LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kirk in Georgia on the line who’s working on a decking project. How can we help you today?
KIRK: We removed an old hot tub and relocated a new one to be on top of the deck at another level, up toward the pool. But the old one has a hole on a big space of decking and what I was thinking about is how to best cover or repair that area. I’ve got old deck wood all around it but it would be very expensive to replace the whole deck. I’m trying to find a creative way to cover that back up and possibly build a bench against the fence that the hot tub was up against before.
TOM: OK. So the horizontal surface that has the hole – that portion of the deck – is that the entire deck or is that sort of one section? Is it separated in any way from the rest of the deck?
KIRK: Yeah, it is. There’s about a 2-foot span that was against the wall. When the hot tub was there, the top of the hot tub came and it was all resting up against the one fence there. There’s about 3 feet on one side that’s got short, little boards and then the big hole. And then on another side that’s adjacent to that one, there’s 2 feet of decking.
TOM: So, basically, it stands on a different plane, so to speak, than the rest of the deck.
KIRK: Yeah. To clarify, the part that has 2 feet is the long way, so those boards are – there’s like 3 boards that make up that whole span. And then the other one, there’s a bunch of short, 3-foot boards – 15 of them or so – that make up that edge.
TOM: Why can’t you redeck just this one area? Not the entire deck but just the one area where the hot tub is?
KIRK: I absolutely can. The other wood is older; it’s been weather-beaten. It was painted before I got there. I had to strip the whole thing and of course, some of that wood can’t – the soft wood came out but I sand-belted the whole thing down and I got it to look fairly good. So, there’ll be a little difference, obviously, when I put in new wood but that was my plan.
How do I – what do I do about the earth? Because there’s about a, whatever, 8×8-foot span there where there’s nothing, because the hot tub was supporting everything. I’m wondering how do I support that now?
TOM: Right. What you’re going to have to do is you’re going to have to build the understructure for that. So, what I would do is I would add additional floor joists, so to speak, into that space. And the way you would attach those is with Teco brackets or joist-hanger brackets.
These are these U-shaped, big metal clips. They’ll attach to the beam that’ll be perpendicular to this and that depends on what the shape is. But you’ll get the beam in there; it’ll be hung by these Teco brackets. And you’re essentially going to sort of build the understructure like it existed at the beginning. Depending on how hard it is to get under there and work under there, it might be a little bit tricky. But you will have to add those floor joists at either 16-inch or 24-inch centers, depending on what the top decking is.
Is the top decking 2-by material or is it 5/4?
KIRK: It’s 5/4.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you probably could get away with having 2-foot centers but I generally like to put them in on 16-inch centers when it’s 5/4.
And what I would think – what you might want to think about doing is restaining the entire deck, not just replacing it. But once you repair the section and kind of rebuild that one section but – you could restain the entire deck and then that would be less obvious that that’s a newer section.
KIRK: Appreciate the help. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck, Kirk. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.