I just don't like the looks of our cement patio in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It seems uninviting. I'd really like to cover the patio with a composite decking material. The patio is a couple of broad, terraced stone steps down from the patio door, so I don't think the finished height is a problem. Are there any reasons not to cover the cement patios with composite decks?
Lundon K. ~ Fayetteville, Arkansas
Yes Lunden, composite decking can be installed over an existing cement patio. One way to accomplish this task would be to build an underlying deck frame out of pressure treated wood, and then attaching the composite decking boards to the top of the wood frame. Sometimes called "sleepers", the pressure treated boards used in the deck frame need to be attached to the patio with concrete anchors and construction glue. Use pressure treated 2x4's as the deck sleepers, laying them flat against the patio. This means that the decking boards will sit 1 and 1/2 inches(the thickness of the 2x4) off of the concrete, which can allow air to circulate and water and debris to escape from under the deck.
Once you have successfully attached the sleepers to the patio, you can start laying out the composite decking boards, running them parallel to the side of your house. You can use either color-matched composite decking screws or blind fasteners to attach the decking boards to the sleepers. I like using blind fasteners because they secure the deck board to the sleepers and evenly space the decking boards approximately 1/8 of an inch apart.
After you choose a style and brand of composite decking, follow the manufacturers recommendations about spacing the sleeper boards underneath the deck. Most companies recommend spacing them 16-inches on center, but some of the thicker deck boards may be able to span sleepers which are spaced 24-inches on center. Composite decking is durable and looks great, and I am sure you will find it a suitable replacement for your existing cement patio. Good luck with your project and enjoy the new deck!