Can I redo my deck myself?
This if for all you experienced deck builders. I live on a hill and my deck is way off the ground. It needs to be rebuilt but I can't afford to pay someone right now. The support posts need to be redone and I would hire someone to do that, but I would like to replace the rest myself board by board. Is it possible for someone to replace the support posts with the rest intact? Can you use composite wood for the supports? I figure if I had someone redo the supports I can saw and nail. Is this unrealistic for a woman who has not done a lot of carpentry?
You should be able to hire someone to replace the support posts, but a lot of it depends on the construction. If the floor joists need to be replaced you may need a complete tear down and rebuild. I would call a few contractors and have them look it over. If they need the work bad enough they may rebuild the frame and let you put on the decking and railing.
Can you post pics of your deck, especially close ups of the structural framing? This is the best way to gauge what shape your deck's structural framing is in.
What is "way off the ground - 8', 20'?"
If the posts are rotten, chances are good that the rest of the structural framing is in need of replacement.
Are your existing deck boards screwed or nailed down?
If screwed, you can try unscrewing them. Many of the screws will probably break, leaving the shank in the deck board. You'll need a heavy duty pry bar to pull up the old boards.
You could try this: http://www.deckwrecker.com/
Are you physically capable of prying the old boards up?
If nailed, you'll still need to pry up the old boards. Nails pull out easier than screws but it's still a challenge. Start at one end of the board and pry it up until the nails are free. Work your way down the board.
Are you planning on replacing your railing too?
To answer your other question, No, composite wood can not be used for structural purposes.
Know this, a deck that is "way off the ground" can kill people if put together improperly. I'm not saying you can't do this, just know what could happen if you do an improper job.
There is a lot more to building a deck, especially an elevated deck, than merely "sawing and nailing." It is not unrealistic to think that you could replace deck boards - it might be unrealistic to think that the finished job will look great.
Thanks guys. I'll to take some pics and post tommorrow
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