As we mentioned before, our backyard project has an expiration date: March 16, 2013. That Saturday we’re running our very first 5K (The St. Pat’s Dash Down Greenville) and hosting a huge crawfish boil… in our backyard. We have a lot to do to get the backyard party ready and only 53 days to do it in.
With nine contractors coming in this week, three of which are coming in to quote restaining the deck and fence, we need to have a whole deck for them to quote. When Structure #2 (aka the Structure with the Black Lagoon) still existed, it was connected to our deck via a small walkway. Now that the structures (and Black Lagoon) are gone, we’re left with chopped up railings and hole in the deck, not to mention that several of the stair treads were cracked and coming apart. It was time for some deck intervention.
First, we made a count of how many boards needed replacing. Since they were doomed anyway, we used a red sharpie to X out any that were damaged, rotting, or beyond repair. We came up with eleven deck boards, four stair treads, the railing that isn’t there, and the seat of our built-in bench.
A quick trip to Home Depot to pick up the pressure treated boards we needed left Dora the (Ford) Explorer fuller than she had ever been.
Because the deck had originally been built with nails instead of screws, we had to use a small crowbar to carefully pry up each of the damaged boards, being careful not to mar the rest of the deck in the process. You can see pretty easily in the photo below where the previous owner had cut a hole in the deck to hide his
hot tub Black Lagoon pump. Because he had cut away some of the support structure of the deck, we were careful to replace it before adding back any new deckboards.
We found quite an assortment of puppy toys when we pried up the deck boards. It was a bit of a relief to find them because we had a sneaking suspicion that Indy had actually eaten the tennis balls. Turns out she just lost them under the deck. [EDIT: After I took this photo we found two more tennis balls, a racquetball and a tug rope. Our dogs are hoarders.]
Once we’d rescued all the puppy toys from their under-deck dungeon, we started replacing the boards. Rather than use nails as the previous owner had done, we decided to go with a coated decking screw when we installed the new boards. They’re a little stronger than nails and they can be easily removed, should we need to pull up any more boards (to rescue missing tennis balls).
The Little House’s deck has a wonderful crepe myrtle tree growing out of the center of it. In order to accommodate its hole we had to cut a couple of boards at a 45 degree angle. Luckily we were able to salvage one of the old boards and use it as a template for the cut.
Because the deck was an odd length (12’9″), we had to go with a 16′ board instead of a 12′. This meant that we had to cut the boards to size. Rather than cut them all individually before installing them (and risking having them be all slightly different), we decided to cut them all at once using a chalk line and our circular saw. It was easy as pie.
In the end, the new section of deck looks great. Too great, really. We’re worried it won’t stain the same color as the old deck, but we’ll have to wait and see what the professionals say.
While we were at it, we went ahead and repaired the stairs on either side of the deck. We still have to extend the butchered railing to the edge of the stairs and replace a few more deck boards, but even with one day’s work the deck looks so much better – I can’t wait to see how she shines once she’s been professionally cleaned, stained, and sealed!
Have you ever repaired your deck? Have you ever found long lost puppy toys that you though had long ago been eaten? Don’t you just love powertools?