Alternatives to replacing deck boards

A wooden deck can present a lot of work for the owner. Over time, wood becomes damaged or unsightly if not cared for properly. However, replacing a deck or even a few boards can be very expensive. There are several alternatives to replacing the old boards with new ones.


Reinforce boards that are loose or unstable with a few extra pieces of wood. Use pieces of wood that are the same width and height as the original boards. The pieces should be a little longer than the original board. Use nails or screws that are long enough to fit into both pieces of wood but are not long enough to stick out the top. Screw the piece of wood onto the underside of the deck to reinforce the board. If a joist is unstable, repair it in the same way. Place screws or nails every 18 to 24 inches along the new piece of wood.


If a deck board starts to curl up on the ends or is bowed over, this is referred to as cupping. When this happens there is usually no need to replace the board. All you have to do is remove the board, flip it over and nail it back into place. Remove the board with a crow bar after removing the nails with a hammer. Re-nail the board using new nails in a new place on the board. If you nail into the same holes as before, the board will be loose. Any other nails that are sticking up or are loose can be hammered back into place.


Refinishing a deck is a simple process. Nail down all protruding nails. Sand the entire deck with an electric sander, paying special attention to ends or sides of boards that may be warped higher than the middle. Make the entire deck even and flat. Clean the wood using a solution of 1 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water. The wood can also be cleaned using a pressure washer. Use a wood stain or protector to shield the deck from future damage, and finish the project with a wood sealer.


If your deck has been attacked by bugs or has worn unevenly, sand it down to restore the flat, attractive surface that it started out with. Use different grits of sandpaper starting with the roughest, gradually lowering down until you reach a fine-grit paper. A metal file can also be used to remove large portions of wood.

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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.