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Discussion Starter #1
We have an older home that has 5 large decks (each about 400 sq. ft.) with 2x6 wood decking. In many places the wood is rotting and becoming unsafe. I need to get these spots fixed immediately. I can't afford (thank you COVID19) new decking so I want to lay down plywood or other sheeting then tack down cheap outdoor carpeting for a terrible but temporary fix for about 6-12 months.
I'm thinking 1/2" plywood 4x8 sheeting, cut in half in some places and only placed down where there is severe rotting.
The lumber yard is pushing for expensive plywood of course but it is twice the cost of the cheap plywood. They are talking about different 'grades'. I can see that the expensive sheets have less knotholes but do I really need them?
I would appreciate any advice or experience with this issue. Do I need 1/2" thickness or 1/4" or 3/4"? What grade should I use? Is there a better choice of material?
Thanks for any answers.
 

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Just thinking outside the box but can you take "good" lumber from one of more of the 5 decks and use that to repair the others? That way you have to condemn 1 or 2 for this season but the others are usable?

I had a similar situation and used some recovered wood from my father's old deck... Was hoping to buy a season and 3 years later they're still going strong.

That way you don't even have to pay for the plywood...
(This was just the deck boards themselves not any structural lumber, it sounds like you're in a similar situation).

B



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retired painter
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You'd need pressure treated plywood if used on an exposed deck. What about just replacing individual boards?
 

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Hammered Thumb
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I'm with Boogie and Mark, if you have a say 16' length, cut off the 6' rotted end and fill the remainder length from other cut boards. Maybe at the end you only need to purchase a handful of boards. Plywood is expensive too.

Also if its just cupping, checking, or splitting you may be able to just turn them over.
 

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You could replace 100 sq ft of rotted boards with new pressure treated for about $200. And then next year when you rebuild, they are still usable. I don't see how plywood and carpet makes economic sense, especially for 6 - 12 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the suggestions!
I don't think any of them really solves my problem though.
BTW the structural wood seems to be ok - it's just the decking that needs fixing.
Also, I'm retired & don't have the stamina to do this kind of work any more.

My take on suggestions:
1. Take good lumber from one deck to fix another:
There really are only a few areas where the wood isn't damaged. The boards are 16' long mostly. I would have to pay someone and we would end up buying some new boards too. Plus all the decks are used so I can't close any off.

2. Need pressure-treated?
I'm thinking that since we will be fixing this the right way in 6-12 months, I don't need pressure-treated for the quick-fix.

3. Replace individual boards.
Too many boards and too much cutting to size. Main length is 16', with other boards cut to shorter lengths so the ends are staggered. Pressure treated 2x6x16 decking and installation is very expensive compared to a sheet of plywood that we just lay down over the area.

4. Just cut the rotted ends & replace.
If I could do the work, this would be an option, but I'd have to hire someone. The plywood I've been pricing is very cheap.
Cost of 2"x6" treated decking here is about $2.50/sq. ft. and the 16 footers are difficult to handle (up 2 flights worst case) and need individual lengths.
Cost of 1/2" untreated plywood is about $1/sq. ft. and cutting is free (to cut in half).
So for 5 decks with 100 sq. ft needing repair will cost $1250 for just the wood (2"x6"). Labor is probably about the same as the wood.
In comparison, the cost of plywood is $500 (8'x4' sheets) and labor is very low. Carpets are cheap ($30). This work can be done quickly.
If the labor is included, the cost comparison is about 6 to 1, maybe more.
However, I see your point that in the long run it may be more expensive to use plywood, but I don't have $3,000 to do this right now. It's also difficult to find people to work. So I don't have much choice.

I appreciate all the suggestions but I'm stuck with plywood I think.
Can anyone tell me if 1/2" thick is needed, or could I go to 1/4" thick plywood?
What about the rating? Will a sheet with lots of knotholes hold up for 6 months?

Thanks,


5.
 

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retired painter
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I don't know of any 1/4" plywood rated for exterior [other than maybe soffit] Any plywood that isn't pressure treated won't last long. If there is enough support under it, 1/2" PT plywood should be ok. Not that overlaying the deck with plywood is a great fix.
 

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I would use an exterior grade plywood.....don't need pressure treated. Use a good decking paint to protect the surface and it will last. I used this wood/paint for some exterior work and the plywood was still in good shape after 6 years. I'd be afraid that the carpeting would hold moisture which would not be good. I didn't notice that you mentioned the joist span. 1/2" ply would work on a 16 inch span but would be springy.....5/8" plywood would be better.
3/4" even better especially if you will have a large load.
Lumberyard plywood will be better than the big box stuff.
It is important to make sure the paint coating is kept intact to protect the wood......use a good paint.
Take a look at CDX grade plywood at the lumber yard....it should work for you and be on the lower cost end.
 

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Go with your plan (14 or 1/2). You know whatever plywood you choose will be worthless in 6 months to a year, so why sacrifice expensive 3/4" plywood?
Just curious: Why do you want to have a temporary remedy to a growing problem?
 
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