How to Tear Down and Dispose of a Wood Deck

You spend a lot of time out on your deck during the summers, don’t you? A cedar wooden deck can last
as long as four decades. That said, if you haven’t maintained your deck well, it may last for only a few
years more than a decade. As time passes by, the wood of your deck starts rotting and warping. You
may also notice the boards splintering or bowing. That’s when you should tear down your deck.
The size of the deck decides how long the process should take—whether a day or longer. It may also
cost you quite a sum to get it done, more than $1,000 at times. For minimizing costs and maximizing
efficiency, you have got to chalk out a well-thought-out plan. This article guides you through the process of
tearing down your deck through a few simple steps. Let’s begin by looking into what tools you should be
prepared with.

Generally, all decks are built starting from the bottom and ending at the top. You should reverse the
process when tearing it down. It’s easier to take apart deck boards that have been nailed together
instead of those that have been screwed on together. You should have the right tools with you so you
can take care of both.

Tools for Deck Demolition and Safety Equipment

You should ensure that you are ready with the necessary tools and safety equipment before you start
taking your deck down. If you don’t have them already, you are sure to find them at the local hardware
or home improvement store.

The tools you’ll need are:
1 Pry bar
2 Screwdriver
3 Sledgehammer
4 Reciprocating saw
5 Hammer
6 Closed-toe shoes
7 Drill
8 Shovel
9 Protective glasses
10 Work gloves

Steps to Tear Down Your Deck

Now, let’s get into the steps you’ll need to go through to tear down the deck. Once you’re ready with
the tools needed, it’s not really a very challenging job.

1. Taking the Handrails Down

Begin by removing the rails only after you’ve cleared out your deck completely. Start with the top
railings and proceed from one end to the other. After this, move on to the balusters and the bottom
rails. For decks that are nailed together, you’ll need to use a crowbar. Use a drill to reverse the screws if
the boards are screwed together. To keep the nails and screws in, you should keep a jar handy.

2. Pry off the Deck Boards

You should start from one side of the deck when tearing it down. Remove the boards one by one as you
move from one side of the deck to the other. You’ll need a claw hammer and a pry bar for removing the
screws. Keep collecting the nails and screws as you proceed with the task.

3. Cutting the Deck Frame Away from the House

The next step is separating the deck frame from the board that’s fastened to your house by cutting it
away. This is a slow process and you’ll have to put the weight of the deck frame to work as it falls away
from the house after you’ve put a little force. Remove all the deck boards and move on to the main
frame board connected to the house. Make sure that you have stacked the deck boards of the same size
together so that you are better organized.

4. Cut the Joists Off

Strike the floor end joists with the sledgehammer at the spots where they are attached to the hangers.
Use the reciprocating saw at the two ends when the sledgehammer isn’t up to the task.

5. Do Away with the Hanger Boards

Use your sledgehammer once again so you can pry away the hanger boards from the foundation. You’ll
then need to break every hanger board away from the deck support posts.

6. Dig out the Support Posts

Use a shovel to dig around the concrete footings. Keep pulling the deck support posts back and forth
until you can pull them off the ground. Get a wheelbarrow or get a friend to help you haul them away.

7. Tear down the Steps

You’ll need to pry the treads of your steps with a pry bar if they are still intact. Finally, you’ll have to
remove the support posts and the risers.

Now that the deck has been torn down, let’s look into how you can dispose of it.

Since you can’t mix demolition debris with general waste, choose from the options below.

Renting a Dumpster

The average cost of renting a 10-yard dumpster is $300 and you will need to shell out $400 for a 20-yard
dumpster. They are great value for money when you’re disposing of the debris from the deck demolition job location.

Simply dump the debris into the container and the rental company hauls all of it away once you’re
finished or when the rental period ends, whichever comes earlier. That’s very simple and efficient, isn’t

Hiring a Junk Removal Company

The cost of hiring a junk removal company varies depending on where you’re located, how much debris
there is, and how accessible the debris is. Since the junk removal company crew loads the debris
themselves, hauls it away, and disposes of it as well, hiring these companies generally costs more than
renting dumpsters. This is a very convenient hands-off approach.

Hauling the Debris on Your Own

While this is very cost-efficient, it needs a lot of time and effort and some costs are often overlooked.
That’s why this method isn’t really desirable. The costs involved include,

1 Fee for landfill
2 Fuel cost for hauling the debris
3 Vehicle and trailer wear-and-tear
4 The time to load, the time to drive, and the time you spend at the recycling facility/landfill

Final Thoughts

Tearing a wooden deck down and disposing of the debris takes effort and time. There are costs involved
as well. Go through the steps mentioned to keep things simple. Disposing of the debris shouldn’t be a
problem either if you choose any of the options we have suggested. Get the tools needed and get going.
Good luck!

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