Last week I talked about big projects – overhauls, really. We’ve started on our outdoor oasis (which I desperately want to give the code name ‘gangsta’s paradise’), and let me say, it’s not pretty. Prepare for lots of pictures.

Some of the railings are out because I remembered to take pictures five minutes into deconstruction.

Beautiful view of trash cans. There’s a concrete pad – more than half is under the deck, which they built right on top of the concrete.

Now for the details that made us agree it was time for an update.

We hate the opaque stain, which has aged horribly without annual cleaning and sealing or occasional reapplication. Lack of maintenance has made the wood soft and chippy.

It was a shoddy and cheap construction, so some bits are just falling apart.

Just look at this railing. It really screams, “Free splinters! Come and get ’em!”

Reapply stain? You have to do that? Whaaaat? I shouldn’t be mean, the previous owner was like, 90. I’m guessing they didn’t prioritize staining the deck.

A view from the back door. This will probably be our base photo that will show wonderful progress as we rebuild.

Not pretty, is it? I read a Danny Lipford article about rehabbing your deck without replacing boards, and basically, we’re beyond any rehab. The wood is just too soft, chipped and damaged to salvage. There are boards here and there that are okay, but overall, it’s in terrible condition. Power washing would, undoubtedly, blast the wood into tiny pieces.

So here’s the plan.

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

Phase Four: Finishing Touches

  • Stain and seal the new wood
  • Start landscaping on lower level
  • Staple lattice around base of deck to hide dirt

Phase Five: Details, Details

  • Furniture
  • Grill
  • Deck box
  • Deck seating
  • Garden area

We’re deconstructing right now.

About 85% of the balusters were stapled in, making a total mess.

We hammered them out, and occasionally, had to use pliers to remove the staple from the base of the deck.

Now we’re about 50% finished with the deconstruction. We’re going to hold off on removing the decking until we actually get new boards (likely this weekend!) so there’s minimal downtime with deck use. Crossing our fingers it’s not utterly miserable outside!

What outdoor projects are you working on? Any deck building or rehab on the horizon? We’ll also take recommendations for upcycling balusters! Most of them are in decent condition (minus the staples poking out on each end).

2 Responses to The Deck: Phase One, Deconstruction

  1. Jerrica says:

    This is our deck! Exact same condition and probably the same stain color! HA! We’ve been debating rebuilding the deck vs pouring concrete instead, so I look forward to reading about your progress 🙂

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