Project Guide

How to Repair a Deck

Removing Nails and Screws
Person using a tool to remove a nail.

Remove nails or screws from the damaged decking board using a pry bar, screwdriver or drill. If the fasteners won't come out, chop the board into pieces with a chisel or saw, pry up the slivers and replace the board.

Inspect Joists and Remove Rotted Portions
Person inspecting a joist.

Inspect the joists underneath for signs of rotted wood. Use a hammer and chisel to remove any rotted portions of joists. Repair and reinforce joists that have soft, discolored areas with rotted wood putty.

Apply Sealer
Person applying a sealer to the joist.

Apply a thick coat of clear sealer to the damaged joist. Let it dry, and then apply a second coat of sealer. Cut a reinforcing joist from pressure-treated lumber.

Reinforce the Joist
Person reinforcing the joist.

Treat all sides of the reinforcing joist with a clear sealer and let it dry. Position the reinforcing joist tightly against the damaged joist, and attach it with 16d (3.5") galvanized nails driven every two feet or fasten it with 3 1/2-inch galvanized deck screws.

Secure Reinforcing Joist
Person toenailing reinforcing joist.

Attach the reinforcing joist to the ledger and header joist by toenailing with nails or screws. 

Prepare Replacement Deck Board
Person cleaning deck wood.

Cut replacement deck boards from matching lumber, using a circular saw. If the existing decking is gray, "weather" the new decking with a solution made from 1 cup of baking soda and 1 gallon of warm water. Apply in the solution with a scrub brush. Rinse and let dry.

Apply Wood Stain
Person applying a stain to the deck wood.

Use wood stain that is the same color as the rest of the deck and apply stain to both sides of the board and the edges.

Attach New Decking
Person attaching new decking with a drill.

Position the new decking and attach it to joists with galvanized deck screws or nails. Make sure the space between boards matches that of existing decking.

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