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Should I Build a New Deck from Scratch or Recycle Old Material

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Should I Build a New Deck from Scratch or Recycle Old Material

A man using a tape ruler to measure out a slab of wood to build a deck.


Do you have a well-loved deck that is in desperate need of updating? Around this time of year, people are spending more and more time outside enjoying the weather. You might notice the wear and tear on your current deck and be thinking about using a deck contractor to install a custom deck.

You also might be thinking that a new, custom deck is not in the cards right now and way over your summer budget. Luckily for you, there are ways to upcycle your current deck into a new and fabulous one.

Whether you choose a contractor to design and build a new deck for you, or you choose to do it yourself, we want to make sure you’re prepared and ready.

At Dupont Construction and Remodeling, we pride ourselves on our customer service. Call us today and see how we can help you spend more time outside.

What’s the Debate?


When your deck starts to show signs of years of use, you might be considering some upgrades. Though you have loved all the memories on your deck, the splinters and rattling have you questioning why you are still using it.

Unfortunately, building a new deck from scratch can be quite expensive. It is very tempting to reuse material from your existing deck to save on the expense of a new one. Sadly, this isn’t always realistic.

Some decks are so well-made they are entirely stable 15 or 20 years after initial construction. However, some decks need a complete overhaul within two or three years. Sometimes it is evident into which camp your deck falls. Sometimes you need a professional to help determine which route to go.

Sometimes, your deck is in good enough shape that you can make simple repairs. You will be able to replace broken boards or loose nails. You can powerwash, sand, and add a new stain, and your deck will look brand new.

Other times, the old deck might be so structurally unsound you will have to tear apart the old deck and start fresh completely. You will want to consider the safety of your family and friends that will be using the deck before making any decisions, though.

Decking Checklist


If you are considering fixing your old deck or investing in a new one altogether, there is a guide you can follow. NADRA, The North American Deck and Rail Association, put out a checklist to determine if an existing deck is safe and structurally sound. There are six areas to consider.


The first thing to look at is the stairs. Even if it is only a step or two, most decks have stairs somewhere, and they need to be sound. Check to see if there are any visible signs of damage, like cracks, missing boards, or decay.

You will also want to check the handrails. Specifically, you are looking for regulation height, which is around 35 inches typically. You also want to ensure people can safely grasp the railings.

Look at all the places the stairs are attached to the frame and make sure nothing is rotting or loose.

Footings and Support

Here, you will want to check out the foot, or type of deck support that is in place. Is there a pad, pier, or spread? It is essential that the support is at least 42 – 48 inches below ground, in Minnesota, to provide for frost footings.

You will also want to look at the post size. What are the dimensions? Some posts are only four by four, but some can be much larger — the bigger the post, the better.

Also, check for what is connecting this post to the footing. Make sure there is a secure connection to keep the deck from movement.

It is essential to look for visible signs of decay or corrosion. Many times the evidence isn’t apparent to the naked eye, and you will have to examine all parts of your deck thoroughly. It is wise to enlist the help of a professional here. The experts at Dupont Construction and Remodeling have years of experience.

Beams and Joists


How many pieces of lumber are in use? On some decks, many pieces are fastened together to act as a single unit. How are all of the sections connected? There are many technical issues to look at, and an untrained eye can easily miss problems.

Most importantly, you are looking for rust or corrosion in any of the wood or metal. If you see some damage, there’s a strong chance there is a good deal more you are missing.


The ledger is where the deck attaches to your home. What is the type of siding on your home, and how is the deck connected? You want to ensure a safe mount to prevent serious injuries or damage in the future.

Deck Boards

To thoroughly consider the condition of your deck, you will want to know how old the deck is and what the original material is. Some materials are known for holding up longer, while some woods are prone to instability.

Furthermore, you will want to consider the visible condition of the surface. Are there weak spots, cracks, or decay? When you walk across the deck, does it feel unstable with excessive movement?

The more visible damage, the less likely you can reuse any current material.



Finally, consider any railings on your deck. Generally, decks are required to have safety railings when more than 30 inches off the ground. Look for how high the railing goes and in what kind of condition it is. You don’t want any rust, decay, or movement in the railings.

Recycle or Start New?

While it is your choice whether you upcycle your current material or spring for a new deck, there are safety precautions to consider. Most cities have required codes and permits for construction, and you must meet specific standards.

At Dupont Construction and Remodeling, we have years of experience building all kinds and styles of deck. We strive to provide the best customer service available and make every effort to consider all the wants and ideas of our customers. We are more than deck contractors; we’re neighbors.

If you are determined to salvage your deck, we will do everything we can while ensuring your new deck is safe and will last you and your family for years to come. Let us know how we can get you outside on your new custom deck, enjoying the beautiful summer coming our way.


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