9 Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Deck


Replacing a deck is no easy project. But with the right strategy and details in mind, you’ll be able to upgrade your deck in no time and enjoy it for years to come. Before you start any construction, there are several things to consider. From logistics to design, here are nine things you need to know before replacing your deck.

1. Ask Why It’s Being Replaced
Before doing anything to your deck, you’ll need to be able to answer one question: Why is the deck being replaced? The answer will help dictate the path you need to take. If the deck just needs cosmetic updates, you may be able to do it yourself. But if there are structural issues, it’s probably smart to hire a professional.

2. Review Your Budget
While your dream deck will surely add value to your home, it might also cost more than you were hoping to spend. The cost of all brand new construction, from footing to hardware, can add up. You may be able to save by keeping some of your deck in place and only adding new material where needed. It may be smart to budget in a little extra for unforeseen circumstances that could arise once construction begins, too. Whatever you do, just be sure to review your budget and know how much you have to spend before you start.

3. Choose Whether to Resurface or Replace
Once you’ve got your answer and a budget in place, you’ll need to figure out if you have to replace the entire deck or can resurface it instead. This is a key step to take because you may need to hire a contractor, which can take time.

If your deck has been worn down from years of harsh weather and your budget is flexible, it might be smart to replace it and move forward with hiring a professional. But if it’s just a little worn out from family barbecues over time and you want to save money, you may be able to keep your deck frame intact and simply replace the boards and install new railings.

4. Decide Between Wood and Composite Decking
An authentic wood deck may be what you have in mind, but it’s important to consider the cost of upkeep. A composite deck is more durable against mold and mildew, UV fade, heat dissipation, and more. Both will add value to your home, but only the latter will really stand the test of time.

5. Pick Your Color, Profile, and Railing
Whether you’re planning to do the job yourself or want to hire a contractor, the fun part starts with picking which materials you will use. There are so many different options to choose from before upgrading your deck. For example, you may be able to remove pressure treated (PT) 5/4 boards and replace them with composite decking. Or maybe you want to go in the direction of restoration paints or staining. It’s also important to consider your railing before starting the job. Railing plays a big role in the work that will be done to resurface or replace your deck.

Do your research and use interactive tools to help make the decision process easier.

6. Decide on the Design, Dimensions, and Add-Ons
Whatever you plan to use your deck for, consider if you want add-ons like integrated benches, LED lighting, decorative lattice, and privacy panels. Take your time reviewing all of your options—now’s the time to figure out your perfect design. Be mindful though: Elements such as a unique diamond pattern may be just what you want, but could also mean the need for more reinforcement underneath the deck to ensure safety.

7. Learn the Logistics
Location of the deck and ledger, frost lines, footing depths, board spacing and fastener choice, and joist spacing—all of these logistics are important. If you’re replacing the deck, you’ll need to know how high up off the ground to build it, if there will be stairs and where they’ll be located, if the deck will be in the sun, shade, or under a tree, and so much more. Consider the tools needed for the job if you’re DIY’ing it and the ease of installation for the product you choose. DuraLife’s comprehensive library of installation instructions and videos can lead you through the entire project. However, if the logistics seem a little too complicated, don’t stress—hiring a professional will do the trick.

8. Know Your Local Building Code
Before you can start demo and bring your ideal deck to life, you’ll need to check in with your municipality to understand if you need a permit and how long it takes to file for and receive one. It’s also important to ask whether your town requires an architect drawing and list of materials being used. Municipalities typically have their own building codes that must be followed, so be sure to check in with yours before you start your project.

9. Figure Out How Long It Will Take
Whether you hired a professional or plan to spend your free time re-doing your deck, it’s not going to happen overnight. From the time you secure the permit to the day you can say you’re done, there’s a lot to do. Rainy weather could delay installation, product availability might mean waiting for materials to arrive, and there may be other challenges that pop up during construction. Consider your timeline and do what you can to plan in advance to speed up the process.

Replacing your deck can easily be done when the right steps are taken. Before jumping in, take some time to consider your budget, town’s building code, materials, and more. Once you have a plan in place, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your brand new outdoor space.