Broken or split timber boards pose a safety hazard and should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
If hardwood or treated pine suffers from rot and decay, or the nails have rusted, then individual boards or whole sections of a deck may need to be replaced to keep it safe.
Leave new decking boards for two months before oiling or staining to allow the tannins to be released. Timber that is cleaned and sealed regularly is more resistant to rot.
TIP If a screwdriver penetrates soft, spongy timber, this indicates rot.
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Use a pry bar to lift and remove the damaged section, then prise out remaining nails using a claw hammer. Fill any splits in the joists with two-part epoxy filler to prevent further moisture damage.
Loosely arrange the boards in a staggered pattern with the ends finishing over a joist. Cut the ends square using a mitresaw and drill two 2mm pilot holes in each board above the centre of the joists.
Ensure there are consistent gaps between the boards by tapping thin timber wedges in the gaps at every second joist. Lever boards into position as required using a chisel, then secure with decking nails or screws.