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Q & A: Our decking is getting old. It’s both rotten and cracked in places, and very discolored. Can we tear it up and replace it with new composite decking on the existing structure under the deck surface?

A: Replacing the deck surface is like getting a new deck, and modern composites are beautiful. Before doing this, however, you need to investigate the underlying structure. Most composite decks require underlying support every 12” on center. Most wood decks are built with underlying support every 16” on center. So, composite decking, over time, will sag between supports and get a wavy look.

Before giving up, investigate whether you can add more supports. Adding a new support between each existing support gets you to 8” on center. This is a bit sturdier than you need, but this may be easier than re-building the entire support structure of your deck.