Updating Your Deck: Flipping the Boards for a Budget-Friendly Refresh

picture of deck boards not flipped yet, flipped but not pressure washed, flipped and pressure washed.

Background Story that Prompted Us to Update our Deck by Flipping the Boards

In 2011, we purchased our lake house. In 2013, we renovated and added an addition. Our deck is original to the house and we had been contemplating what to do with our deck for several years. We considered replacing the wood with composite, but that is so expensive and not in our budget yet.

Neal wondered if we could flip the boards. First, we examined the underside of the deck. The boards appeared to be in good condition and just needed to be cleaned. So, we opted to update our deck by flipping the boards over and getting several more years of use out of them. Neal is a GENIUS, but don’t tell him I said that!

The total cost was two boxes of deck screws and two new deck boards. The total cost was under 60 bucks! Of course, our labor is FREE! It took us about 5 days to complete this project but it was worth it!

Pressure Wash the Existing Deck Floor:

We pressured washed the entire deck floor before starting even though the deck surface would become the underside of the deck. This removed any dirt, mold, and mildew and gave the underside a better appearance.

Carefully Pry Up Deck Boards:

We used a small pry/flat bar to chisel around each nail to make it easier to pry each nail from the board.

We were very careful not to break or crack the deck boards.

The front of our deck was fairly simple because the boards were all the same length (no staggered boards) and did not require any cutting – – simply flipped the deck boards.

Flip, Cut as needed, and Screw the Board in Place (Front Deck):

It is essential that the ends of each deck board end on a joist. The joist is the horizontal structure/boards under the deck. If the deck boards are in the middle of a row, they will need to end in the middle of the joist (leaving room for the next board to be nailed/screwed in the middle of the same joist).  If it is the end of a row, the deck board should end on the joist/exterior ban of the deck. 

Flip, Cut as needed, and Screw the Board in Place (Side Deck)

The side deck was a little more challenging because it is a larger space and required us to cut and reconfigure (like a puzzle) some of the deck boards. It was worth the effort to stagger each row. In other words, we did not want any seams in adjoining rows to line up.

Because we had an entire section that is angled at the end, we had to cut each of these pieces to be the opposite angle and then piece these rows. We used a miter saw to cut each deck board as needed.  This took additional deck boards. We wanted all of the deck to match/blend. We had plans to replace the deck railing, so we used the handrails (also deck boards) to fill in as needed.

Before and After Comparison

This picture shows the larger part of our deck (side of the house). The left side is before flipping the deck boards, the deck boards in the middle section have been flipped but not pressure washed, and the far-right section has been flipped and pressure washed.

Screws vs. Nails

We prefer to use deck screws instead of nails. Over time, nails start protruding out of the wood and have to be hammered down (also stub toes if not hammered down). Screws are more secure and also make it easier to remove the deck board in the future. (We hope to replace the wood with composite one day.)

Pressure Wash:

Once we finished each section, we pressure-washed the boards. This is when the real beauty of the wood emerged. We were stunned because it almost looked like new wood.

Below is the final result of how we updated our deck by flipping the boards.

flipping deck boards

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Pinterest Pin flipping deck boards

To learn how we updated our railing, click HERE . . . here is a sneak peek at our DIY railing . . .

Let us know what you think about how we updated our deck by flipping the boards or if you have any questions by commenting below.


  1. Robyn on 07/14/2020 at 8:11 PM

    What a great way to save money for a deck improvement! It looks fabulous! Y’all amaze me with your projects; you’re both so talented. We are new residents on the lake and I found your blog, by way of Pinterest, while searching for ideas for a door headboard. Yours was my favorite! What a surprise to find out you were on Logan Martin, where we had just relocated to from Georgia.

    • Suzanne on 07/14/2020 at 9:32 PM


      Thanks so much! I am so glad you found our blog and thrilled you live on Logan Martin Lake. Welcome! You will love this area!

      Thanks for reading our blog.


    • Kristi on 06/01/2021 at 2:51 PM

      I would never have imagined flipping deck boards- let alone that the end result could look so beautiful. This has inspired my husband and I to take on our massive deck project- hopefully with great results! Fingers crossed!

      • Suzanne on 06/02/2021 at 10:08 AM


        Your comment thrills me! This is exactly why I do this blog – – to helps other people like you. Let me know how is goes!


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  4. Belinda on 08/12/2020 at 6:06 AM

    Smart and looks so good! It is hard to believe how good it looks. Your husband is a genius!

  5. Mike on 09/04/2020 at 9:35 PM

    Nice results, but how could you possibly do that entire deck with just two boxes of screws? The link you provided is for a 1-pound boxes of screws, which according to Home Depot contains about 62 screws. So if you bought two boxes, that would be roughly 124 screws. The pictures you posted show the side deck alone is at least 20 rows long, and there are at least 40 screws per row. It looks like it would have taken at least 800 screws, probably more like 1,000, to do the job.

    Not trying to be picky (well, I guess I am!) . . . I’ve flipped the boards on our deck as well, and it took around 1,800 screws to complete the job. I conservatively estimate that I spent around $265 on screws.

    On a side note, we opted to sand our flipped boards instead of pressure washing them. It takes more time, but I think it gives a little more polished result. Plus using a power washer on wood can be a tricky proposition if you don’t do it exactly right, as it can leave swirls or notches in the wood.

    • Suzanne on 09/05/2020 at 7:44 AM

      Hey Mike,

      Good catch. We did just use two boxes. I think we bought a larger box than what I had in the link, maybe the 5-pound box. I know we only bought 2 boxes. I have corrected the link so thanks for letting me know. Either way, it way SUPER cheap!

      Good to know you sanded your boards. I bet that looks good. You do have to be careful about pressure washing but we have a Ryobi surface cleaner and that really does a good job.

      Thanks for reading my blog and for the correction.


      • Mike on 09/08/2020 at 6:36 PM

        Hi Suzanne,

        Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I guess two five-pound boxes could get the job done and it would not add too much to the cost. Your deck looks great! The main thing with flipping the boards is that it can work really well, but you have to put in the time to do it right (which you and your husband obviously did.) Well done!

        • Suzanne on 09/08/2020 at 7:18 PM

          Thanks again! We are so pleased with the result.

          We are not professional contractors but have learned so much over the years by building and renovating …AND we are still learning! We just love the result we get from our hard work.

          Thanks for reading my blog!


  6. Steven on 04/06/2021 at 5:17 PM

    What about the holes left in the deck from the nails? Did you put the screws into the same holes? Or do you have nail holes visible in the deck?

    • Suzanne on 04/06/2021 at 9:24 PM

      Hey Steven,

      In some places, we used some of the same nail/screw holes, and in some places did not. We really don’t notice the old nail holes. They just blend in. I hope this helps.


  7. Sheri Van on 05/24/2021 at 9:01 PM

    Did you leave the deck boards raw or did you stain them. So many sites telling me what stain and and primer to use so at a loss what to use

    • Suzanne on 05/25/2021 at 8:58 AM

      Hey Sheri,

      We used treated lumber. That is essential so it will last over time. Sealing treated lumber is essential for it to last over time. If you are using new treated lumber, you need to seal it with something like Thompson’s deck sealer (or you can stain it) but don’t do it until about 6 months after installation. The new treated lumber needs time to dry out or the sealer will not adhere. If you are using old wood (like we did in this post by flipping the boards), then you can (and should) seal this with something like Thompson’s deck sealer. You can do this immediately because this used wood is already dried out.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions.

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  8. Spencer on 07/02/2021 at 12:09 PM

    Thank you!!!!! Very helpful!!
    Did you use the same nail/screw holes? If not did you fill the holes with something?

    • Suzanne on 07/05/2021 at 5:46 PM

      Hey Spencer,
      We were able to use the same holes at the end of some of the boards; however, we were not able to use the nail holes in the middle of the boards and in the boards we had to cut. We did not fill the nail/screw holes. They blend in and are not noticeable. I hope this helps!

  9. Julie on 04/29/2024 at 8:47 AM

    Curious how the deck is holding up a couple years later? I’m about to flip boards on a ground level deck that had some unfortunate rot starting.

    • Suz on 04/29/2024 at 9:25 AM

      Hey Julie,
      Great question! It has been 4 years since we did this. It has held up really well. However, for extra protection, we stained it a year ago (three years after we flipped the boards). We hope to get several more years of wear out of it. We have no regret from flipping our deck boards. However, if you do have some rot, we suggest replacing these deck boards. They will blend in over time.
      I hope this helps!
      Happy DIYing!

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