Alrighty, so where did we leave off with the deck? Ah yes. Down to the bones.

We spent a full day deconstructing last weekend, and though we had the pile of new deck boards ready to go, it rained three days straight. On Independence Day, the sun was shining bright, but the wood was soaked. Instead, we cut down and hauled away the old decking boards.

And put up the new joists that replaced the two broken ones.

We also laid out the wet boards to dry a bit. Not sure what the rules are for working with wet wood, but the boards were just soaking. Figured we’d wait for them to dry some, just in case. I was pretty excited to just have a surface we could walk on.

This weekend, we got down to business. We installed the boards as tightly as possible. Most deck installation guides suggested doing this for fresh lumber – as the boards age and dry out, they’ll lose volume and gaps between the boards will appear naturally.

Some of the boards were slightly bowed. For those, I would screw in one end, flush. Then, I’d push the other end in so it was flush and screw it in. Sometimes this required brute force from my husband.

We installed all the boards bark-side-up except for two or three, which went bark-side-down because the other side was just too ugly. The last board hangs over about two inches. We may trim it to prevent tripping when we get the steps up.

The old red stain really pops with the unstained wood, doesn’t it? Well, we fixed that. I got some Citristrip. I’ve read good things about it – it’s not too chemically, but it’s effective. You just paint it on, wait half an hour, then scrape it off.

It should have come with a warning: don’t let it dry. I painted the whole thing then waited, only to come back and find that anything that was white was nearly impossible to scrape. Quick fix: just paint a bit more on and wait a couple minutes before scraping again. Oh, and a scouring pad + mineral spirit combination really helped take off the last bits.

While the freshly stripped and cleaned boards dried, I installed two corner posts. That little detail made it feel like the deck was really progressing. Just a few more bits of lumber and we’ll have railing!

The exterior boards had balusters stapled in them. Some removed cleanly, others left small gauges. I used a stainable exterior wood filler to repair the holes, then sanded it all down.

Let’s take a quick glance at the deck as it stood a couple of weeks ago.

And now!

We’re officially out of the deconstruction phase!

Phase One: Deconstruction

  • Remove balusters and railing
  • Remove decking boards
  • Check joists and support boards, replace as necessary

Phase Two: Rebuilding

  • Lay new decking boards
  • Install new balusters and railings

Phase Three: New Construction

  • Lay new patio (or build raised deck platform? we haven’t decided)
  • Build steps going out to new construction
  • Finish up balusters and railings

All five phases are here.

What did you do this weekend? Catch any Wimbledon action? Take advantage of the holiday weekend?

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