How to replace a section of decking board

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A deck board that is damaged, split or rotted can be replaced as a safety precaution and aesthetic fix. You might only need to take out, flip and refinish the damaged board if it isn’t in any way damaged. You can replace the entire board if there is damage. However, this is not always practical or possible. You can also replace the damaged area of the board if necessary. This is done by removing the damaged portion of the board and replacing it with new material. This is a simple project that requires little preparation.

What you’ll need

Equipment / Tools

  • Eye protection
  • Speed is everything
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Optional: Screwdriver
  • Pry bar
  • Circular saw
  • Optional: Miter saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill driver
  • 1/8-inch Drill twist bit
  • Tape measure
  • Apply wood sealer by brushing
  • Use a paintbrush to finish wood

Materials

  • Deck wood sealer (clear).
  • 16d galvanized nails
  • 2 1/2-inch Galvanized deck screws
  • 1
    24 inch piece Pressure-treated 2×4 lumber
  • 3 1/2-inch Galvanized deck screws
  • Deck board lumber can be used to match existing decking boards
  • Deck wood finish (as required)
  • 3-inch Galvanized deck screws

Instructions

Plan the Cut

It is important to remove the damaged area cleanly and make it look natural.

Take a look at the damaged deck board section and decide where to cut. The replacement board should be cut so that the joint in the damaged section of the deck board does not match the joints in adjacent rows of decking. To create a natural look, it is better to stagger decking board joints from row to row.

Even though the area that has been damaged is small, it is best to have the replacement section span at least two spaces between joists. This will ensure it is supported at at least three places: at the ends and at the interim joist. Identify the damaged areas by identifying the joists. Use a speed ruler to mark straight cutting lines and squares on the board.

Take out the damaged board

Before you begin cutting, make sure to wear eye protection. To cut along the lines, use a jigsaw or coarse wood-cutting knife. You must remove the damaged board so that it is flush with the edges. If you are comfortable using this method, the speed square can be used to guide your saw. For straight cuts, you can simply follow the line.

Use a drill driver, screwdriver or pry bar to remove the screws and nails that are holding the damaged section of decking board together. The board section should be removed.

Seal Any Joist Rot

Remove any rot from the joists beneath the board that was damaged. Use two coats clear sealer to treat and protect the exposed joists.

Joist Reinforcement

A reinforcing joint made from pressure-treated lumber with a clear finish is added. The new joist should be placed tightly against the damaged joint. Attach the new joint with 16d nails, or 3 1/2-inch deck screws every two feet.

Install the Support Cleats

Cleats are used to support the replacement of decking.

Two 12-inch-long pieces of 2×4 lumber are cut for support cleats. Use a drill with a 1/8-inch twist bit to drill pilot holes at both ends of the cleats.

Place a support bracket against one of the exposed joists and center it under the area where the board was removed. The top of your cleat should meet the top of the joint.

Four 2 1/2-inch deck screws through the pilot holes are used to fasten the cleat to a joist. Continue with the second cleat, and the other joist.

Make a new decking board

The new decking board should be cut to fit in the cut-out.

If your new board is already cupped, place it so that the convex (crowned) side faces upwards. This will prevent the board from curling as it weathers.

If there is no cupping on the board, check the end grain. If the grain pattern has a visible curve, place the board so that the curve faces upwards, as shown in the illustration.

Complete the Board

Before installing the board, finish or stain it.

The same lumber species should be used in the patch area as in the rest. The patch will stand out from the rest if you don’t plan to paint the entire deck.

Tip

You can match your deck’s weathered gray tone with a weathering treatment. Combine 1 cup baking soda and 1 gallon warm water. Use a scrub brush to apply the solution. Rinse it off. Before you install the board, let it dry.

Install the New Board

Place the replacement board in a position where the gaps between adjacent boards are uniform.

Two pilot holes should be drilled through each board at the ends, approximately 3/4 inch from each end. The holes should be centered over the support beams. Drill two pilot holes at each end of the board, about 3/4 inch from each end. Attach the board to the cleats (and any spanned joints) using a pair 3-inch deck screws through the pilot holes.

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