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Old 03-16-2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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should I replaced the deck?


I just power washed my deck and discover that about 50% of the boards are cracked or with holes. I really don't want to replaced whole deck because I'm on really tight budget right now. Since I have very little experience with decking, could anyone tell me do those boards need to be replaced, and if not what can I do. Originaly I was going to sand them and apply stain. Thanks for any suggestion.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:57 PM   #2
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should I replaced the deck?


Are they 3/4 or 1-1/2" thick? Looks like they are pretty old, because I see a lot of checking, splitting, and board movement recessing some screws. Judging from the screw hole rust, in 2nd pic., I would be wary of having too much weight on the deck. I see some screws that could trip someone, yet how spongy is it to walk on? It looks to be cedar, from the knothole pic. Try poking boards with an awl or ice pick, is it soft in numerous places? A sure sign of rot from water damage. If it was mine, I would replace it. At least the badly split ones. Be safe, GBAR
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:28 PM   #3
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should I replaced the deck?


I appriciate your responding! I just measured the boards and they are 1" thick. They do not feel spongy at all. They are not roted. I was wondering if sanding and staining will significaly improve the look of the boards? If I decide to keep the old boards can I use some kind of filler to fix the holes and crackes? Thanks.

Last edited by renoet; 03-16-2009 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:48 PM   #4
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should I replaced the deck?


As long as they are sound you could paint or stain them again
I had an old front deck that looke3d about the same
I sanded down rogh edges & restained it
Mine was only about 16" off the ground, so I wasn't worried about a board breaking.
Yours looks like it is much higher off the ground
Make sure the boards will carry weight
Check the beams & joists
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:21 AM   #5
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should I replaced the deck?


Tight budget= go to your local rental center and get a "square buff" sander and give the deck a good sanding. if any boards are spongy replace them (you have typical 5/4 PT deckboards.) then stain and finish to your preferance.... THIS IS A SHORT TERM SOLUTION... eventualy you will need the deckboards replaced the longer you wait the more likely you will be looking at replacing the joist as well.....
Good luck

Make sure you set those screws before sanding
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:40 AM   #6
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should I replaced the deck?


Those boards need to be replaced. They appear to be pressure treated wood. Any maintenance efforts like sanding, filling and staining may last about two years. I would advise waiting until you are in a better financial position and replaced everthing including the railing with one of the composits. There is also the matter of what the top edge of the joists looks like. You will find cracks where the screws once were. If you try to place new boards down, you will be unluckey and the screws will go into the cracks and not give you a good hold. Soon after, the boards will move.

To avoid this, you or the contractor can attach a ptw 2 X 4 parallel to the joist and you can use this to give you a better holding power.

Do your 6 X 6 supports go into the ground, mine did and I found rot at the base and had them replaced so that now they are above the ground.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:43 AM   #7
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should I replaced the deck?


Tight for money, as suggested above, light sanding to smooth things off then a solid stain. The solid stain will fill most small cracks. Stain is better that paint, it won't flake off over time, but just wears down.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:04 AM   #8
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should I replaced the deck?


Can I use anything to fill those holes?
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:34 AM   #9
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You can use exterior wood putty but as I mentioned before, it won't last more then two years. Over this time, the repair will develop small cracks and allow water to get down into it and when it freezes, it will pop up.
If you go ahead with this, then use a solid stain. Wood putty repairs do not take stain well enough to blend in.
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:31 PM   #10
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Thanks to all of you!
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:36 PM   #11
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I didn't fill anything
I did 2 coats of stain that filled things in pretty good
About 4 years later I did another coat
My deck was still there & looked good 7 years later when I sold the house
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:40 PM   #12
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should I replaced the deck?


If you're on a tight budget like you say. follow my first answer. I've built over a thousand decks in my career. DO NOT use putty for the cracks it will just plain look stupid. You're trying to eek out a couple of more years out of this deck and you can just give it a good sanding as I suggested before. Make sure you wear a dust mask because as I said before IT IS Presure treated lumber. (no kids around either)
No offense but the only thing RJORDEN is right about is, when you're financialy ready, replace the whole deck.

Sand and Solid Stain should buy you a couple of years.

Make sure you set those screws before sanding or you'll wreck the sander
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:16 PM   #13
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should I replaced the deck?


OutToPasture,
I'll have to disagree with you about sanding. Those cracks also called checks go deep and sanding won't do anything for them. I have already seen what my belt sander does when working over cracks and the sawdust gets worked down into the crack filling it and making it appear that the wood is in good shape.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:42 AM   #14
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should I replaced the deck?


Quote:
Originally Posted by renoet View Post
I just power washed my deck and discover that about 50% of the boards are cracked or with holes. I really don't want to replaced whole deck because I'm on really tight budget right now. Since I have very little experience with decking, could anyone tell me do those boards need to be replaced, and if not what can I do. Originaly I was going to sand them and apply stain. Thanks for any suggestion.
Replace, these boards reached the end. Anything you do, you will just waste money. Boards already split and have large voids and each time it rains, they will store water, and this will speed up the process of deterioration. Put new boards, apply a few coats of stain and follow up with another coat in a few years, and you will enjoy your deck for many years to come.

Good luck
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:39 AM   #15
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should I replaced the deck?


Dont fill the holes. The fillers will eventually fall off. Sanding if ya want to knock down splinters and rough edges. Tighten up the screws. If the heads are stripped hammer them down tight.

Use a solid color stain (as may have been used before) and it will look like new. (sort of). If you use a semi-transparent stain it will look OK as well but you may see more of the imperfections.

No need to replace the boards if they are not rotted.

cheapest way to do it
- sand with what you have (no rental) power sander if yu have one, hand if not. 100 grit if by hand, 150 grit in an random orbital sander.
- stain costs about 0.10 per square foot
- hammer, screwdriver - free if you have them

Good luck, lets see some after pictures!
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