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Deck Resurfacing with Composite Decking

2020-07-06
Spending time outside on a deck is one of the many joys of nice weather. But a deck that is worn or in need of repair and refinishing can leave you thinking about upkeep rather than enjoying your time outdoors. Resurfacing an existing deck with composite decking may be the right solution and provide the transformation you are looking for.
Read below to see if resurfacing your deck instead of building from scratch is the best option, and the steps to install UltraDeck Composite decking on your existing deck structure.
Inspire Step Scene
WHEN TO RESURFACE A DECK
Deck resurfacing is when the surface material of the deck and stair boards are removed from an existing deck, but the substructure, including the existing deck frame and foundation, is kept in place to be used again. Resurfacing can save cost, material, and up to 75% of the time associated with building a new deck from the ground up.
YOUR DECK IS A GOOD CANDIDATE TO BE RESURFACED WITH COMPOSITE DECKING IF IT FITS WITHIN THE FOLLOWING SCENARIOS:
  • The deck's surface needs maintenance, is weathered, or has some damage, but the deck's structure is in good condition.
  • The deck is in great shape, but the finish, color, or style of the deck or railings do not fit your style and you would like an updated look.
  • It is in great condition but the deck requires yearly painting or staining to keep it looking good; which is more maintenance than you'd like to do for your deck.
  • You want a more family friendly material that won't splinter or crack, and is resistant to scratches and stains.
STEP 1: INSPECT THE STRUCTURE
Boards and plans on deck framing
Before starting a resurfacing project, the structure and foundation of the entire deck should be thoroughly inspected. A few of the existing deck boards may need to be removed to gain access to the deck structure when inspecting. Work from the ground up; make sure the foundation is sound and level, check the wood framing and joists, inspect railings or other features. When checking the joists, pay attention to the joist spacing to make sure they comply with current building codes and the composite deck boards that you plan to use. If they do not, you will need to determine if adjustments can be made and structure added to correct the spacing. If any part of the substructure or foundation is in need of repair, or adjustments to the structure or joist spacing are needed, those repairs will need to be made prior to installing new decking and railing material.
STEP 2: REMOVE OLD DECKING
removing deck screws from old deck
Once you know your structure is a good candidate for resurfacing, start by carefully removing all of the old, existing railing and deck boards that you plan to replace. Be careful not to damage any of the structure and leave as few gouges or holes in the joists as you will want a solid, secure base to build on. Remove any excess nails or screws that may be left as they could hinder installation as well. The cleaner, smoother and more level the joists are, the better your final project will turn out.
STEP 3: PREPPING THE FULL STRUCTURE
level on the deck
With the existing decking and railing off of the deck, recheck the structure and replace or stabilize any part of the structure or stairs that need to be fixed. Check joist spacing and add any joists that may be needed. Make sure to check requirements of the composite deck boards as well as consult local building codes, as many now require joist spacing to be 12" on center. Place a 6" or longer level across the joists to check for level. If needed, use a sander or planer to make sure your joists are level. If the deck is attached to the house, make sure it is level parallel to the house, but that it slopes slightly away from the house with approximately a " drop for every 10' of deck.
Keep in mind any design features that you may want to create with the deck boards, such as laying the boards diagonally, picture framing, or creating any pattern. Additional joists and blocking may need to be added to account for the decking and stair span, railing installation, as well as any unique decking patterns being installed.
UltraDeck composite decking is rated for joist spacing up to 12" On Center when decking is installed perpendicular to the joists and 12" On Center when installed diagonally. Many local building codes require 12" On Center joist spacing for decks no matter the direction the board is installed; so make sure to check local codes before you begin.
Deck Pattern Line Drawings
Keep board layout and pattern in mind as well. Butt joints, where the end of one board meets another board, require additional nailer boards attached to the joists to provide proper support. Stairs require structure that is 8" On Center maximum. For more detailed requirements check out the full UltraDeckTM Installation Guide.
STEP 4: INSTALLING ULTRADECK COMPOSITE DECK BOARDS
Once the structure is ready and any adjustments are made for your design, you are ready to start attaching boards. UltraDeck composite decking has multiple hidden fastening options, making board gapping easy and leaving a clean, fastener free surface of your deck. Grooved deck boards are made to accommodate the hidden fasteners and used for the majority of the deck; while radius edge boards are designed for stairs and outside edges of the deck, leaving a clean and finished edge.
Exact installation instructions will depend on the hidden fasten system that is chosen, the pattern of your deck boards, and how you deck boards run in relation to the house. In general, if the boards are running perpendicular to the house, you'll be starting on one outside edge of the deck and work your way across. If the boards are running parallel, you will start on the edge opposite of the house and work your way towards the house.
STARTING WITH A GROOVED VS. RADIUS EDGE BOARD
For the outside edges of your deck you can choose to use either a grooved deck board, or start with a Radius Edge board. A radius edge board on the outer edges will result in a more finished look at the edge of the deck but will require a little different application for the first two boards. When using radius edge boards for the outside of the deck, use undermount dek brackets to install the radius edge board along the outer edge as well as on the row of grooved edge boards next to it. Once the first row of grooved edge boards is secure, you can switch to using the hidden fasteners of choice. If, instead, you choose to use grooved edge boards for the outer most boards, predrill holes every 8" along the rim joist on the outside edge and use a 1-5/8" deck screws to install the board. You can finish off the edge by running cladding along the outside edge to conceal the joist and any visible screws in the deck boards. It is not recommended to drill through the face of the deck boards.
Surface Screws Line Art
T-Clips or UltraClips can be used to install all grooved deck boards across the rest of the deck. Each deck board will need a clip installed on every joist.
T-clip install
Once that board is secured at each joist with hidden fasteners, the next row of boards can slide in to place. Lay the board a few inches away, but aligned with where it will be placed on the deck. Push the next deck board in to the secured clips at a slight angle, to align the grove, before laying it flat on the joists. Make sure the entire length of the board is positioned in place before moving on. Continue this process across the entire surface of the deck. Proper installation will have two fasteners per board, one on each side, at every joist.
Person laying deck boards
Once you work your way to the other edge of the deck, or reach the house, slide the last board in to place and secure. The last board can be attached by using Undermount Dek brackets or by installing 2-1/2" deck screws every 8' along the exterior edge of a grooved board, just as the first board was installed. The last board may need to be trimmed, if trimmed, install with undermount dek brackets.
INSTALLING ULTRADECK BOARDS ON THE STAIRS
When installing stair boards, use radius edge boards rather than grooved boards for a clean and finished look. Undermount Dek brackets should be used to install the boards to the stair stringers, with stringer spacing having a maximum of 8" on center spacing. Cladding can be added to the front and sides of stairs for a clean, finished look.
ADD FINISHING TOUCHES
Now that the deck surface is complete, add finishing touches and decorative elements to enhance the look and function of your deck. Add railing around the deck and on the stairs for safety and character, cladding to finish off the edges, or built in lighting for night time ambiance.
PRODUCTS USED TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT
t-clips
T-CLIPS
ultraclip closeup
ULTRACLIPS
dekmount image
UNDERMOUNT DEK BRACKETS
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