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Refresh Your Deck: Part 1


If your deck looks like it’s seen better days, that doesn’t mean you have to replace it. Whether you just bought your home or have lived there for years, we can show you how to make your old deck look new.

Preparation for Your Deck Upgrades


Refurbishing an existing deck begins with making sure that the deck framing is in good structural condition. Visually inspect the framework under the deck for loose connectors, broken posts and wood condition. Use an awl or small flat screwdriver to test the wood’s firmness in various locations. If the wood in some areas is much softer than in others, it may need to be replaced.

Verify that the ledger board is securely bolted or screwed to the house’s rim joist, rather than just angle-nailed. The joists should be secured with joist hangers. If not, they should be installed now. If you have a doubt about the condition or fastening of the deck frame, call a professional for help.

Now decide if you want to replace the deck. If your decking is in good condition, consider updating the railings and adding decorative lattice, balusters and post caps following these instructions.

Remove the railings and lattice. Leave the old posts in place for now.


If you'll be digging, first call 811 for information on underground utilities on your property. Make sure that the area you have selected and where you'll dig doesn't have utility lines that can be damaged by digging tools.
In some locations, a building permit may be required for replacing deck components. If changes are significant, a homeowners’ association also may have requirements.

Replacing Railing Posts

Deck Post Base

The new composite posts attach to the inside of the rim joist and end joists with post brackets. To replace an old railing post with a new one:

Step 1

Gather the materials and tools you'll need for this job.

Deck screws are available in a variety of lengths, drive styles and coatings. Lengths typically range from 1 1/4 inches to 2 1/2 inches. Most are flat-head screws with either star or square drive heads; some are self-tapping and don’t require pilot holes. Coated or galvanized screws protect the steel fasteners from rust. Be sure to get the appropriate drill bit. A Lowe’s associate can help you select the appropriate screws and tools for your deck job. Check your local building code for specific hardware requirements.

Step 2

Mark the location of the old post with a pencil.

Step 3

Remove the old post with wrenches, pry bars, hammers and other tools as needed. If you're also replacing old lattice, remove it at this time. Make sure that you don’t damage the deck’s framework during removal.

Call your local recycling center for treated lumber disposal instructions.

Step 4

Use a carpenter’s square to transfer the marks from the old post location to the top of the decking. For corner posts, place and mark the post in the exact inside corner of the frame.

Mark the dimensions slightly wider than the posts so the posts easily slide through the holes.

Step 5

Drill a starter hole at the center of the post marks on the top of the decking.

Step 6

Use a jig saw to cut out the post hole along the marks.

Step 7

Align and install the post brackets on the marks.

Step 8

Place the bracket on the marks under the decking, and use a pencil to mark the bolt hole locations. For the corners, remove the side bracket.

Step 9

Drill the holes.

If a large drill and bit won’t fit between the joists, try drilling pilot holes on the mark with a smaller bit from underneath. Then drill the larger hole from the outside. If you don’t have enough access to attach the brackets, you may have to remove some decking planks.

Step 10

Loosely attach the bracket with carriage bolts.

Step 11

Cut the railing post to the appropriate height, including the width of the joist.

Check your local building code for specific height requirements.

Step 12

Set the post in the bracket, use a post level to make sure it is plumb, then tighten the carriage bolts.

Step 13

Verify that the railing post is still plumb and adjust as needed.

Step 14

Continue attaching the remaining posts around the deck in the same manner.

Step 15

Slide the base cove moulding over the post to the bottom for a finished look.

Wear a dust mask when cutting treated lumber or composite materials.