Composite decking may look like wood, but it is manmade and behaves differently. While many people associate warped decking with wood planks, composite decking can warp over time as well. Decks should be flat and straight, but over time, they can become warped and uneven. If you leave composite decking as it is once it is warped, it will probably get worse.
Not only does warped composite decking look bad, but it also is not comfortable to walk on. You don’t need to hire someone to fix warped composite decking, however. All that you need is a power saw, a claw bar, and a little bit of elbow grease. If you carefully remove the warped composite plank, you can replace it with a new one that is in great shape.
Follow along and let’s explore exactly how you can fix warped composite decking.
Table of Contents
Identifying Warped Composite Decking
If you are unsure whether or not your composite decking is warped, all that you need to do is take a look at your deck. When the composite decking was installed, it was more than likely flat and straight.
When you look at your composite decking, check for uneven planks. If the planks are coming apart from each other or they are slightly raised, that means it is warped.
Once you have identified the warped composite decking, you’ll need to gather your materials. If you are experienced using a power saw, you should have no trouble doing this. However, if you are not comfortable using power tools like a power saw, you can always ask for a friend or professional’s help.
There are only a few things that you need handy to fix warped composite decking, such as:
- Safety goggles
- Power saw
- Screw gun
- Claw bar
- Tape measure
- Replacement composite plank
Gather the above materials, and you are almost ready to fix your warped composite decking. Before you can begin, however, you must look under the deck. Under the deck, you will see the floor joists.
Even with composite decking, floor joists are wood, so identifying them will be easy. Floor joists are the support planks that run underneath the actual decking. If your materials are gathered and you identified the floor joists, you are ready to start.
1. Measure The Plank
Have your circular saw, goggles, and tape measure by your side. Identify the plank or planks that are warped by carefully looking at the deck. Once you have found the problem plank or planks, it is time to measure them. It is important to accurately measure the plank using your tape measure.
The measurement of the plank will indicate the depth of the cuts you will make with your circular saw. Commonly, composite decking planks are 1” deep. Whatever the plank measures depth wise is the depth of the cut you will set for your circular saw.
2. Begin Cutting
Set your circular saw to the same depth as the plank. Put your safety goggles on because debris will fill the air briefly and could get in your eyes. Do not make your cuts width-wise. You want to go lengthwise so that in a later step, splitting the plank will be easier. Place your circular saw on the plank, and start sawing the warped plank.
Make sure to stop sawing before hitting the next joist to avoid needing further repairs.
3. Pry It Open
If all went well, you should have a straight cut going through the length of the warped composite plank. Get out your claw bar. If you do not have a claw bar, you could use a crowbar or something else, but claw bars are easiest because they are slim.
Take the bar and insert it into the now-split composite plank. Make sure that the bar is firmly in the line that was cut, and pry hard. Even the cut was deep enough, you should be able lift up one of the sides of the plank splitting it for easy removal.
4. Remove The Plank
Once you have split the composite deck, now you can remove it. Take the screw gun and go down the line of the plank removing each of the screws that connect it to the joist. After all of the screws are unfastened, removed the plank entirely. If you were able to split it cleanly, you can easily measure it. You must measure the plank so that you know what size to cut for the replacement plank.
If it is too damaged, you can always measure one of the planks that was never warped. You want to make sure the measurement is accurate so that the replacement plank fits perfectly.
5. Replace The Plank
After getting the right measurement for the replacement plank, it is time to cut a new one. You will need a new piece of composite decking to cut which can be found at many hardware stores. Get your new piece of decking and cut off the excess length so that it will fit in your deck. Lay the new composite plank where the old one was. When you are certain that it is a perfect fit, you can fasten it in.
Secure the new plank by using your screw gun to safely connect it to the wooden joists beneath the decking. If it is more than one plank that is warped, repeat the above steps for each plank. That is all that it takes to fix warped composite decking.
What to Remember
It is particularly important to value safety first when fixing warped composite decking. As you can see from the above steps, a power saw is required to remove warped planks. Before beginning the process of fixing warped composite decking, consider whether or not you are comfortable with using power tools. If you are not, you can always enlist the help of a friend or professional.
If you are comfortable with it, however, be sure to wear safety goggles and take your time. Fixing a warped deck is not exceedingly difficult, but each step is important. Many people choose composite decking over wood decking to avoid the wear and tear that wood goes through. Even still, composite decking can warp just the same as wood decking.
The last thing that you want to do is leave your warped composite decking as it is. Not only is it a tripping hazard, but warped planks turn your deck into an eyesore.
You do not need to be an expert carpenter or craftsman to fix warped composite decking. If it is a matter of a few planks being warped, fixing it on your own is the best option.
If each plank in your composite decking is warped or if there is a problem with the joists, enlist professional help. That could indicate that maybe there was a problem with the installation or environmental factors that are warping the deck.
While you are dealing with your composite decking, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the health of the joists. Joists can last a long time, but they are your deck’s support system, so you want to make sure they are healthy.
By following these steps, you can fix your warped composite decking all on your own.