Is this deck frame salvageable?
July 2, 2012 8:06 AM   Subscribe

This deck needs help (See here!) This deck was very neglected for a long while, and there are some boards rotting away or bending up, etc. The top boards all need to be replaced, that is a no brainer. The real question is about the frame. A few friends have suggested to just replace the top boards, and then sand/weatherproof the existing frame part of it. My first thought when I saw it was just to get rid of the whole thing. Is the frame salvageable, or am I better off scrapping it all and starting anew?
posted by Mr.X to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In my completely unscientific opinion, I'm sure you could reuse the wood in some way, but it would probably save you time and worry to know that your deck is all the same age and condition. You also wouldn't have to make allowances for things like shrinkage, tilt, whatever because of the old boards.
posted by Madamina at 8:14 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just chiming in to second the idea of re-using, re-purposing that old wood in some way. That weathered look doesn't happen overnight, and it has a beauty of its own. Be a shame to waste it.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Madamina makes a good point about the value of having the entire deck be the same age and condition. Also, there have been many advances in decking materials since this one was built. There are composite materials, for example, that would last a LONG time and require little or no maintenance.

Another advantage to starting anew is that you can alter the shape/size to take better advantage of the available space.
posted by John Borrowman at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2012

Nthing replace the whole deck. From the pics, it's impossible to tell if the footers/pilings were properly done from treated wood. If the deck boards are rotting, I'm going to guess no. So, if the surface wood is already rotting, you can bet good money that the stuff sitting in the ground is going to be bad also.

Any reasonably handy person can do an average sized deck in a weekend. If that's not your thing, do some price checking with local contractors; it should be fairly inexpensive to have done.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 9:20 AM on July 2, 2012

All good points above. I'll just add that my understanding is you never want wood against dirt, which some of the those pictures seem to show. It becomes an avenue for bugs, and it allows the boards to wick moisture out of the ground, hastening their demise.
posted by postel's law at 10:36 AM on July 2, 2012

To be slightly contrary. I've seen many cases where the deck boards and railing tops were shot, but everything else was fine. They were protected by the top boards soaking up the sun and rain.

However, wood on dirt=rotted wood. If that's the case, those boards would need to go, and really, now there's not much left.

Oh, and next time -- paint or stain the boards. The reason these have rotted out fare before their time was that it was wood vs. weather. Even if they're marine grade treated, you want something sealing them up. So, next time, paint or stain.
posted by eriko at 7:05 PM on July 2, 2012

Response by poster:
"next time -- paint or stain the boards"
Oh, I know. This is just an inherited situation that I wanted to help get fixed. And if the thought was to save the frame, then I wanted to get on it before it got worse.
posted by Mr.X at 5:15 PM on July 4, 2012

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