …
TOM: Or Veranda.
LESLIE: Or Veranda.
JACK: Veranda, yeah, decking. I can get it at Home Depot.
LESLIE: At The Home Depot, sometimes you can only find the gray color, which actually ages quite pretty; it stays a really nice gray. But it also comes in a variety of ones that look like exotic woods in different colors. And that can either be special ordered or you might be able to find a distributor in your area online.
JACK: How’s that cost going to be when I compare it to just pressurized wood?
TOM: It’s going to be more. But the advantage here is that you’re not going to be replacing it, you’re not going to be maintaining it.
TOM: It’ll be about 50 percent more expensive than pressure-treated lumber.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) There’s no painting it, re-sanding it, re-staining it. It’s done.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Worth it.
LESLIE: Once it’s done, it’s done.
TOM: And remember, you don’t replace the structural parts of it; just the surfaces with that.
LESLIE: And you don’t have to worry about splinters anymore.
JACK: That’s … that was the biggest thing because I’ve really gotten to the point where I’m afraid to walk out there because of actually getting splinters in my feet.
TOM: Yeah. I think pressure … I think the pressure-treated lumber has seen better days. And definitely, the composites are the way to go. OK, Jack?
JACK: Well, thank you very much for your …
TOM: You’re welcome.