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Deck Plans 2101m, Download
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Deck Questions and Answers
Newspaper Article, The Record

Repairing and Altering Existing Decks

Adding onto an Existing Deck

Alterations to Decks

We often receive questions about replacing rotted deck boards or changing existing railings and sometimes increase the size of their deck. In all honesty, a good part of these projects can not be done because of the poor quality of the original construction. Rot is also a factor when it comes to older decks. When a deck starts to show signs of rot you can be assured that there are many unseen parts of the deck that are decaying too. A deck in this condition is usually not worth the effort or money to upgrade unless it's for safety purposes. A legally built deck in sound condition may be good candidate for upgrading. Check with your building department prior to doing any work, you may need a permit and inspections depending on the work and town.

Screw Driver and Checking a Deck for Rot

Checking the substructure

In the picture shown here, a screw driver was able to penetrate through the first 2 inches of a supporting floor joist. A clear sign that the substructure is rotting and the entire deck will need to be replaced.

All decks should be periodically check for structural integrity. This is especially true with an older deck which may not have been built properly or shows the signs of rot and decay. Always check the area where the deck attaches to the house. This is an area known for many problems, including the deck ledger board not being properly attached to the house and wood rot from improperly done flashing.

The bottom track or threshold of patio doors should also be checked for damage. This is an area that is pron to water-leakage which can lead to wood rot and entry for insect attack.

Beams, headers and joist tend to rot from the top down and may not be apparent when inspecting a deck from underneath. It's best to poke around with a screwdriver.

Outdoor decks are exposed to harsh weather elements and heavy weight loads. Both will put heavy demands on the substructure of a deck. If in doubt about the condition of your deck, contact a skilled company or your local building inspector.

Permits and Repairs

Building departments usually require a construction permit for structural alterations to a deck. This includes and is not limited to: replacing railings, changing a staircases and even replacing the decking.

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