Flip This Deck.

We have a largish cedar deck off the back of our house. The builders originally didn’t want to put it in, simply leave us the option of designing whatever deck we wanted. (and no, they wouldn’t have lowered the asking price for the house because of this). However, the city pointed out that having 2 doors that opened to a 10 foot drop was a bit of a concern; they insisted on a way to use those doors that didn’t involve bungee jumping.

Every year I clean and seal the deck before the hard winter storms roll in. The last couple years it’s been more work. The decking has swollen and shrunk and cracked along boards and developed a rough surface. It’s interesting as a texture to look at, but not a good thing for a deck you want to keep healthy and attractive.

Don’t even think about the damage that 2 60# dogs running full tilt on it can do. Those dog nails are tough!!

Anyway, today a guy is stopping by check out the whole process and likely give me an initial shopping list. He’s going to unscrew the deck boards, flip them over and screw them back down. It should give us about 5-6 more years on the deck (at which time sanding might gain us another 3 years if we’re still here). Some of the boards will need to be replaced, but most of them look like they’ll be fine with the flip.

After that, I’m back to cleaning the boards and sealing things up for the winter.

If we were going to be staying here a long time, I’d simply replace the decking with Ipa wood (a brazilian hardwood that never needs anything more than cleaning). But we’re not going to be staying here long enough to make that investment worthwhile.

So here’s to the flip.

I also blog at A Stitch in Time and BlogHer on Saturdays and Mondays.


3 responses to “Flip This Deck.

  1. Hey,

    Found your site when investigating flipping decking boards. Is this project complete? Did it turn out okay?

    Our deck has a decent amount of splintering and we thought flipping could be a viable option. Any sense of how the cost compares to replacing the boards?



  2. Hey Nate,

    I hope you check here, as you didn’t leave an email.

    When we started flipping the boards, we found that the idiot deck builder had toe-nailed the boards into the joists along thier length. So trying to pull them up tore them to shreds.

    The cost of flipping is the time to remove all the screws/nails in the boards and replace them. If your boards are OK on the bottom it should be a way to extend the life of a deck.

    Instead of flipping we went with my original plan: we sanded the boards down about 1/8″ or so with a belt sander. It did not remove the largest damage, but it helped a lot. Then I sealed with a good brazilian wood oil.

    It should allow us to get the 3-5 years of additional use out of the deck before we sell this house. If our timeline for staying was longer (10 years or more), I would have replaced the deck with a stronger alternative (trek or ipe wood…)

  3. Thanks Debra – we’ll try a few and see how it goes. It *looks* pretty straightforward, but you never know until you get into it. Much appreciated!


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