How to repair Rot on a Deck or Balcony


Outdoor decks are a great spot to entertain, barbecue, or simply relax on a sunny day.

Wood decks can be damaged by rain and wind, and they are unlikely to last forever. Wood decks are susceptible to being damaged by wind and rain, and can also collapse from sun exposure. This could cause wood decks to fall on 34,000 people each year.

One way to ensure your deck is in good condition and keep everyone safe is to repair the weak posts, discolored deck boards and splintered boards. Wood rot can be dangerous so it is best to remove all rotten wood and rebuild the deck.

Wood rot can be dangerous so you need to wear a NIOSH 95 respirator when removing rotten wood decks.

Tools and Materials

  • Pry bar
  • Claw hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Circular saw, reciprocating saw or twin-blade see
  • Old screwdriver
  • Respirator
  • Tarp

How to identify wood rot in a deck

All rotten wood is not necessarily rotted. Wood may crack or become splintered from falling limbs. Because the damage is limited, wood can be safely and efficiently repaired. Wet and dry rot can cause damage to larger areas than what is visible from the surface. Although the deck’s beams and wood posts may appear relatively intact from the outside, the interior can become rotten and unrepairable.

Wood rot can cause the wood to feel soft and spongy, and discolor the outer surface. Paint can be bubbly. The wood will crumble if you stick a screwdriver in it.

Both types of rot are often accompanied by fungus. The rotten interior is porous and can be broken down by touch. It may crumble with texture similar to dry bread, or delaminating into strips or flakes.

Remove Rotten Wood Deck Boards

Spread the tarp out on the ground next to the deck. To remove rotten deck boards, stand on the ground or use a ladder to reach it. Safety glasses are recommended.

Place the boards on the tarp. Take out as much of the original sections as you can. Turn the boards over so that the intact sections have been removed. Then, pound the nails from the back. Turn the boards backwards to expose the claws.

The pry bar can be used to chip off small sections of rotten timber that are still on the joists. Nails will still be on the joists so use the claw hammer to remove them.

Cut Off Rotten Deck Posts

Rotten wood deck posts can be more difficult than deck boards to remove because they are much larger and are often anchored in concrete to the ground.

To make it easier to work with, cut the deck posts in multiple sections. To prevent the deck from becoming too heavy, temporarily support it with lumber. To make horizontal cuts, you can use a twin-blade, circular, or reciprocating saw. These saws have blades that are not long enough to cut the post in one continuous cut. Instead, start by cutting on one side of your post. Then, shift to the opposite side and finish the cut.

Remove Rotten Wood Deck Guards and Railing

Because deck users rely on the guards and railings made of rotten wood, they can be particularly dangerous. People who use a deck may assume that the railings or guards are safe and secure. They might even lean on them with all their weight.

Use the hammer to remove rotten guards and railings. Hit upward. You should be able to remove the nails that hold the rails or guards onto vertical balusters and posts. Slide the pry bar underneath the guard or rail and continue prying upward.

You can then remove guards or railing posts by hand. Grab the post with your hands and pull it down using gloves. You will be able to remove the nails that hold the post from below.

Get rid of the rotten wood

Deck wood is often too heavy and bulky to be thrown out with regular trash. Many municipal trash authorities also have restrictions on building materials being disposed of in their home trash pickups.

Renting a roll-off dumpster is usually cheaper and easier for medium-sized decks. Rolloffs are priced according to their size and are regularly emptied.

Most of the wood is decayed and therefore not suitable for reuse. Deck wood cannot be recycled because it is often treated with chemicals. To have your deck materials removed to the nearest landfill, call a hauling service. You can dispose of the materials yourself if you own a truck.

To ensure safety, take out all nails and fasteners from the deck that has been demolished immediately.

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