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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Decks and Porches Category


Wood board is rotten, infested with insects or otherwise damaged.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Pressure-treated wood (for the deck)

  • Reciprocating saw

  • Hacksaw

  • Galvanized deck screws

  • Galvanized lag bolts

  • Wrench (for lag bolts)

  • Hammer

  • Chisel

  • Pry bar

  • Screwdriver

  • Power drill with appropriate bit

  • Epoxy wood filler

  • Joint knife/plumber's putty knife

  • Water-resistant/repellent deck sealer (stained sealer or clear sealer, depending on preference)

  • Deck brightener (like Wolman Deck and Fence Brightener)

  • Paintbrush

  • Paint sprayer

  • Broom

  • Dust pan

  • Machine belt sander or medium-level sandpaper



In the course of having a wood deck, you may come across a rotten, insect-infested or otherwise damaged wood board; in fact, usually, when there is one bad wood board, the boards next to it are bad, too, so make sure you do a thorough inspection of your wood deck when you see one bad wood board.  The best way to remedy a rotten, insect-infested or otherwise damaged wood board is to replace it; you may have to use a chisel to get at the head of the stubborn nail or screw.

Caution: When dealing with chemicals, such as those found in a sealer, and sharp objects, such as a saw, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions.

Replacing a wood board of your wood deck can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. Using a pry bar or a screwdriver, depending on the type of fasteners used on the wood deck, take out the particularly bad wood board by removing its fasteners.  If the fasteners--be it nails or screws--on this board are too stubborn to come out, use a reciprocating saw or hacksaw to carefully cut them.

  2. With the bad wood board removed, check the condition of the the joist below.  If the joist is partially rotten, which is likely the case, you can chisel out the rotten part with a chisel and hammer or attempt to use a saw, if practical.

  3. For any part of the joist removed, add epoxy wood filler to the removed area, using a joint knife or plumber's putty knife in this wood-filler application as is necessary.

  4. To reinforce the structural integrity of this joist, cut to size from the pressure-treated wood a piece of wood to act as custom-made joist-reinforcer, and attach this new piece of wood directly on the side of this affected existing joist with lag bolts, all bolts of which should be securely tightened with an appropriate wrench. (Of course, use an power drill to pre-drill pilot holes with an appropriate drill bit for the easy screw-on of the lag bolts.)

  5. From the remaining newly purchased pressure-treated wood, cut to size the wood board replacement, making sure it conforms with the size of the wood board taken out.  Remember this adage in the process: Measure twice and cut once.

  6. Once you have this cut-to-size wood board replacement in your hands and checked that it will fit in the void created by the removal of the bad wood board, go ahead and follow the steps to make sure this wood board replacement is sealed in following these steps:

i.  If applicable, with a machine belt sander or the use of sandpaper applied with your hands, sand any uneven or otherwise rough surfaces of the wood board replacement, and sweep up this sanding debris/sawdust with a broom into a dust pan.

ii.  Apply the water-resistant/repellent deck sealer, whether it is a staining sealer or a clear sealer, with either a paint sprayer or a paintbrush; with a paint brush, be sure to move the paintbrush in the direction of the grain of the wood, making sure the sides also receive the sealer application. 

iii.  Make sure that when you're using a paint sprayer that you apply an even coat of the sealer, and that any drippings of the sealer should be spread even with a paintbrush.

iv.  Allow the applied sealer to cure per the sealer manufacturer's instructions.

  1. Attach this wood board replacement with galvanized deck screws.

  2. Finally, as you find necessary, in an effort to make the existing part of the wood deck blend in as much as possible with the wood board replacement, brighten the surface of the existing wood deck (i.e., the top surfaces of the existing wood boards, primarily) with a deck brightener.

That's what it takes to take care of deteriorating components of a wood deck so as to maintain it overall for continued use.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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