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Old 05-12-2002
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Removing Old Treadmaster

I read Sue & Larry's article about installing new Treadmaster decking. My problem is that I've had the stuff on my decks for almost two decades now and it's starting to crack and chip so I'd like to get it off. How do I do that?

Sue & Larry respond:
We've never had the pleasure of taking old Treadmaster up, but we did see quite a few examples of what yours must look like after 18 years, sort of brittle with ragged edges.

We discussed your problem for a while and came to the conclusion that there aren't any magical answers for easy removal. If it was installed with the Treadmaster epoxy, it's good and stuck. So we recommend that you conduct a few experiments. First, use a sharp metal scraper and a hammer to hit it with and see if you can break the seal beneath the Treadmaster. If that doesn't work, or if it's gouging too much of the deck material, we'd move on to trying a belt sander with something like 40-grit paper. Next, we'd try a grinder with an abrasive disk. If you have to use a grinder, be very careful and work slowly. These babies spin at speeds in excess of 3,000 rpms and can really gouge if not tightly controlled.

There's probably no getting around the fact that after removing the Treadmaster, you'll end up having to do a bunch of fairing, particularly on the waterway areas between the pieces. If they were large to begin with, maybe you can make them narrower a little to reduce fairing needs.

Best of luck with your project. We're still thrilled with our new Treadmaster and recommend that you consider replacing your old stuff with new pieces.

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