14 June 2012

decked out

If there was one area of our house that I really disliked it would be our back deck.  The builder didn't use deck screws.  Instead opting for the cheaper and less effective nail method of assembly.  After three years many of the boards on the deck had started to look more like candy canes from their warping.  Also, the deck had been stained a red color that I just wasn't digging anymore.

Last summer I had grand ideas of ripping the deck off and building a patio complete with fire pit.  Dan was deployed and I figured it would be a good project to keep me busy.  I am woman hear me roar.  Except I never had the motivation and the extreme heat all summer didn't help.  

About two months ago over breakfast Dan made the comment that maybe we should do something about the deck.  Not wanting him to lose momentum I had myself and Mabry dressed, the kitchen cleaned up and us in the truck on the way to Lowes in less than 30 minutes.  

In an effort to keep the costs down, we decided that the "bones" of the deck were still fine.  So the first step was to rip off the railing, balusters, and floor of the deck.  This took a lot longer than either of us thought it would but by dinner time we were down to studs, all the nails had been removed from the old boards and everything had been hauled to the dump.  

Next we set about cutting the boards for the floor to the length that they needed and notching out some to fit around the support beams.  We had almost all of it finished by the time the sun was setting that night.  

Over the course of the next week Dan and I (mostly Dan) worked on screwing everything down the way it should have been done in the first place.  

After that the deck sort of stayed in a state of limbo for a few weeks.  At one point Dan took a belt sander and took all of the stain off of the support beams, and we did build the stairs.  Then it sat again.  Our unfinished eye sore.  

Last weekend I started to really push to get the rest of the rails put up and to basically finish up the details.  At first the plan was to put up the same rail and baluster look that had been on there in the first place.  Then we talked about iron rails and even played around with the idea of rope (think nautical theme).  Finally I suggested going this route:
Deck #1
Once the railing was up we still had to deal with the lower half of the deck.  The original bones were still a terrible shade of red faded stain.  My sister had the idea of painting it black to better match the accents of our house.  We bought a gallon of Olympic Wood Protector Stain + Sealant In One Solid Color and it is awesome.  We put two coats on everything, painted the little wooden table we keep out on the deck and our mailbox holder and we still have over half the can left.  
Deck 3

Deck 2
There is still a little bit of work to be done over by the stairs and to water seal the whole thing (we decided to go with a more natural look on the top half of the deck rather than stain it again).  I also have my eye on a few Adirondack chairs for back there and some sort of large potted plant for by the back door.  Overall most of the deck is done.  Thank goodness!

Mabes was thrilled with all the work we were doing on the deck.  It meant she got to play with all of her little friends in the backyard and also spent quality time in her new pool.
Pool Party Mabes
The next outdoor project is going to be blocking out an area of the yard to fill with sand or rubber mulch to put the swing set and pool in.  I just have to figure out a way to motivate/convince Dan. 


  1. The deck looks awesome and I love the rails you did instead of the balusters...hmmm...makes me want to get rid of ours and do those rails instead. Some little girlie looks happy to be cooled off and probably glad she isn't old enough to help.

  2. Looks great. I love the natural look with the black. Our house also has the nails coming out of it and it's a big mess. But, that's for the owners and not us to deal with thankfully. If not, I would have already ripped it all apart and done something different. :)


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