Replacing a few rotted decking slats

brunosonioSeptember 11, 2011

We have several cedar decks in our PNW house that are about 17 years old. They've held up well to the wet weather, and I've been good about cleaning/restaining every 2 years on the horizontal surfaces.

However, I've noticed this summer that several spots have a few individual horizontal slats with dry rot areas. This tends to be directly under a rain gutter or under a tree limb. What is odd also is that the dry rot seems to be isolated to an individual slat and not in the neighboring slats.

Is it recommended to cut out the affected area (about 4 feet length) then replace? Or should I just rip out the entire length of that individual slat (about 12-14 feet in each case) then replace with a new one? Looking online, it seems cutting out the affected area is more common, but that involves adding extra bracing underneath to hold the new wood.

I could hire a handyman/carpenter to do the job, but was wondering if this was something easy enough to do on my own to save a few pennies.

For what it's worth, they say we usually can only get about 15 years out of a deck in our wet climate before replacement. The vertical elements of all our decks are still in great shape, so maybe it's time to just replace as many of the horizontal pieces as needed? I'm not sure I want to spend the kind of money it would take to do a complete replacement of the horizontal wood this year.

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I'd replace the whole length of the board. It's a pretty simple DIY project. Just pull out the screws with a drill, remove the board, cut a new one to the precise length, and screw it in to the same supporting joists. If it's nailed, then you just pry up the old one and nail in the new one.

Do take some good measurements of the existing boards first. In our last house we had 8 randomly-situated bad boards that we ripped out, but found that the new boards we bought were slightly wider than the old ones (standards changed over 15 years?), so I had to replace the whole deck. If you found this you could always just rip the new boards down a bit, but in any case, it would be good to know up front what you're going to need to do.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 8:43AM
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Thanks for the tips...that's what I thought about replacing, and good idea about checking measurements.

Isn't it odd how some boards will dry rot and others won't? It's almost random...

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 3:04AM
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