Last spring I decided to replace the pressure-treated deck on the back of our house. It was only 7 years old but had not faired well in the Ohio weather. The rails had warped badly and the deck boards were cupping in too many places to warrant a selective repair. This picture is actually of the biggest spider web I have ever seen, but it is the only before picture I have.
After the ubiquitous weeks of planning (and much discussion over copious cold ones) I recruited one of my riding buddies and we went to our local Menards in search of the boards I would need (none of the “real” lumber yards in my area had enough boards in stock and I didn’t want to wait). Who knew it would take so long to pick out 55 12 ft boards? They had over 200 in stock. We got there at 7:00 am on a Saturday and the parking lot was practically empty.
Of course, the 12’ boards were on the mezzanine, but, since it was early (and empty) the fork lift guy parked the lift right at the rail so we could stack right on the forks. We began by having a “yes” and a “no” pile, “yes” went on the forks and “no” went on the floor (not back in the narrow storage rack). After about 45 minutes we had about 20 boards and a huge “no” pile, with only about 1/3 of the stock left to check. We decided to be a little less discerning and added a “maybe” pile. Long story short, after 2 hours we had our deck boards. We then went on the hunt for framing members, posts and sundry items to complete the haul. We ended up having to order the rails because the in stock lumber wasn’t very nice but we ordered from a company called BWC who are out of Canada. Shipping to the store was free. Delivery would follow once the rails were in.
Delivery day came (and almost went) with no lumber in sight. Numerous calls to Menards confirmed the load was out for delivery. They finally delivered at 10:00 pm! Dropped the load in the driveway with a really neat tractor/fork-lift combo-thingy and disappeared into the night. The wife and I looked at this pile of lumber in front of the garage doors and decided if we didn’t want to have to take the day off tomorrow because we couldn’t get the cars out we had better get schlepping the load around back (luckily, we have a huge screened in porch that was about to become my shop for a few weeks).
I wanted this deck to be one that would last for many more years than the last so I began by sanding all the boards to 220 grit on the tops and 120 elsewhere. It took a while.
I tore up the old deck down to the trusses but since these had been well-protected and were solid, I left them in place and just re-built the frame. I did manage to steal another foot at the cantilever end to get closer to the end of the house but I was leary and didn’t go the whole way.
I used ties on all the joists and had to finesse around a gas line that we were originally going to relocate but couldn’t without major work in the basement and I didn’t want to hold up the project for the time that that would take.
My wife, bless her, not only kept us all supplied with cold ones and sandwiches, she also took on the task of treating the frame while we were, erm, drinking cold ones!
All the deckboards were rough cut to length, arranged and numbered
Then taken to the garage, where Vicky, once again, treated every one with two coats of Flood clear protectant. We used the Kreg deck-jig to lay the boards, great tool, makes it a lot slower to lay the deck but the no surface screw look is worth it in my opinion.
My buddy and I were busy on the steps and the rails. Steps were a challenge, especially when someone decides they weren’t really wide enough before, so off they come, quick redesign, and back they go.
Then it’s on with the rails, this part was easier than I thought it would be, lag screws and shims and a handy-dandy post-squaring level.
We chose black aluminum rails with black PVC lattice to match. Digging the lattice in under the deck was a bit of a chore but necessary to keep the critters from moving in under there.
Then it was just a matter of framing in the lattice, adding the barge board, trimming the posts and adding the solar powered light caps.
And voila, new deck is done. 5 weekends, copious cold ones and a few bruised thumbs and aching backs but it was worth it.
-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....