Deck Demolition Made Easy
As the housing market struggles, many homeowners are electing to put off the buying and selling process until the market improves. Money that was set aside for down payments is now being used to improve the current residence. One of the most popular home improvement projects is renovating or replacing an existing deck.
By: Hal Jones
Depending on the original deck design, your first step is usually going to be the demolition process. For a ground level deck, this process is as simple as ripping lumber while standing on firm ground and cutting the deck sections into pieces small enough to safely carry away. On elevated decks
, do not exceed the level of your expertise; deck lumber is heavy and unforgiving and once the supports are cut away bad things can happen , quickly.
(Elevated deck removal is beyond the scope of this article; it may be best to hire a professional. Always check with local utility companies for buried and (sometimes not so buried) services such as gas, electrical, phone and cable.)
There are certain tools that will make the process easier
Either a worm drive or circular saw would be the most commonly used tool for cutting apart old decks. Here a Bosch worm drive Saw makes quick work of cutting through decking boards.
The first cuts should be two parallel cuts between the decking joists and away from all nails. The decking joists are the 2 x 8s, 2 x 10s or 2 x 12s that run perpendicular to the deck boards on top. Joists are underneath and deck boards are fastened to the joists. Since most decks are built on 16” or 24” centers (distance between the joists), after cutting you should have an opening of 14” or 22” to stand in as you cut. These cuts are to allow you to stand on solid ground as you work your way along. As you make the second cut, the deck boards will drop away. Pick them up and remove them from the area to avoid safety risks and hazards that could lead to falls or much worse.