Monday, August 17, 2015

Rebuilding the Deck

Since we moved into our house in the month of September, we did not really get to spend very much time outside, other than cleaning the pool just to close it down.  Our first renovation project in the spring was a big one...the dilapidated deck.  It is a big deck, which we liked, but the wood was very weathered and some of the floor boards needed to be replaced.  Oh, and the railing looked like it would give way if anyone even thought about leaning against it.
We initially thought the railing was leaning by design, which was common in the early 80's (like my grandparent's deck).  But, upon closer inspection, it had been "repaired" by nailing about 20 nails in each post where it attaches to the deck and it was still about to fall over.  As you may have guessed, that was loads of fun to demo.  Also, the existing deck did not have vertical railings, but 2 horizontal rails, which a child would easily be able to fit through.  So the railing obviously had to go!

I wish I had taken a before picture of the deck, but we could not wait to tear it down! The only before pic we have is the one from the MLS listing, which is poor quality, but you can see the unsafe railings and how the deck was configured before we added the additional landing.

Before pic of our deck and pool area

Even though the deck was large, the steps to the pool ended up at the edge of a retaining wall (as you can see in the pic below)...major design flaw!  Our plan was to replace the railing around the deck, replace the floorboards that were rotten, build a privacy wall with a gate and stairs on the driveway side, and add a landing platform so we could reconfigure the steps to make then safer into the pool area.  We were not ambitious at all, were we?

Both of us have basic DIY skills (my dad is a carpenter by trade), but neither one of us had tackled a project like this.  We used the prefabricated rail sections since we thought they would be easiest to work with.  For the privacy fence, we used 1x2 slats stacked on top of each other on both sides and then added the decorative trim on top.  We used BEHR redwood stain on the entire deck to help blend the old wood with the new wood. My hubby also built me the cute planter you can see in the lower right of the picture for me to grow herbs and flowers in.

Here is what the deck looks like today.  All of our furniture was purchased at a thrift store or off Craig's list. I painted the Adirondack chairs and all of the iron patio furniture.  It's amazing how a few cans of paint can make something look like new!

Our new and improved deck!
Confession: The gate opens to nowhere.  We intended on building steps to have access to the deck from the driveway, but we ran out of steam and it remains on our to-do list.  Looking back 5 years later, there are things we would have done differently now that we have more experience under our belt, but I am proud of the work we did together, without killing each other!

As of May 2016, we FINALLY finished our deck by building the stairs and fixing the gate.  We have had so many projects on our list, including our basement renovation that we did not want to tackle the stairs.  We had a few issues that we were not quite sure how to overcome, like an uneven driveway and leaving enough room so we could still be able to drive through the double gate to have access to the basement.  We have a friend at church who is a builder, so we asked him for help.  Yes, I hate asking for help, but if we could get new steps in one day and learn something in the process, then I am all for it.  

Our friend knew how to build the stringers so that the  steps would be level on our uneven driveway.  we also had to turn the gate around, so it would open into the deck instead of out onto the steps.  My husband and I added the gate latch and the spring so that the gate will open and shut correctly.  After 7 years, it feels good to have a proper entrance into our deck from the driveway instead of having to come in through the carport!

What is the most ambitious home improvement project you have tackled?

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