While properly built and maintained decks can last a long time, exposure to elements and lack of maintenance can cut that lifespan to half or more.When is it time to take down your deck? You will know when your deck needs to be removed when it starts showing significant signs of wear and tear. These signs can be soft spots due to rotten wood, bouncy wood, nails or fasteners popping or breaking, wild animal damage under deck – like raccoons or skunks. Once you have made the decisions to tear down your deck you will need to start with preparation and planning. While removing a deck can seem like a big challenge at first it is much easier if you have a solid plan.
How to Prepare for A Deck Demolition
The first steps of preparation include clearing everything off the deck. That can include furniture your bbq, tables chairs and anything and everything else that can be removed. This will allow to move freely on the structure and perform the required work. The next step is planning, get an idea of where you want to start and finish. A very important step of the planning process is to secure disposal for the removed deck boards and wood.
You will need to call around and schedule a bin, or a junk removal company to take everything away. Alternatively, you can use a pickup truck or van to take everything to the local dump. If your deck is comprised of pressure treated wood you might have to do a little bit more research. Not every disposal site accepts pressure treated wood as pressure treated is laden with toxic chemicals. If you are planning to dispose the decking in one of Toronto’s drop-off depots you might want to check what is accepted and what is not. Of course, if you hire us for your deck demolition we do all the planning, research and of course we do all the work!
A Rental bin alone will set you back at least several hundred dollars. This will include the bin for set period of time, usually one week, and all the debris you can fill it in with. If you are taking things to the dump on your own expect to pay a set fee per tone of material you will dispose of. Usually for a medium size deck expect to pay a little less than what you will pay for a bin rental. Of course this cost does not include the cost to transport the materials to the municipal waste site.
Deck Demolition Tools
You will need several tools to remove the deck. Everything you need is available at the local hardware store. Some tools will require electricity so you might want to plan for a few power chords as well.
- Pry Bar
- Reciprocating Saw
- Protective Glasses
- Work Boots
Do You Need A Permit to Remove The Deck
While building a new deck requires a permit, removing a deck does not usually require a permit. It is not a bad idea to double-check with your local building code office to be absolutely certain.
A Step By Step Guide to Demolish Your Deck
The easiest way to demolish a deck is to start from the top and work towards the bottom. Nailed or screwed once you have the right tools you can work your way through all the decking with the appropriate tools.
Remove the Deck Handrails
The first step is to start removing the handrails. You will need to work from one end to the other using a praybar or crowbar if they are nailed together or a screw driver if they are screwed.
Cut or Pry Off the Deck Boards
These are the boards you are stepping on. Start removing deck boards from one side and keep working towards the other. You can pry them off or cut them with a saw. This part of the deck removal process will take time. You will need to work methodically and try not to break too many boards. Organize the boards by length and try to keep nails and screws removed in one place.
Cut The Frame Away From The Main Structure
Decks are usually attached to the structure on one side. This step has to be performed slowly and with care. After all the deck boards have been removed the main frame connected to the house is next. Once the deck frame is freed from the structure you can continue with the Joists
Cut and Remove The Joists
Using the reciprocating saw or a hammer you need to free up the ends of each joist from the hangers where they are fastened.
Remove Hanger Boards
You can use a pry bar or a sledge hammer for this but the idea here is to break all the outer hanger boards off the deck support posts.
Dig Out Support Posts
You will need to dig around the concrete footings and pull to loosen them from the ground. There are different types of footings supporting decks. Concrete footing are fairly common.
While you are performing the above tasks it is a good idea to keep things as organized as possible. An organized works site is a safe work site. Pile up all the broken or rotten boards in one area, all the salvageable material in another. Throw all nails or screws in a bucket or jar as you go. You don’t want to be stepping on nails and screws as you are demolishing the deck. Do frequent runs to the bin or truck so that you are ready to go to the dump.
Once everything is removed and cleaned you are now ready for a new deck.