How to Remove an Old Wood Deck

how to remove an old wood deck

If you know the tricks of how to remove an old wood deck, the job will go more smoothly but it’s still a lot of work. Even if you are handy around the house, taking time to fix a water damaged ceiling, you’ll find this quite challenging. This is because it’s going to require at least a few sets of helping hands and a good stretch of weekend weather. You’ll only need a few common tools, some help, and a sizeable amount of elbow grease.

How to Remove an Old Wood Deck

The first place to start with removing an old wood deck is to know how it’s supported. If it is abutting the exterior of your house, chances are good it’s also connected. Some step down decks are only connected by the steps, while the rest of the structure rests on support posts. Typically, the support posts are also wood, buried in the ground, about three feet deep. Usually, the footings are held in-place with concrete.

…if you have extensive [deck] damage, with numerous rotting joists or bad beams, soft deck boards or rotting ledger boards, you may have no choice but to rip the whole thing out and rebuild. —Old House

If this is the case, you’ll either have to dig out all the supports and the concrete or you can opt to just dig down about a foot or more, cut the support and backfill the holes. If the deck supports another amenity, such as a screen room or a vinyl screen room, you’ll obviously have to take it down before you demolish the deck. Start by clearing the deck of any furniture and all other items and be sure to keep children and pets away during the demolition. Lock the door leading out to the deck and post a sign not to open it. Here’s a helpful overview of how to remove an old wood deck:

  • Take the rails down. If your deck has rails, these are the first fixtures to go. Do not skip this step. If the deck is equipped with rails, these will become unstable as you begin to dismantle the deck and be a big injury risk. Simply pry or unscrew the rails and set them away, off to the side, where they are not a tripping hazard.
  • Remove the deck boards. Next, you’ll need to remove the deck boards. Start on one side and work your way to the other side. Don’t try to pull apart the frame. Instead, just remove the deck boards one-by-one going from right to left or left to right. Place these on the pile of railings, as well.
  • Carefully cut or pry the deck away. Now the frame is exposed, you’ll be able to see how the structure is attached to the house, if applicable. It could be bolted or just abutted against the exterior. If it is attached, you’ll need to remove the retainers or fasteners.
  • Remove the steps. If the deck is elevated, remove the steps, starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. Do not stand on the steps because the deck will be unstable at this time. Just stand beside the steps and dismantle each one.
  • Dig up the support posts. Cut the frame apart, then dig up the support posts. This is going to be the most laborious portion of the deck removal and it helps to have one or more people assist you with pulling the support posts out of the ground.

When you’re finished, just phone 800-433-1094 or visit AAA Rousse Services to have all the materials hauled away. While we’re there, we can also help with any odd job or be of assistance for a bigger project.

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