Friday, August 19, 2022

5 Things You Need To Know BEFORE Tearing Down Your Deck


As the good weather approaches you’re probably starting to think about how you can upgrade your yard for the BBQ season ahead. If your wooden deck is starting to show its age, that might be just the place to start. A new deck can breathe life into your backyard and turn it back into that weekend oasis it used to be. Before you can build a new one though, you’ll have to remove the old one and in this guide we’re going to look at everything you’ll need to know for your deck removal.

Deck Tear Down REEL

1. Deck Tear Down Costs and Expenses

One of the first things you’ll want to consider are the out of pocket expenses. If you’re tearing the deck down by yourself there won’t be any labor costs, but you will have to set aside time to do it and that’s time you could be spending doing something else. You’ll have to weigh that against the cost of hiring someone to do the work for you and decide what the best route is for you.

How Much Does it Cost to Take a Deck Down?

If you decide that you don’t have the time to commit to your deck removal yourself, you’ll have to look at what it will cost to hire someone to take on the task for you. The price you’ll pay can vary depending on where you live, but according to House Beautiful the average is around $1,200.

Keep in mind that’s just the cost of the deck tear down, it doesn’t include the cost of having a new one professionally built. Depending on the size and scope of your deck project, a new deck professionally installed can cost you somewhere between $5,000 and $20,000 on average.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a 20 x 20 Deck?

If you want to go with a large deck it’s going to cost you a bit more for the installation. In the example we used above our maximum deck size was 16 x 20. The national average for a deck that size is around $20,000.

Upgrading to a 20 x 20 deck is going to take your installation costs up to $25,000 or more. That means with the cost of a professional removal and installation combined you’re now looking at a total price tag between $25,000 and $30,000.

That’s a substantial cost, but a well-maintained deck can last up to 40 years. If you have the budget, it’s a worthwhile investment when you consider how important your deck is as a design element in creating your backyard oasis.

Removing All Debris Caught Under Deck

2. Deck Tear Down Tools

If you’re going to take on any DIY project you have to have the right tools. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an indoor or outdoor job. Having the right tools for the job just makes things go a lot smoother.

Which Tools Do I Need?

While you can always improvise and work with the tools you have, it will be easier to tackle your deck tear down if you have all of the tools you need up front.

If you don’t have a tool you need, consider borrowing it from a friend or a family member. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy a tool for one job, unless you plan on doing a lot of projects in the near future for a complete backyard makeover where you’ll need that tool. You may also be able to rent some of these tools at your local tool rental company.

Here are the tools we recommend for your deck removal:

  • Steel toe work boots
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • A spade/shovel
  • A reciprocating or hognose saw
  • A sledgehammer
  • A standard hammer
  • Pry Bar
  • Drill or screwdriver

3. Deck Tear Down Board Removal

If you’ve decided to take on your deck removal as a DIY project, having the right tools on hand is just the first step. You should easily be able to tackle the job on a weekend, but it’s best to give yourself the full weekend in case you run into anything unexpected. Before you can take the frame down you’ll have to remove the deck boards.

How Do You Remove Old Wood Deck Boards?

So just how do you go about removing old deck boards? Well that depends on whether your deck boards are nailed in or screwed in. If they’re screwed in, the task should be easier, as long as the screws aren’t stripped and worn down.

Removing Intact Screws from Deck Boards

When the screws in your old deck boards are still intact and in pretty good shape it’s a lot easier to remove them. While you can use a simple screwdriver for the task — it’s a labor intensive job. By the time you’re done you might not be able to feel your forearms!

A better way to go about it, is to charge up that cordless drill. Then all you have to do is to flip the switch to reverse and back out all the screws you can. There may still be some that are stripped you can’t remove and for that you’ll need to take a different approach.

Utilizing a pry bar to remove boards

Removing Deck Boards with Stripped Screws or Nails

If you run into a lot of stripped screws or if you discover that nails were used in place of screws when your deck was built, that cordless drill won’t help. In these situations it’s time to reach for that pry bar.

If you have some boards already removed it will be easier using the pry bar, but if you need to remove all boards using this method, it’s best to start at an edge where it’s easier to wedge the bar underneath that first board. Once you get that first board off, you’ll probably have an easier time with the rest, but it’s still going to be time consuming and physically demanding.

4. Deck Tear Down Frame Removal

Old Deck Frame

Once you have all of those deck boards removed the final stage is removing the frame. That’s where the sledgehammer comes in handy. If your deck is old, you may be able to remove a lot of it with some strategically placed hammer blows. If there are exposed nails you may want to use a hammer to remove them first for safety reasons.

Sometimes you might need more than just a sledgehammer. That’s where the reciprocating or hognose saw can be useful. Use the saw to cut through those sturdy and stubborn posts where necessary.

The last stage is to remove the posts from the ground. You’ll have to pull out your shovel or spade and dig around the base. Concrete can be heavy, so you may need help lifting it out of the ground. Then you just have to remove all of that old material so you can prep the area for your new deck.

5. Disposing Of Materials

Now that you’ve torn down your old deck, everything will need to be cleared out to make room for your brand new one! Instead of lugging all of that old wood to the dump or out by your curb, try a dumpster rental! If you rent a dumpster it will be a lot easier getting rid of all of those old boards, posts and concrete. Then you’re ready to get started on the replacement.