Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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DIY Composite Deck Installation


Composite decking is a low maintenance alternate to wood. Watch this video to see how to install composite decking with hidden fasteners using standard tools. ...More




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DIY Composite Deck Installation

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Once we had removed the old wood deck boards, we installed Trex Enhance composite decking. Enhance composite decking is made from 95% recycled content and is easy to cut and drill with standard tools.

Composite decking is made from a mixture of wood fibers and plastic polymers. It requires less maintenance than wood and resists cracking and fading.

To keep from marring the look of the deck, we used Trex Hideaway hidden deck fasteners, which allow you to put the decking down without visible screw holes.

In addition, we also replaced the old deck railings and spindles with Trex Transcend railing components. Watch this video to find out more.

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Allen Lyle: Jeff, the deck’s not in horrendous shape. What are your concerns here?

Jeff Kahn: Well, there’s a lot of maintenance that goes on with this. First of all, I’ve got to Clorox it every year.

Allen Lyle: Right.

Jeff Kahn: And then re-stain it. It’s starting to peel and turn and curl and split. The nails are popping. It’s becoming more of a maintenance issue than anything else.

Allen Lyle: How old is the deck?

Jeff Kahn: The deck’s about 10 years old.

Allen Lyle: Well, you’ve gotten some life out of it. And you’re right, I see some areas… It looks like you’re getting a lot of water right here, too.

Jeff Kahn: I am. And it’s going to stain permanently. So I’m going to have to replace that sooner or later anyway.

Allen Lyle: Okay, so it sounds like what you’re looking for is a composite. Typically, you don’t find that as a DIY job, but I think I have an answer for us. Now, what it will involve is this. Some hard labor. You and me. How about it? I’ve got some safety glasses, some pry bars. We just need a little bit of elbow grease, if that’s okay with you.

Jeff Kahn: That’s great.

Allen Lyle: All right. Well, let’s hit it.

Jeff Kahn: Okay.

Danny Lipford: After Allen and Jeff remove the patio furniture and other items from the deck…

Jeff Kahn: There’s a man with a strong back.

Danny Lipford: They begin the demolition by removing the wooden hand rails which are almost as worn as the decking.

Jeff Kahn: How about that?

Danny Lipford: The deck board themselves require a little more effort, because they’re so many nails holding them in place. As these boards come up it’s important to be sure that the structure beneath them is very sturdy because the beautiful composite skin won’t matter if the framing isn’t sound. The composite material they’re using is called Trex Enhance, and it’s designed specifically for DIYers. Jeff picked it out from The Home Depot, and they delivered it to his house. So now all he has to do is put it in place.

Enhance doesn’t require any special tools because it cuts just like wood; but it won’t warp, crack, or split like wood. Composites are made from a blend of wood fiber and plastic polymers, and this one comes from 95% recycled content, so it’s a responsible use of our resources. It also has a protective shell that resists fading, staining and mold, so it’ll look good for a long time without a lot of work.

Rather than driving nails or screws through the face of each board, these clips are tucked into the groove on the side of each board and screwed down to the joist. Then the groove of the next board slides over the other side of the clip. So both boards are held securely in place, and there are no fasteners visible on the surface of the deck.

Once they wrap up the deck boards, they can begin installing the new railings to the existing posts which have been painted to match up. This railing system, called Transcend, is also from Trex, so it has the same weather-resistant characteristics as the deck boards. For Jeff that means that maintenance chores in the years ahead will be cut drastically.