Deck Rehab ---> Is this a dumb idea?
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    Deck Rehab ---> Is this a dumb idea?

    Our back deck measures roughly 20'x20'. It was a bit neglected before we bought our house 8 years ago. I let it go for another couple of years. About 4 years ago I power washed it, replaced a few boards and then painted it with that heavy "deck rehabilitation paint". I never was really crazy about the look of the paint.

    This deck is on the west side of the house. There are also thick woods on that side of the house. The deck only gets a few hours of direct sunlight a day, so mildew is a bit of an issue. This deck is also where I keep my grills and where we have a table and chairs.

    A couple of months ago I was out powerwashing the deck before my daughter and her boyfriend came over and my foot went right through one of the boards. Poked around and found a few more rotten ones. I need to do something!

    At a minimum I'd like to pull all of the existing boards off and lay new decking. This would give me the ability to just put regular deck stain /water protection down. This would also more closely match the front deck.

    BUT... I'm thinking about doing something a bit different. I've seen people online that cover an existing concrete patio with outdoor tile that has a "wood look" to it. Would it be possible to lay down concrete board and then cover it with tile? Would it hold up? The type of board I'm thinking of is what is used to line shower stalls that are then tiled over.

    My joists are 24" OC, so I might have to add extra joists, or at a minimum, more blocking between the joists.

    I've seen systems that are designed to go over the existing framing so you can lay patio pavers on top, but I can't do this as I need to keep the deck surface thickness very close to the existing surface thickness.

    A couple of pics of the existing deck for reference purposes....

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    AlKozak's Avatar
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    Is it a dumb idea? It would be a bodge, at best. Wet tile is slippery and you'd need a way for water and snow melt to drain. I'm not even sure cement board is rated for outdoor use. It's meant to function as a bonding surface, not a water barrier.

    If it is zero maintenance you are looking for, check out composite decking (not Trex) from a company like Timber Tech. All hidden fasteners and it looks awesome.

    Al
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    tj1
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    I would forget the idea of using cement board over your existing decking then covering with tile, as stated it's slippery, will not drain water or snow and the cement board may not last outside especially over rotted wood! You need to also watch the extra weight on the deck with this method. Go with a composite decking material as advised above but be warned; check the product for maximum distance between floor joists, I doubt you will find a material that can span 24" on center, some are 12" OC others 16"OC. They are expensive for something that is recycled but it will last for years with hardly any maintenance. You mentioned you don't see to much sun so you will have to wash the material probably yearly,, easily done.. Reapplying any wood product will eventually end up like what you have now because of your exposure. If you want to go with a relatively inexpensive product (comparatively speaking) go with #1 premium PT decking,, not the greatest but It's better than falling thru your deck.. And remember always, bark side up!!!!! Good luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tj1 View Post
    I would forget the idea of using cement board over your existing decking then covering with tile, as stated it's slippery, will not drain water or snow and the cement board may not last outside especially over rotted wood!
    Cement "wonder board" is absolutely not rated for outdoors. If will fall apart if constantly exposed to moisture. Cement board siding (Hardie, et al) is nearly as bad; it needs to be installed vertically and painted. Laying flat, it will disintegrate. Adding joists to support composite decking, as other have said, seems like the best bet. (There are some very expensive alternatives if cost is no object...)
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    My concern would be the integrity of the joists under the decking too. If the deck boards are rotting the joists could very well be weak also. If you think about using composite decking material you will want additional joists as 24" OC isn't safe in my opinion.

    Best of luck in coming up with a good solution and let us see pics of the project..
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    Cement board also isn't designed to be weight bearing on it's own. It is meant to be installed over the top of something else (i.e. subflooring). Any tile used would have to be porcelain. Plain old ceramic will absorb moisture and when it freezes in the winter it shatters. All of this could be done but by the time you figure a 3/4" subfloor, cement board, tile, etc... your deck height is going to go up an inch and your weight load quadruples (at a minimum).

    So I'd have to weight in and say that composite decking is a better/easier/cheaper solution in the long run. IME, composites don't like 24" spacing for the joists either (it sags between the joists) so you'd probably still need to do something about that.
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    Yeah donít do it.
    Way to much weight
    Everything will still rot
    Tile and grout will always crack and break.
    And knowhweres for water to go

    Inside of. A raised house you would put backer board down and cement that to the plywood, then add tons of screws, and tape & mud all seems.

    Iíd look into the composite decking like mentioned. I want to do that next year to our pool we just put in the back yard.
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    I have the same issue with our deck - we have 100% humidity a lot during the summer.

    The deck boards are really showing their age. I have already concluded that I will replace them with composite boards and be done with staining them every year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveb View Post
    My concern would be the integrity of the joists under the decking too. If the deck boards are rotting the joists could very well be weak also. If you think about using composite decking material you will want additional joists as 24" OC isn't safe in my opinion.

    Best of luck in coming up with a good solution and let us see pics of the project..
    This ^ If your decking material is that degraded, you have framing issues. I'd heavily inspect every joist inch by inch.
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    hmmm, you guys weren't real clear in your responses, but I'm kind of getting the idea that you don't think this is a good idea.


    I'll probably end up going the composite route. I was actually going to hire someone last year to the re-do both the front and rear decks in composite and never heard back from the guy. Ended up spending that budget on new landscaping instead. The rear deck is small enough and simple enough (no ladders needed, just square, no angles) that I'll do it myself.

    When I was calling around for material prices last year I found that the locally owned lumber yard actually had better prices on the Azek material than any of the national stores. I'm going to double check to see if I can get it in 20' lengths so there's no joints.

    Hopefully my framing is in good shape. When I replaced some of the boards a few years back, it seemed to be OK. If not, I'll have to address that. I'm most concerned about the posts as I really don't want to be pulling old ones out, pouring concrete, etc. I keep thinking of the house as "new", but I have to remember it's approaching 20 years old now.

    A couple of other things that are going to be "challenges" on this project. The first deck board is actually recessed into the siding. That means that I'm going to have to get it out of there and also means that the new decking material needs to be the same thickness as what's there now. When I get to that point I'll post some pics to get some more (subtle) opinions on whether to cut that piece out, leave it in place, or cut if flush with the siding. This is kind of hard to explain, so wait until I get to that point - and post pics - until we decide what to do.

    The other thing is that the rear deck was actually constructed in two phases. When they originally built the house the rear deck was more of a "porch" - only extending out about 5 or 6 feet. At some point the previous owner expanded the deck to its present size. He tied into the original frame and the "first deck board" of the new section is about 1/6" - 1/8" lower than the "last deck board" of the original section. You don't really notice it visually, but you certainly notice it when wheeling the grill across the deck or if you happen to set one of the chairs right on that section. If I'm peeling up all the old decking, I want to address this issue.

    As always, THANK YOU to all that chimed in. I was wanting to do something slightly different, but for some projects it's probably best to stick with tried and true!!

    THANKS!!
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