I have an existing deck. The top needs to be replaced, but everything underneath is still good. Do I have to replace it all or can I just put a new top on it?
We are professional deck builders and we are knowledgeable on this subject. You can just put new top boards on the deck as long as the structure is still solid. If it is a floating deck that is built on deck blocks I would recommend levelling the deck after the existing top boards have been removed. You can use shims between the posts and deck blocks to re-level the deck if it is no longer level.
I recommend a thorough inspection of all the connections of the joists and beams when the deck boards are removed. Quite often a deck frame looks solid but the joints have become weak with a bit of wood rot. Give a moderately strong tap to all the connections around the frame to make sure that they are still strong. If the structure was made with screws you may be surprised at how easy they come apart. Get rid of wood rot and weak connections and use framing nails to refasten the new connections. If the deck has lag bolts from the joists to the posts and the deck is supported only by the lag bolts it is a good time to replace the lag bolts and properly support the joists or beams so the load is not carried by only lag bolts which can eventually shear and lead to a deck collapse. It would be a shame to put new top boards on only to have the deck structure fail prematurely.
For a little bit of time now you may save a lot of time and money in the future.
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