Tips for Replacing Old Deck Boards | Ep. 118

Replacing deck boards
Old, rotten deck boards need to be replaced, and this is a job anyone can tackle themselves. (©steheap, Adobe Stock Photos)
  • [1:35] Cost-effective way to level a backyard and add a retaining wall
  • [6:37] All about Bilco basement doors and window wells
  • [8:28] The best products to strip vinyl and paint a metal door
  • [11:41] Exmark Backyard Life Tip: Deck Maintenance
  • [14:57] How to fix a toilet that won’t shut off after flushing
  • [17:07] Tips for replacing the boards on an old wood deck
  • [21:30] Home Depot Best New Product: Winix D480 True Hepa Air Purifier
  • [24:01] Simple Solution: How to make a bio-degradable seed starter from an ice cream cone
  • [25:59] Question of the Week: What are the best replacement options for an old concrete septic tank?

Wooden decking that has rotted or deteriorated over time will need to be replaced.

Start by using a hammer and pry bar to remove the old deck boards. You can also insert a long board between the decking and joists to pry the old deck boards loose.

After all the old decking and nails have been removed, pull a string or extend a straight board on its edge across the floor joists to make sure the joists haven’t sagged. Replace or shim up any sagging joists before installing the new decking.

Align the first deck board perpendicular to the floor joists and overhanging the outside edge of the deck. Screw the board in place using 3-inch-long, rust-resistant deck screws.

Pressure-treated deck boards that have been kiln dried after treatment will expand slightly in width after installation, so use an 8-penny nail as a spacer to leave a 1/8-inch gap between the boards.

Boards that haven’t been kiln-dried after treatment and are still wet with preservatives will shrink slightly when they dry, so butt them closely together when attaching.

To straighten a crooked board, attach one end of the board to the deck joists, and then pry the other end into place before securing it.

Leave the deck boards longer than the deck, so they hang over the outer edge of the deck by several inches or more.

After all the deck boards have been attached, pop a chalk line an inch or so past the end of the deck foundation and use a circular saw to cut the decking to the finished length.

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

Simple Solutions 

Quick Tip for Leveling Shelves — Many wooden shelves have metal keyhole slots mounted on the back of each shelf bracket.

The challenge of using keyhole slots is that the screws must be precisely spaced from center to center and be perfectly level.

Start by taking a level and putting two pieces of tape on the level. Align the tape strips with the centers of the keyhole slots, then mark the center of each slot onto the tape.

Now, you will have the exact spacing in the slots. Hold the level on the wall and adjust it until the bubble is right in the center of the vial.

Next, transfer the marks on the tape onto the wall. Draw one small vertical line at each end of the level and one horizontal line across the top of the level.

Now, all you have to do is drive screws into those marks and hang your level shelves. 

Watch: Hang Perfectly Level Shelves Every Time with This Trick 

Ice Cream Cone Seed Starter — Make a biodegradable seed starter from a wafer-style ice cream cone. Fill the cone with soil, plant seed to recommend depth, and then water. Once the seed sprouts, plant the seedling in the garden or pot—cone and all.

Question of the Week

Q: I need to replace our 38-year-old concrete septic tank. Should I go with concrete again or either fiberglass or plastic? Which of these three would be best and which would be the worst?

A: I suggest replacing the concrete septic tank with a fiberglass septic tank. Fiberglass tends to be less expensive, easier to move around, and easier to install.

Many septic tanks are made out of concrete but the liquid waste inside contains a gas that eats through concrete. Because of this, Joe uses a plastic tank. Plastic septic tanks are more expensive, but they won’t deteriorate or crack. And, they’re easy to install.

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