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  • Jay G.

The Easiest Way to Move Your Deck

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

Whether you are renovating your house or doing maintenance on underground utilities going into your home, there comes a time when you may have to move your deck. Moving a deck doesn't have to be a monumental task.


The easiest way to move a deck is to detach each post from it's footing or pier. Then, jack up the deck one post at a time with a floor or farm jack. Affix a heavy-duty caster to the bottom of each post. Lower each post and caster onto sheets of scrap plywood. Get several friends, a come-along, or ratchet straps to pull or push the deck along the scrap plywood.


In this article, we'll go over exactly how you can move your deck without using heavy equipment. Best of all, moving your deck won't require you to spend a fortune, either. Let's have a look below at the easiest way to move your deck.


Deck Moving Safety

Before you move your deck, consider whether or not you are fit to do this job. If you are uncomfortable, or unable, to push or pull heavy loads then you'll need several friends to help you.


Decks can also weigh over a ton, so if you do attempt to move your deck and get it moving you'll be dealing with some serious weight. If this makes you take pause, maybe this isn't th job for you.


As you move your deck, understand that floor jacks and ratchet straps will be doing most of the work. This process is not immediate and plan to spend a whole day or more moving your deck.


Done properly, moving your deck should not require an excessive amount of strain. If you find that it does, go back over the directions below, carefully, to understand where you might be going wrong.


Can I Move Any Size Deck?

Yes and no. If you have a super cramped backyard in a dense neighborhood, your options might be limited. You'll be able to move it a few feet, depending on your lot size, which might be all you need. Otherwise, taking the deck apart might be your only option.


For the directions below, we'll be looking at a deck that is 10x16. That means it protrudes from the house 10 feet and is 16 feet against the side of the house. A 10x10 deck can actually be lifted up by five or six strong friends, as the weight of that sized deck will likely be under 900 pounds.


While this is obvious, it needs to be said that if you have an absolute behemoth of a deck, such as a deck that wraps around 3/4 of your house, then you can' t move it. Well, you can move it, but you'll have to do it in sections.


Materials Needed to Move Your Deck

Here's what you are going to need before moving your deck

  • jack - a floor, farm, or hydraulic jack will work

  • heavy-duty casters

  • 3 1/2" deck screws

  • scrap sheets of plywood

  • Straps, come-a-long, winch, etc.

  • Impact wrench, socket set, socket extension*

*optional


How to Move Your Deck

Remember to do this job with a friend, or at least someone else present. Anytime you are using a jack to lift up significant loads, you'll want to make sure someone is around in case the jack fails or you hurt yourself.


We'll start with how to detach your deck from your house first. Remember, all decks are built differently, so if you have a floating deck, then the process starts with step #2. Let's get to work!


1. Detach Deck from House

If your deck is attached to your house, it will be bolted through your ledger board into the rim joist of your house. This can be potentially messy for some homeowners, as you'll have to get into walls to reach the nuts of those bolts in order to remove them. If you have a finished space, you'll have to remove some drywall.


I went under my deck and saw that I had carriage bolts holding my deck to the house. This was unfortunate because lag bolts would have been way simpler. Carriage bolts have a circular head and have to be removed by loosening the nut on the other end. Lag bolts have a hex head and can be removed with an impact wrench, a wrench, or a ratchet.


Deck moving, moving a deck, detaching deck from house
Deck Abutting Ledger Board - Find Carriage Bolts Here

Since I was dealing with carriage bolts, I had to go inside to remove the bolts. My basement is unfinished, so I just had to go downstairs and get on a stepladder. It took some hunting, but I was able to locate the carriage bolts in the joist cavities above my basement block walls, after removing the batts wedged into the joist cavities.

ledger boards joist cavities carriage bolts deck removal
Carriage bolts are in joist cavities behind insulation

I had 5 carriage bolts I had to remove. They were about 30" apart, so not every joist bay had one. I needed a long extension for my socket to reach the nuts. After the first couple of turns I could reach my arm in and unscrew the bolts with my hand.


Once unscrewed, the carriage bolts needed some extra prodding with a hammer. Again, you'll need to use a socket extension to bang the carriage bolt through the rim joists and ledger board.


Turn the extension around so the open end that fits on the ratchet sits on top of the end of the bolt. Tap the other side with the hammer and it will start to wiggle out.


2. Add Support Posts

If your deck is attached to the house, then it might only have one beam and one set of posts supporting that beam. If that is the case, you'll need to add a few posts under your deck that are closer to your house. Otherwise, the deck will tip over once completely detached as it will lack support on one side.

Moving a Deck, Using Straps to Move a Deck, Using Casters to Move a deck, moving a deck
Deck Support Beam - Attach Straps or Cable to Pull

Before you add the support posts, attach casters to the bottom of each post you are going to install. Also, you'll need to place your scrap pieces of plywood underneath where you are going to put the post.


The scrap will act as your "road" that the deck will travel on. The thicker the plywood, the better. You won't need much because as you move the deck, you can move the scrap forward with the deck as you go, as long as you have more than 1 piece per caster.


The simplest way to attach the support posts is to use 4x4s or 6x6s - whichever size post your deck already has - and attach them to the underside of the deck, close to your house.


Your beam and posts will likely be either 8 or 10 feet from your house, so you need posts on side closest to the house to balance the deck when you start to move it.


Attach the posts on either end, placing them under a joist. Sister the joist it sits beneath with a piece of scrap of the same width. Screw or nail the scrap to the existing joist. Now the joist can sit on the post fully.


Put a post on either end of the deck, a few joists from the outside edge. Before installing the support posts, jack the deck up with your floor jack next to where you'll put your support post. That way you can insert the support post and then lower the post so that the weight of the deck is on the post.


3. Place Casters Beneath Deck Posts


Time to place casters beneath your existing deck posts. Detach the posts from the deck blocks or concrete piers. Place your floor jack next to the post. You'll need a 4x4 to place on the floor jack that will act as a temporary post. Simply wedge a 4x4 between the jack and beam and start jacking.


moving a deck, lifting a deck, prepping to move a deck, jacking up a deck, using a floor jack to move a deck
Jacking Up Your Deck with a Floor Jack and 4x4
Moving Decks, Installing a Deck, Deck Hardware, Deck maintenance, Home Foundation Repair
Lift Deck, Remove Deck Block, and Install Caster

You need to jack it up far enough to affix a caster beneath the post. Use your 3.5" deck screws to affix the casters.


Place your scrap plywood beneath the post and caster. Once complete, lower the beam and post with caster down onto the scrap plywood.


Repeat the process with all the other posts.


Note: If you have concrete footings that protrude above the ground and cannot be moved, you might have to remove the post and re-attach it so that it is clear of the footing.


That may mean removing bolts that hold the post on, or simply removing a post and beam connecting bracket.


Whatever the connection, you have to move the post clear of the concrete footing if it is more than 6" off the ground.


Otherwise, you can just lay the plywood over the concrete footing.


4. Move the Deck


Once your deck is detached from your house, on casters, and has a plywood platform to roll on, you simply need to add momentum.


There are several ways to do this:

  • Attach a come-a-long to the main beam and connect the other end to a large tree or a truck. Do not attach it to a telephone pole - if anything happens to the pole you risk not only personal injury but also replacing the cost of the pole which I've heard is anywhere from 5 to 10 thousand dollars.


using a lever to push deck, moving a deck, moving a deck DIY
Wedge lever against house and push
  • Use a lever. A long 4x4 wedged against the deck and your house foundation can get your deck rolling. A 6 foot - or longer - pencil point pry/digging bar wedged into the earth and the beam of your deck will also do the trick.

moving a deck with tools, using a lever to move a deck
Use a Steel Construction Bar Like this 60"
  • Pull it with a truck. You'll need a truck. If you think your minivan is capable of this just because it has a trailer hitch, then think again. Although the towing capacity of your Toyota Sienna might rate more than the actual weight of the deck, resulting in, amongst other things, a busted transmission - don't do it.

Your average truck, such as an F150, will easily pull the weight of a deck.


Attach a strap rated to pull something more than 3000 pounds to the beam of your deck, in the center, and slowly push the gas. This should be enough to get the deck rolling so that your friends can do the rest.

  • Get friends to help. It does not take a tremendous amount of pushing to move a deck on wheels over a level, smooth surface.

The problem is getting behind the deck to move it away from the house. Remove

several deck boards closest to the house to allow your friends to jump between the house and deck to push.


#5 Move Plywood with Deck as it Rolls


As the deck moves, you'll need to periodically stop to replace the plywood as it moves. Therefore, for each caster, you'll need at least two scrap pieces of plywood. The width and thickness of the plywood matter. The thicker it is, the better it will roll.


Plywood sheets start to get expensive as you increase thickness, and a 3/4 sheet can run in the neighborhood of $35 to $45. It is worth investing in the price of a couple of sheets for this job as it will make rolling the deck much easier.


moving a deck with lumber, using lumber to move a deck, moving a deck DIY with lumber
2x12s Also Work When Rolling Your Deck - Go Slowly

Stores like Home Depot will make a couple of cuts for you so you can fit the sheets in your car more easily.


rolling a deck on plywood, moving a deck on plywood, using plywood to move a deck, moving a deck
Lay Plywood on Ground and Roll Deck on Top of It

Cut the sheets into quarters. This will allow you some leeway when rolling the deck. When rolling, place the next sheet slightly under the previous sheet so that the caster rolls off and onto the next sheet.


If you place the sheets to abut one another the weight of the deck might result in the post with caster falling between the plywood road and back onto the ground. In this case, you'll have to jack up that post and place the plywood back underneath it.


Other Ways to Move a Deck

I've mentioned just one way a homeowner can move a deck themselves if they have some friends who are willing to give a push or two. There are many other ways to move decks, and we'll briefly touch on them, below.


Remember, using casters and pushing slowly is a low impact method of moving that won't result in any damage to your deck. The following methods are potentially more damaging to people or your deck, which is why the above method is our preferred way to move a deck.


Use Rollers to Move a Deck

Another popular way to move backyard structures, this method of moving buildings or decks involve using 4" PVC sewage pipe laid down conveyor belt-style to roll your building to a new destination.


This method works great with sheds, saunas, and other small backyard buildings. It also works well with decks that sit close to ground level. However, for larger decks that are raised, it requires more work and larger jacks.


If you have a deck that is, say, 4' off the ground, you'll have to lower the entire platform down to the ground. That means removing posts completely and lowering the deck to ground level, atop the PVC rollers.


You'll need a series of floor or farm jacks to accomplish this - at least 4 or more depending on the shape of your deck.


Other options include using metal polls or logs of similar size, such as fence posts, to accomplish the rolling part of this option. Any will work, it just depends on what you have available to you. PVC pipe is cheap, extremely strong, and available at any home reno or farm store.


Use a Trailer to Move a Deck

Putting your deck on a trailer is another way to move your deck. This involves either lowering or raising your deck so that a trailer can fit underneath the center of the deck. Then you lower the deck - slowly - onto the trailer and move it away.


This method is risky for a number of reasons. First, you need a trailer large enough to both fit and actually carry the load. A quick look at utility trailers sold by big box stores will tell you that the average load capacity is around 1500 pounds. That may not be enough for your deck.


If you know someone with a double axle trailer - that means 4 wheels, not two - then this is a much better option. The next issue is removing any posts that might be in the way when you sit the deck onto the trailer. You may also need to use scrap wood to balance the deck on the trailer if your deck only has one main beam.


Then there's the moving part of using a trailer. Once on, you need to secure the deck. Since you'll be moving the deck very slowly, a series of heavy-duty ratchet straps connected to the trailer should be fine. Do not rely on friends to support the deck on the trailer as it moves - this is dangerous and the weight of a tipping deck will easily overpower several people.


If you aren't sure your trailer can handle a deck, then you are probably right. Don't risk damaging your vehicle, trailer, and your deck if you aren't sure you can pull this type of move off.


Pick Up Your Deck and Move It

Don't laugh - it can be done, even if you aren't the Incredible Hulk. As I mentioned above, a simple 8x10 or 10x10 deck weighs somewhere under 1000 pounds. It is within the realm of possibility for six or seven strong individuals to literally pick up a deck and move it.


When doing this, it is helpful to remove railings and steps to reduce weight as much as possible. Also, jacking the deck up or down to about waist height makes for a good starting point to lift the deck.


Most of the people lifting the deck will be holding onto the rim joist. Make sure it is fastened properly before lifting, as you don't want to be holding a rim joist and nothing else as the rest of the deck falls on the toes of your friends...ouch.


Conclusion

When moving your deck, safety is the first, second, and third consideration before you do anything else. Once you detach your deck from your house, you must take extreme precautions when doing anything underneath your deck, even on the edges.


Using casters to move a deck is just one way to move a deck, although we've highlighted it as one of the most viable and straightforward ways. If you have other methods you've tried or would like to try, please leave a comment, below.


Best of luck in your next deck moving adventure and please comment below to let us know how it went!












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