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How to Remove an Outdoor Deck

October 08, 2022

A comfortable outdoor deck allows you to enjoy your outdoor life. If your outdoor deck is weathered after 10 years or more, it will get old and worn out. At first, you can renail or replace some decking boards and fix other things. But if the outdoor deck is too bad, you may need to remove the outdoor deck and rebuild it.

In addition to the deck becoming old, rotten and beyond repair requires the removal of the outdoor deck. There may also be other reasons to remove the deck. For example, when you want to expand or upgrade your outdoor space, you need to remove the old deck and rebuild a new outdoor deck. When you want to add an outdoor garden or build a composite pergola, you may also need to remove the old deck.

Things to consider before removing an outdoor deck

Planning ahead helps a lot. First, decide if you want to hire someone to do the job or do it yourself. In either case, make sure you protect your landscape and clear a path for the trash to be taken away. Plan out how you will replace your outdoor deck. You should consider your budget and how much value it will add to your home if you replace the deck.

outdoor composite decking

The price of removing an outdoor deck

When contractors figure out the cost of removing a deck, they look at its size, condition, and style. A large raised deck may cost more to remove than a small deck on the ground. A small above-ground deck will cost between $600 and $1,000 to build. For the do-it-yourselfer, there are two costs: the cost of renting a trailer or dumpster and the cost of dumping the trash.

Create a post-demolition plan for your deck

What will replace your outdoor deck? It could be a shed, a garden, or another deck. Think about replacing the deck with a concrete or paver stone patio. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. If you want to rebuild your deck, you should consider all options, including composite decking, which lasts much longer than wood deck boards and requires less maintenance, among other benefits.

The best way to do this is to hire a contractor to tear down the old deck and build a new one. This can reduce the time between removing the old deck and building the new one, which is often an important factor. The contractor may also charge less for the demolition work.

When making plans, don’t forget to include landscaping, lighting, and other extras such as an outdoor kitchen, hot tub, or fire pit.

Will removing the deck reduce the value of your home?

Whether or not taking down your deck will lower the value of your home depends on what you put in its place. In most cases, if you don’t replace a large, functional deck with a similar deck or patio, the value of your home will go down. This is especially true if the majority of homes in your area have decks. That’s why it’s important to plan for the replacement.

Should you tear down your deck yourself or hire a professional?

When deciding whether to hire a contractor to tear down your deck or do it yourself, you should consider the pros and cons of each. You should consider how much it will cost to hire a professional, but if you follow a few safety steps, you’ll probably save about half the cost by tearing down your deck yourself.

Are you prepared? Think about how much you know, how good you are at it, and how much time you have. If you’re already planning to hire a contractor to build a new outdoor deck, it might make sense to have them tear down the old one and haul it away.

How to Remove an Outdoor Deck

The best way to take apart a deck is to work from the top down, taking each part or component away from the work area as soon as it is removed. Wear long pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes, and gloves, and protect your eyes and ears. Always work in a stable, comfortable position, and don’t try to do too much.

Tools and materials needed

When decks are torn down, they leave more junk behind than you might think. Find a trailer or dumpster that is suitable for this job. Here are the tools you’ll need to tear down your deck

  • Hammer
  • Wrecking bar or pry bar
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Drill/driver and bits
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw and blades
  • Scrap plywood
  • Gloves
  • Eye and ear protection

Step 1: Go to the deck and identify safety hazards

Open up multiple levels and enclosed decks. Check electrical connections, and call an electrician if needed. Next, look for weak wood, missing or broken fasteners, and wobbly posts. Wasp nests and animal nests are often found under and around old decks. Fix all safety issues. Try not to go around them.

Step 2: Remove the deck railings

Start with the handrail. Use a reciprocating saw to cut through the bottom railing near the posts, taking care to avoid brackets and fasteners. Do the same thing for the top railing, but leave the railing in place. Once the railing is cut, let the entire piece fall safely. Or, have someone hold the piece of railing for you while you cut. Take the entire piece of railing to the trash at once. If it’s too big to handle, cut it in half.

Step 3: Remove the deck and cut the joists.

How you take off the trim depends on the situation. If you can back out the screws or pry up the nailed-down deck boards, you won’t have to do as much work, but the job will take a little longer. As a temporary deck, you can use a piece of plywood that spans at least three joist frames in place for safety. Bend the nails down before getting the boards off the deck.

Another method is to take out the two boards closest to the house and the last two boards at the other end. Cut the deck boards between the two joists and saw them toward the house. Using a wrecking bar or reciprocating saw, you can cut the screws that hold the cut boards together. You can also leave the boards in place and cut only the joists. Do this in small pieces when cutting the joists.

Step 4: Remove the stairs from the deck.

Remove the stair railings in the same way you removed the other railings and balusters. Next, remove the treads by removing the screws holding them in place, or cutting them off. Use a circular saw or a saw that moves back and forth to cut the stringers off the deck.

Step 5: Remove the Ledger Board

Once you have unscrewed the lag bolts that hold the ledger board to the house, it is not difficult to remove them. When removing the last bolt, stay away from the ledger board, which is usually a long, heavy board. If you can’t easily pry open the ledge, look for the hidden lag bolts in the hardware of the joist hangers. If the ledger board is too heavy to carry to the trash, cut it in half or in thirds.

Step 6: Remove the deck transom.

In most cases, the transom is two or three times the size of the joists. Because the beams are big and heavy, cut them into pieces that are easier to move and knock the other pieces off the posts.

Step 7: (Optional) Dig Up the Deck Posts & Footings

Some people cut the posts into the ground and leave them there, but it’s best to remove them or use them again if possible. If you can’t get the post out of the ground, nail a block of wood low on one side of it and use it as leverage to lift it up. You can also tie a heavy chain to the post and use a skid steer to move it. This is the best option when there is a concrete foundation or post.

author avatar
Galen Content Writer
Galen is a content creator and decorator with five years of experience designing home decor. In his daily life, Galen is constantly on the lookout for the latest, great examples of house design and further optimizes his solutions. Additionally, he writes articles related to outdoor design, interior design, and architectural decorating materials to help brands build more engaging relationships with their audiences.
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