Replacing Broken Deck Boards

If you have started to notice that a few of your deck boards are feeling a bit soft or starting to warp due to water damage or rot; you'll want to learn how to remove and replace old deck boards. Old deck boards with areas of curling or cracking are showing signs that the deck plank is no longer structurally sound.

Some decking materials, such as pressure-treated decking or Cedar deck boards, can dry and discolor without extensive maintenance needed. However, when deck boards are giving too much bounce when stepped on or are showing visible cracks or deck rot; replacing worn-down deck boards is necessary.

For many homeowners, replacing old decking can be a great opportunity to switch out old deck boards with long-lasting and durable composite decking. Composite decking brands such as Trex or Fiberon composite deck boards, are crafted from recycled plastic particles and organic wood fibers then capped with a strong capstock. This protects composite deck boards from water damage, rot, and pests for an enduring deck space!

Learn how to remove and replace old deck boards and replace them with new composite deck boards such as this stunning Trex Transcend in Tiki Torch

How to Replace Deck Boards

  1. Mark the Deck Boards to Be Replaced
    Use a carpenter's pencil or a lumber crayon to note which of the old deck boards you'll be removing. There are a lot of worn-down deck planks throughout the deck surface, and once you get to the point of actually lifting the boards off, you'll want to be certain that you have the right board.
  2. Removing Nails, Screws, or Hidden Deck Fasteners
    Backup and remove deck fasteners attached the damaged decking board using a pry bar, screwdriver or drill. If the decking fasteners can't be taken out, cut the board into pieces and remove the deck board in sections.
  3. Inspect Joists and Remove Rotted Portions
    Inspect the joists underneath for signs of rot, age and water damage. Use a hammer and chisel to take off any rotted sections of joists. Repair and reinforce joists that have soft, discolored areas with a wood putty.
  4. Apply Sealer and Joist Tape
    Apply a thick coat of clear sealer to the damaged joist, let it dry, and then apply a second coat. Once fully cured, enhance the joist protection from future water-damage by applying a layer of deck joist tape along the top of the joist.
  5. Reinforce the Deck Joist
    If necessary, cut and mount a reinforcing joist for increased support strength. Position the newly cut reinforcing joist tightly against the damaged joist and it's neighboring joist or beam. Then attach the piece with galvanized structural deck screws driven tightly in place.
  6. Secure Reinforcing Joist
    Attach the reinforcing deck joist to the ledger and header joist by toenailing with deck screws or structural hardware.
  7. Prepare Replacement Deck Board
    Use a tape measure to find the specific length of your opening and mark the deck plank to size. Cut new replacement deck boards from matching decking material, using a circular saw.
  8. Attach New Decking
    Position the new decking and attach it to joists with galvanized deck screws or hidden deck fasteners. Make sure the space between boards matches that of existing decking by measuring the deck board gapping.

Now that you know how to remove old deck boards, switch to new composite decking to prevent this from happening in the future! Finding out how to remove broken deck boards is wonderful to know, but replacing rotten deck boards with durable composite decking can help you be a pro-active deck owner for a more leisurely space to enjoy.

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For more in-depth deck framing and building information, read our Decks 101: Deck Framing Guide to become a true deck construction pro and wow your family, friends and guests these spring and summer seasons ahead! Learn more about composite deck brands, deck lighting options, and create the backyard deck space you've always dreamed of!

When choosing your deck design and deck board layout, we highly recommend getting in touch with one of our deck designers to help you pick out the composite decking or PVC decking lines, styles, and hardware that match your home's style and can help create the outdoor look you want. Give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 to get started today!