how to tear down a deck

How To Tear Down A Deck

How to tear down a deck

If you’re interested in learning how to tear down a deck, we’ll teach you in this post.  Your deck is a wonderful focal point to the rear portion of your home.  In addition, it’s a spectacular place to entertain guests, friends and family.

If your deck is falling apart, it might be time to tear it down.  A damaged and old deck could prove to be a hazard to spend time on.  Anyone who stands on the deck could fall through damaged wood, get splinters or trip and fall.

Doing a full deck demo is crucial.  And in this post you will learn how to do one completely on your own.

Can The Deck Be Salvaged?

The first thing you will want to do before you demo your deck, is question whether or not the deck can be salvaged.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself and anyone else involved in the deck demolition project:

  1. How old is the deck in question?
  2. Does the deck have any problem areas such as holes, rotting wood, broken rails, posts or boards?
  3. Have there been any other major problems with the deck?
  4. Have you been putting off a renovation for a while?
  5. Do you feel it could be time to tear down or renovate the deck?
  6. Are the problems with the deck small enough that they can be repaired?  Or are there fundamental problems such as aging and rotting wood?

Once you have established whether or not the deck should be repaired or teared down, you can make a better and more informed decision.

A Wood Deck Can Last Up To 15 Years

A wood deck can last up to 15 years.  This is provided that it has been built and maintained correctly.  So if your wood deck is nearing 15 years, it might be time to rethink trying to make repairs.  Additionally, it might be time to tear it down.

deck demolition step by step
A wood deck can last up to 15 years when properly maintained!

Wood deck maintenance includes:

  1. Annual cleaning
  2. Professional power washing when needed
  3. Clean routinely when needed
  4. Sealer should be applied as deck maintenance
  5. Regular deck “inspections” checking for soft or splintered areas

Deciding To Tear Down Your Deck

While a difficult decision to make, deciding to tear down a wood deck can sometimes be very liberating.  When you think of what it can lead to, it’s truly amazing.

Your deck should be fit to be an outdoor gatherings space.  It’s really an outdoor living room, if you will.  While you might be tearing down your deck on your own, you can be certain you won’t be building your deck without hiring professionals.  Choosing to tear down and demo a wood deck is the perfect decision if you want some extra financial wiggle room to create the perfect new deck ofyour dreams.

When To Hire Professionals

Tearing down and doing a deck demo shouldn’t always be the first option in certain situations.  You should hire an expert for your deck demolition in the following scenarios:

  • You are not physically in excellent shape
  • You don’t have the proper tools and gear to help you through the project
  • When there are issues with the deck or land that a professional should handle
  • If the deck is extremely large, elevated or multi-level

If you think you need to hire a professional demolition contractor, N. Vitale Disposal Inc. is the company to call!  Situated in Lake Hiawatha (Parsippany-Troy Hills), New Jersey, N. Vitale Disposal Inc. is well equipped and experienced to handle any deck demolition.  Additionally, N. Vitale Disposal Inc. services all of Northern NJ, including Essex County, Morris County, Bergen County, Passaic County and Sussex County too.

Tearing Down Your Deck Step By Step

STEP 1: Gather Equipment And Rentals

Before you start, you will want to make sure you have all of the following protective gear and pieces of equipment:

  • Goggles (protection from flying debris)
  • Gloves (protection from splinters)
  • Proper closed-toe shoes
  • Saw (if necessary)
  • Screwdriver
  • Sledge hammer (if you need it)
  • Shovel (for removing deck posts from the ground)
  • Prybar
  • Dumpster

Now you’re ready to tear down your deck!  So let’s get started.

STEP 2: Tear Down The Railing

Beginning with the railing, you’re going to start the deck demo project.  You will take your screwdriver carefully remove the screws and nails that will eventually lead to removing the entire hand rail.

From there, you will remove the baulsters by removing screws or loosening baulsters.  To loosen baulsters, you will need to move them from side to side carefully and gently.

Once you have removed the top portion of the rail, you can do the same to the bottom portion.  Disconnect the bottom rail by following the same steps.

STEP 3: Remove And Discard Deck Boards

The deck boards are essentially pieces of wood that make up the flooring of your wood deck.  This next step requires that you remove them.  Depending on the size of the deck and how it was put together, you can expect to spend a great deal of time doing this step.  Sometimes it may take more than one day.

You can use the screwdriver or prybar to remove each deck board individually.  If the boards are long, you may consider sawing them to make removing and discarding easier.

TIP: You should have rented a dumpster.  Make sure you are discarding deck debris as you go.  You don’t want a big pile of junk at the end of your project!

STEP 4: Remove The Steps

Next step is to remove the steps from your deck.  You will want to unscrew any screws and pry the deck stairs apart.  Use your prybar as needed as well as the saw if you need to cut wood into smaller sections and make the project more manageable.

The treads are the top portion of your deck stairway.  The treads are basically the part of your steps that your foot stands on.  You can use your prybar to tear the treads off.

Next, you will focus on the supporting pieces of wood that hold up the treads.  These are called the risers and stringer.  You will remove these pieces of wood by cutting them into smaller sections that you can easily remove and toss in your dumpster.

STEP 5: Remove Deck From The Rest Of Your House

If your deck is attached to your home, you will want to cut it away from the foundation of your house.  In the situation that your deck is not attached, you can obviously move on to step 6.

You will notice, as you cut your deck away from your home, it will begin to fall away and down to the ground.  This is natural and just a product of gravity so don’t be alarmed.

STEP 6: Demo Decking Joists

The next step requires that you tear down the deck joists to begin the completion of your demolition project.   The deck joists are essentially the interior framing of your deck boards.  Carefully pry the joists away from the deck frame, using a sledgehammer and saw as needed.

STEP 7: Remove Deck Posts

The supporting deck posts are in the ground and supported by concrete.  You will need to use a shovel to dig them out and loosen them.  Additionally, you can break apart the concrete using your sledgehammer as needed.

Carefully lift the deck posts from the ground and throw them into your dumpster.  There, you’re set!


Tearing down and demolishing a deck takes a little sweat and hard work, but it certainly can be done.  We hope we have conveyed to you how to tear down a deck on your own.  Now that your deck demolition is complete you can focus on building a new deck that you love.

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