how to extreme

Upgrade your Deck

Construction How-To, Decks, Decks, Outdoor Living, Projects August 3, 2016 Sonia








Quality treated wood and a hidden-fastener system give an old deck a facelift.

When it came time to replace some rotted deck boards on a recent project, we chose to use high-quality, Above-Ground treated lumber and a hidden-fastener system to achieve a smooth nail-free surface that’s rot-resistant and friendly to bare feet. Here’s how we took out the old boards and put in the new ones for a durable deck surface that will last for years.

Preservative Treatment

The deck for this project was built with a floor of 2x treated lumber. For the replacement decking, we used Ecolife™ Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood from Sunbelt Forest Products, which has an innovative wood-stabilizing preservative that protects the natural beauty of Above-Ground exterior wood from weathering, termite attack and decay. Ecolife’s built-in water repellency is pressure-treated throughout the wood making the lumber more stable, with up to 50 percent less surface cracking and checking as compared to ordinary treated wood.

Substantial wood rot required new deck boards for this deck.

Substantial wood rot required new deck boards for this deck.

These important preservative features, combined with the routine maintenance of a quality stain/sealer, should eliminate the need to replace the deck boards again in the near future.

Hidden Fastening System

Another step toward board longevity—as well as good looks—is the use of a hidden fastener system. By avoiding holes driven into the top face of the boards, you avoid splits in the grain and creating all those points of entry for rain water, which could contribute to rot.

A fastener-free deck floor also appears more uniform and provides a smoother walking surface (or crawling surface, if you have young kids).

A number of hidden-fastener systems are available for decking, but we chose the Shadoe Track System for this deck because it utilizes a hidden joist-mounted system, rather than fasteners placed between the deck boards (which can sometimes be noticeable). It’s important to note, however, that to use this particular system the deck must be elevated far enough above the ground to access the joists and allow working room beneath the deck boards (

Out with the Old

For some folks, the prospect of demolishing a deck surface might sound like a grueling job. Not me. We’ve got a monster deck-demolishing pry bar called The Gutster that forks between floor boards and leverages over the joists to pluck those nailed boards right off the framing with surprisingly little effort. This tool even has some nail-puller slots built into the head—and they actually work. I use it often and enthusiastically for demolition work. The Gutster comes in a few different sizes, |but I’m six feet tall and prefer the long-handle model for floor-level jobs because it grants tall users better back-saving leverage.

The Guster bridges over joists to pry up the decking with its forked demolition head.

The Guster bridges over joists to pry up the decking with its forked demolition head.