A lot of deck builders, including us, sell people on upgrading their current decks from the old wood floor & railing to new Vinyl decking & railing. We call this process “Re-decking”. This can save you some money by re-using the existing deck framing, posts and footers. It can however present some challenges since your deck probably was built before their were very many building codes for decks. Some deck builders may try to make some quick money by selling you a deck upgrade when you really should have a new deck. Deck upgrades are nice easy jobs for most deck builders, especially in winter time. We don’t have to dig holes for new footers which makes a much cleaner jobsite. Deck upgrades usually don’t require permits from the township, so no waiting around on inspectors, or pesky paperwork to slow us down. So it is important for you the homeowner to make sure that your deck builder is taking the time to bring your deck framing up to code as well, not just slapping a new skin onto a frame that is rotting or falling apart.
Here are a couple tips to make sure that you aren’t being sold on something that isn’t best for your situation.
Check the hardware on your deck to make sure that it isn’t rusting.
Make sure that the deck ledger is attached to the house with lag bolts every 16” or so, not just nailed.
Find out if there is flashing installed between the deck and house. You may not be able to tell this until the deck boards are removed.
Make sure that the joists are attached to the ledger with joist hangers, not just nails.
If you aren’t sure about any of these things, ask your deck builder during the consultation process. Make sure your quote includes adding/replacing any of these things that are needed. If you are spending the money for Vinyl decking & railing that have 25 year or more warranties, it only makes sense to ensure that your framing will hold up for that long. We have more info on Re-decking here
By Ray Ebersol