Demo 1-2-3: How to Remove a Deck

Old chipping deck

Your deck has grown tired over the years and has started to chip and sag. You’ve been putting off the idea of removing it for years, because let’s face it—it’s an intimidating job. But you know that it needs to be done, and the day of reckoning has come.

Removing a deck isn't a one-size-fits-all project. There's more than one way to get rid of your deck, just as there's more than one reason to do so.

The condition and material of your deck, as well as your desired budget and timetable, all come into play when deciding which deck removal process you're going to choose—do it yourself, hire a professional, or a combination of the two.

Assess your options, approach the job methodically, and make a plan. With the help of our deck demo guide, you’ll be able to say goodbye to your deck without saying goodbye to all your hard-earned cash, time, or your sanity!


Remove it yourself.

  • COST: Free
  • TIME: 4 – 24 hours
  • TOOLS: hammer, pry bar, drill, ratchet and sockets, reciprocating/circular saw (optional)

Getting rid of your deck doesn’t mean you have to destroy it in the process, or hire someone else to do it. The lumber used in decks is valuable and can be reused for almost anything; not to mention, it’s a job you can finish on your own with just a little ambition and a few basic tools.

deck demolition
This is the exact approach you DON'T want to take. Save that wood!

Start by removing all railings and stairs, then move on to the deck boards. A majority of decks nowadays are built with screws, which are simple enough to remove with a drill or electric screwdriver. If your deck was built with nails, simply pull out the nails or pry the boards up with a hammer and a pry bar.

Take care when doing this as to not hurt yourself or the wood. Railings, stairs, and deck boards are in high demand due to their versatility.

Weathered wood is perfect for all kinds of DIY projects. You can transform your old deck into a bench, a table, a frame, landscaping trim, or anything you can think of—or you can sell it to someone else via Facebook, Craigslist, etc.

From there, remove your deck’s legs and feet. Most decks have concrete feet that are relatively easy to remove from the ground with a shovel and some muscle. If your deck’s concrete footings are too difficult to remove by hand, utilize a Bobcat, backhoe, truck, quad, tractor, etc. to get the job done. The safest way to go, in this case, is to hire a professional to do this step.

Deconstructing your deck yourself is a free and relatively easy way to save on costs. You can reuse the valuable lumber for pretty much anything or sell it to someone else who will.
 

Keep reading about planning your demolition project:


Hire a professional to remove your deck.

  • COST: $150 - $600
  • TIME: 2 - 8 hours

If you're not comfortable with the idea of taking apart your deck on your own, a contractor can have it removed quickly—generally within one business day. Many junk removal companies also offer deck demo & removal services. Find a junk removal company near you.

The video below does a great job of breaking down each step of the process and explaining what you can expect the contractor or junk removal company to do when removing your deck.

Hometown Demolition Contractors can help you find deck removal experts. Simply search by location and find contractors listing ‘deck removal’ as one of their services. From there, you can find out more about them, read authenticated customer reviews, and view their contact information. When speaking with contractors, be sure to ask these questions to side-step scams.
 

Have a contractor help out a little.

  • COST: $100 - $200
  • TIME: 2 - 8 hours

For those who want to save a bit of money and don't mind getting their hands a little dirty, you can do some of the deconstruction yourself, then hire a contractor to do the tougher work.

Depending on your level of enthusiasm, you can remove all the wooden material yourself—railings, stairs, and deck boards—and have a contractor help you remove the cement footings.

deck diagram