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composite decking

Can you install composite decking over a wood deck?

Monday, February 28, 2022

If your outdoor living space is constructed of wood decking. And after years of use, the wood deck has begun to shake and rot. These are signs that your wood deck has become a safety hazard. You need to consider replacing it as soon as possible. Because wood decks have a limited lifespan, many homeowners have started using composite decking. However, the question for many homeowners is, can you install composite decking over wood decking?


Before you begin an outdoor deck reconstruction job, you need to consider the quality of the old wooden deck. How many years has it been in use? How much decay is there? What type of wood was used for the deck? These questions are very important. Because when you install a new deck over an existing deck, the old deck will directly affect the new deck.

composite decking over existing

Wood decks usually have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years, but this requires you to maintain them regularly. If the existing wood deck is old and rotten, then you cannot install composite decking directly on the wooden deck. This is because a rotting wooden deck will reduce the life of the new composite decking above it. Although composite decking is highly resistant to rot, unfortunately, the surrounding structure will be affected. Moisture can get trapped underneath and can damage both the existing wood decking and the new composite material.

Mahogany, redwood, and cedar top the list in terms of rot resistance. Consider whether your wood deck is made of these sturdy woods. If your wooden decks are relatively new and the material is pressure treated. Then it may not affect the overall quality and longevity of the new composite decking. When confirming the level of rot, you can use a screwdriver to probe around for soft spots. Further, confirm the level of decay in your wooden decking to avoid misjudgments that could lead to more trouble later.

Laying composite decking over wood

The reason for laying composite decking boards over existing wood decking is that it saves time. If the old wooden deck is in good condition, you can completely install composite decking over the existing wooden decks. This saves time and money in building a completely new frame.

If your wooden deck shows signs of decay, you may need to replace it completely. This is to prevent the rotting wood deck boards from collapsing with the newly resurfaced composite decking. Avoid major safety hazards later on, and prevent you from wasting more time and money.

Resurfacing an existing deck with composite decking

Next, let’s learn how to build a new composite deck. Using the right tools and procedures to build a composite deck can take you less time and even provide you with a fun experience.

Step 1: Remove the old deck and inspect it

Start by clearing the old deck of any deck furniture and deck railings. Then, with the help of a pry bar, remove your old deck. Then inspect your framing for rot and make any necessary repairs. Even install additional framing to support the wobbly areas.

Step 2: Protective Measures

Apply liquid wood preservative to the cut ends of the treated wood frame. Then cover the holes in old nails or screws to avoid water accumulation. You can also use protective tape to cover the top of the joists to extend the life of the deck.

Step 3: Installing Composite Decking

Cut the end of the composite deck to the proper length to allow for proper clearance at the end. Secure the deck with matching deck screws or fasteners.

Cut the intermediate boards to length and install them from the breaker boards. Remember to work from the outside railings as you move toward the house. During installation, use spacers to leave a gap between the boards so that water can drain when it rains. Also, the spacing allows the composite panels to expand and contract when exposed to heat.

Step 4: Wrapping Up and Finishing

When you have finished installing your new deck, then reinstall your deck railings. Finally put back your deck furniture and enjoy your sturdy new composite deck.


It is a common practice to use composite decking to replace worn or rotted wood decking if the existing wood deck framing is in good condition. It saves money, time, and is more environmentally friendly than tearing it all down and starting over.

But replacing the old boards with composite decking will also give you a brand new deck. And it lasts longer and is more durable. So, decide how to replace your outdoor deck based on your situation.

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