Rejuvenating Poorly-Built Deck

by Felicity
(Sydney, Australia)

Please bear with me - I'm not a handywoman and am probably going to explain this badly as I don't know the terms to use!

Our deck is approximately 10 years old and was built by the former owner of our house. A year or so after we moved in, I noticed that the boards used to build the deck appeared to have been laid wrongside-up. That is, the surface on which one walks is ridged and the underside is smooth.

I didn't think this was a problem but the deck is now badly in need of sanding and revarnishing (it's painted) and I can't figure out how to do this.

Can anyone offer any advice? Do we need to rebuild the deck entirely?

Hope I've explained this properly and that someone can help.


(Sydney, Australia)

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Jan 14, 2011
Sanding the deck may work
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

You mentioned that the decking boards are ridged on the top surface and that you think this is in error as the smooth side should have been place facing up. There are a number of timber/lumber manufacturers that sell decking boards that are purposely ridged - a little bit. The reason is this can provide a better and safer surface to walk on.

But there can be a negative flip side to this. If you live in a wet climate you may find the ridges hold water longer. This will shorten the life span of the wood. In drier climates this would not be much of a concern.

So I say this just because the builder may have installed the boards exactly as they were intended to be used.

Now if you wish to remove them you might be able to rent a floor sander and sand it down. The floor sanders I am thinking of are actually large 8"-10" wide belt sanders. But you may end up sanding down the heads of all the fasteners and exposing the raw steel setting things up for a lot rust and staining of the wood down the road.

You would have to set the nails deeper or drive the screws deeper to account for this and you would be fine. But its a bit of finesse work. All of this is likely to be less work than ripping up the entire deck and starting new - and probably less expensive.

If there is another builder out there who can offer some help please chime in.

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