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superhandymom 05-09-2010 12:21 PM

Refinishing / Repairing Deck: Screws vs. Nails?
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I have never refinished a deck before, but I have been reading up on it and I am sure I will need to sand down many of the surfaces before restaining the deck. Much of the railing components have a seriously raised grain. I have no idea how long ago it was last stained or maintained. Do I replace this wood (railings and post caps/trim) or sand it down?
I am planning on using the Cabot Australian Timber Oil on the deck surface and a white solid stain on the rails and posts. My question is what to do about the nails (no screws were used) that are on level with the deck surface or popping up. I was considering replacing the nails with screws so that I can sink them below the surface before sanding (and they might not pop out again), but there are A LOT of screws (my deck is very large) and it would be a huge task in itself. Would I be better off just tapping the nails down below the surface, or replacing the nails with a nail that will not pop up again?
I want to do the job right so that I will not have so many problems to deal with for awhile. Any suggestions on use of screws vs. nails would be appreciated, and any 'job saver' tips on use of particular equipment or tools are welcome advice. Thanks in advance. I have attached a few photos of my deck problem areas.

jklingel 05-10-2010 02:08 AM

Mom: That looks rather nasty in places. Repair or replace is a tough call when one is not right there, but it sure looks like a good sanding is in order at the minimum. If the boards are SOLID, like you are not afraid to lean on them hard in the middle of their supports, then they are probably fine. Probably. As for nails vs screws, I would never use a nail on a deck, myself. There is a lot of movement in the boards, and nails are much more likely to loosen. If you sand it and the nails are solid, then leave them. As they pop up (if they do), pull them and replace them w/ an appropriately sized screw, or drill and install a screw next to the nail hole. If you replace any boards, I'd suggest screwing them down. If the wood is All Weather, then galvanized or stainless steel (or maybe plastic coated) screws are in order. Good luck!

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