Does Renovating with Composite Decking Makes Sense?
Replacing a worn down deck sounds like an overwhelming project. The good news for homeowners is that it might not have to be. Completely dismantling your existing deck to replace it with a new one isn’t always necessary. Here’s how to determine if your aging wood deck needs a full makeover, or just a facelift.
Updating A Deck with Composite Decking Delivers Long Term Value
The truth is that not all worn and weathered decks need to be completely torn down and replaced. In fact, as long as you are satisfied with the general size, location and orientation of your existing wood deck, updating the decking surface with a high quality, maintenance-free hardwood composite decking could be all you need.
Instead of starting from scratch with the framing, replacing only the surface features of your deck that are most visible can be a terrific way of transforming your outdoor living space faster and more affordably. Not all ugly decks require a full tear-down. Here are a few tips for how to update your existing deck safely and beautifully.
Perform a Visual Ground-Up Inspection
The first priority for determining if your old deck is a good candidate for updating is to check to see if the deck footings, support posts and joists are still structurally sound. Hopefully, if the original deck installer followed proper procedures and building codes, the framing supports will be properly designed and located at the appropriate intervals. If you are unsure of what these intervals should be, contact your local building code office and compare your layout with the current code.
Check the deck footings
After performing a visual inspection of the underside area of your deck, take a closer look at each footing to make sure it’s straight, level and in good condition. Over time, especially in cold New England climates, the freezing and thawing cycle can cause concrete footings to rise and fall if they aren’t installed at appropriate depths. Warped or unevenly spaced decking is a tell-tale sign of an improperly installed footing. If the footing itself and wood support appears to be in good condition (with no visible signs of rot, cracks or deterioration) it is a much easier job to readjust a shifted footing then to install a brand new one.
Check the deck supports
Depending on the installation, deck joists can either be installed directly on the footing or there can be another piece of PT lumber (typically a “4 x 4”) that connects the footing to the joists. Again, a visual inspection can determine if these supports need replacing. Pay particular attention to whether there is any dirt or debris that has accumulated at the base of the support that could trap moisture.
Checking the deck joists
Another important structural element to check is the quality and condition of the joists that the decking is attached to. Again, if the initial deck was built to code, the framing members of your deck should be made with what is commonly known as ‘pressure treated’ (PT) wood. This type of wood is infused with preservatives to repel moisture and insects and typically will last for decades.
However, PT joists should still be closely inspected for splits and cracks that could let water seep beyond the woods’ protective coating into the untreated core. At the same time, homeowners should also make sure the joists are spaced uniformly and of adequate size. Typically, deck joists should be made from 2”x 10” or 2” x 12” PT lumber.
Again, check with your local building code if you are unsure about the specific requirements.
Upgrading to Composite Decking
Once you’ve determined that the underlying structural components of your deck can provide adequate support for many more years, it’s time to consider upgrading to a long lasting, low maintenance, composite decking material. Unlike traditional lumber, new composite decking, such as DuraLife’s Siesta and MVP collection of polypropylene and hardwood wood fiber decking, is designed to repel water and resist staining and cracking (with little to no maintenance required) for many, many years.
Manufactured in Biddeford, Maine, using both post-industrial and post-consumer recycled content, DuraLife composite decking contains no toxic chemicals or preservatives. Plus, the unique combination of strong polypropylene plastic and hardwood fibers allows DuraLife’s Siesta profile composite decking to be installed at a 45-degree angle with traditional 16” on-center joist spacing, if desired.
Enjoy A ‘Like New’ Deck – Every Year!
Springtime is a great time to think about finally getting around to updating your outdoor living space. After a long cold winter, it can be tempting to pull the grill and deck chairs out of storage and immediately get down to living the outdoor life you and your family have been craving for months. The time you and your family spend out on the deck is one of the great pleasures of summer in New England.
Before you get too deep into summer, considering giving your old deck a new life by installing new composite decking, rails and other long-lasting components. Then, for many, many years to come, kicking off the summer grilling season will be as easy as a quick spray and wash with the hose.
This article is made possible by DuraLife.DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products. More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.