Replacing Hardwood Decking

The original worn-out red meranti decking on this three-level deck needed replacement. The author figured that the nearest spot on the site to set up a staging and cutting area would be at least 20 feet from the deck frame, meaning he'd probably need a helper to aid in carrying the heavy material over long distances, so he developed a plan that would enable him to do most of the cutting and prepping in his shop.

The 600-square-foot deck had three levels, and there were several rock outcroppings to work around.

The five-sided upper level had runs of 23 feet, and the lumberyard could supply lengths up to 19 feet, so materials were calculated accordingly.

The surface of the 15-year-old deck was weathered and rough, and the nails were lifting out.

On removing the old material, the author found that the framing was in good shape and accurately laid out.

Using 1x4s as story poles allowed the author to take the exact joist layout back to the shop where he could accurately cut the decking.

An example of the author's notations on story poles that he derived from the layout of the existing deck frame: The story poles enabled him to cut the individual lengths of decking in his shop rather than on site, which saved material handling.

The author set up a cut station in his shop.

The cut station was parallel to a layout bench where he transferred the layout marks from the story poles to the decking for crosscutting and predrilling.

He devised a color-coded chart to ensure the courses were cut and labeled accurately for installation in the field.

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