Deck Removal – Practical Demolition Guide & Options

Having a deck removed can be a delicate process that requires helpful tips to help the homeowner carry out a successful procedure. Whether you wish to perform deck removal for purposes of remodeling or to restore a faulty deck structure, the information here should be worth your time.

How To Remove Old Deck Boards

Now, you should know that the process of deck removal isn’t a one-size-fits-all fit all project. In other words, demolition techniques vary. It all depends on what works best for you.

The tips provided here should prove useful to the reader seeking comprehensive demolition techniques.

When to Demolition a Deck

Before a deck is targeted for removal or demolition, it must have shown certain signs of weakness. These include bouncy boards, loosening of bolts, and soft spots.

To find out what these signs are, let’s take a look at them individually.

  • Bouncy Boards

Bouncy boards are common signs exposing the state of the wood.

Here, rotten or cracked wood will feel bouncy when jumped upon. Of course, you’ll need to perform a jumping test. This is also known as the trampoline test to see if the deck feels bouncy.

If it does, it’s high time to have such boards replaced or demolished. To perform the trampoline test, you’ll need to stand in the middle of the deck and take several jumps.

  • Loosening of Bolts

A deck is held in place by fasteners. These consist of bolts, nails, and screws.

As these are continually exposed to weather action, they steadily degrade with deck boards slowly splintering. What results is a situation where screws pop up and bolts get loosened.

  • Soft Spots

Soft spots on deck woods are clear signs of ongoing rot in wood.

These are identified by green or dark brown spots found on wood or deck surface. Whenever these are seen, it’s high time to consider carrying out some demolition work.

Deck Demolition And Removal Options

If you’re seeking to tear down a deck, there are two options available to you.

Any demolition job will adopt either of these options. They include calling or hiring a professional and removing it yourself or DIY demolition.

The former seems to be more popular and rightfully so.

i. Hiring a Professional

Having a professional handle your deck demolition procedure is one effective, yet stress-free way of getting the job done. Junk removal services or companies near you will readily perform such procedures at a fee.

The good thing is, you won’t need to be worried about figuring out the entire process involved.

The job is handled by professionals who know just what needs to be done. So, all you have to do is point to the deck and give way for the job to commence. However, you’ll need to be wary about who performs the procedure.

Not every demolition service would be reliable.

You’ll need to search for demolition contractors within your location with authenticated customer reviews. Of course, such reviews should be compelling enough for you to patronize a demolition service.

Be on the lookout to avoid scams of any sort.

The demolition contractors being considered for this job should have listed ‘deck removal’ as part of their many services.

  • Key Questions to Ask

Before you ever settle for a demolition contractor, certain questions will prove useful to help you avoid scams.

These include the following;

  1. How long have you been performing deck removal in this area?
  2. Do you have insurance as well as proof to back your claim?
  3. Is your demolition service having a license? What’s the license number?
  4. What’s your service schedule like, regarding start and stop times for working hours on the project?
  5. What’s the payment schedule?
  6. What are the deck removal costs involved?
  7. Are there added charges? What are they like, and how will such be handled?
  8. Who will be working on the deck removal project each day?
  9. What’s the best way to reach or contact you?
  10. Is there a written lien waiver at the end of the project?
  11. What are the estimated start and finish dates for the demolition project?
  12. Will the demolition site be cleaned up at the end of each day?
  13. Will you obtain all necessary permits and schedule inspections for this project?

A reputable demolition contractor shouldn’t have problems providing you with answers to these questions.

However, when you discover a contractor having cold feet or not willing to answer key questions, it’s a red flag to be wary of.

Typically, it takes about 2 to 8 hours to have a deck removed by a contractor. The time taken is mostly influenced by the scale or size of the project.

Sometimes, homeowners may want to reduce removal costs by helping out a little.

So, before the demolition expert arrives, a little deconstruction may be necessary. Here, the simplest tasks like deck board, railing, and stair removal are performed. This leaves out the more difficult job for the expert to perform.

Example of such includes the cement footings.

ii. Handling Deck Demolition Yourself

This is the second deck removal option available to you.

Unlike the first which was performed by a pro, you’ll be solely responsible for tearing down your deck. However, you need not be anxious about the project as it’s something you can easily handle with the right guidance.

  • Tools for Deck Removal

Before the demolition process gets underway, it will be necessary to get the needed tools. Some tools are crucial to a successful launch and completion of the project.

These include a shovel, sledgehammer, reciprocating saw, and pry bar.

Others include a screwdriver, drill, and hammer. You’ll also need safety gear to help limit risks of any sort. Basic safety gears include protective glasses, work gloves, and closed-toe shoes.

  • Preparing For Deck Removal

Deck removal isn’t done haphazardly. It must be performed systematically. This is seen in the preparation process that includes clearing the deck area off.

The work area needs to be free of any stuff. Only the deck structure should remain.

Items cleared from the deck area such as grill, and furniture among others need to be relocated to a safe place.

Any other items you won’t need should be donated to charity. Now, consider renting a dumpster. This is very crucial to the demolition process as you get to better manage demolition debris.

Dispose of broken items into the dumpster and cordon off walk-out basements or other spaces below the deck.

Landscaping around the deck area should be protected as much as possible. This guarantees limited disturbance or distortion.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be required to obtain a permit for deck demolition. However, it’s necessary to do some double-checking. The local building code office is a great place to start your inquiries from.

Deck Demolition Process

All of the points considered before now were targeted at performing a proper demolition procedure.

At this point, you’re ready to proceed. The steps involved include removing the handrails, prying off deck boards, separating deck frame from the house wall, and cutting off joists.

Other deck removal steps include removal of hanger boards, removing support posts, and demolishing the steps.

Let’s take a look at each of these deck demolition procedures, shall we?

  • Removing Hand Rails

A deck removal procedure begins with a takedown of handrails.

Here, you’ll need to start from one end to the next until all the rails are removed. The top railings should be targeted first followed by the balusters and bottom rails.

This procedure can be performed using a crowbar for rails held in place with nails.

For those fastened with screws, consider using a drill instead of a crowbar. You’ll need a container to drop loosened nails or screws in.

  • Prying off Deck Boards

Deck boards are next in line for removal. These are pulled up piece by piece with the help of a claw hammer and pry bar.

  • Separating Deck Frame from House Wall

At this point, you’ll need to loosen or separate the deck frame from the board attached to your home wall. A reciprocating saw will serve this purpose. Slowly cut the frame off the board attached to the house wall.

This process should be repeated across all points of attachment.

  • Cutting Off Joists

Joists can be cut off with the help of a reciprocating saw or by simply striking the same with a sledgehammer.

  • Removal of Hanger Boards

Using your prying tool, pry hanger boards off the foundation. This should be followed by demolishing the outer hanger boards off the deck support posts.

  • Removing Support Posts

Deck support posts will need to be dug out from the ground. This is where a major part of demolition work lies.

Using your shovel, dig around concrete footings. This is followed by shaking the support posts to dislodge them from the ground before taking them out.

In truth, support post-removal may be more complex than you imagine. It’s best left to the pros to handle as it may require the use of specialized equipment with levers.

  • Demolishing the Steps

The steps are the last to be demolished. Your pry bar is a handy tool to use for this procedure.

With this action performed, you’ve completed the deck removal process.

The deck removal and demolition tips provided above will help you better carry out the procedure. We recommend you get some help when performing the process.

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