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The Back Deck Project
Backyard Deck, Before Remodeling

I know what you're thinking - "Holy Cwap!"

Yes, this is what the back deck looked like when we first bought the house. Aside from the pool, which was a mess, this wooden deck had endured many years of weather and neglect. We didn't know how to do a lot of these outdoor projects, so we figured that rebuilding this deck would be a good place to start. The first thing we did, was recruit someone who had done this before. Our brother-in-law Randy Blakeman generously offered to come down from Ballston Spa, NY to help us out.

The first thing we needed to do was demolition. In this photo Homer and Manny survey the work to be done. Tearing off the boards and knocking down the rails was easy, especially if you have somewhere nearby to stack the wood. We ended up piling it in the wooded area behind the deck, where it stayed for a year before we finally got rid of it. The decking of the original deck was made of 2x6 pressure-treated lumber. For the new deck we chose more modern 5/4 (five-quarter) by 6 pressure treated lumber. The narrower thickness allows easier nailing and the rounded edges gave the new deck a finished look.

Here are Homer and Randy aligning the new decking along the new joists. We used 2x8 joists and 3 2x10s sandwiched together for the main beam. This is a free-standing deck, set on 12 4x4 posts set in concrete below the deck. It is not anchored to the pool decking in any way.

Installing the posts and joists took over a full day. Fortunately we took a long weekend and managed to finish laying all the decking. For the railing, we got angle-cut 2x2 4-foot spindles and nailed them around the outer perimiter of the deck. We also used 4x4 posts on the corners and centers of each edge to give support. Use the width of a 2x4 to accurately measure the gauge between the spindles. It's narrow enough so that the kids or dogs won't get stuck in between. The top of the railing is a length of 5/4x6 lumber nailed to the tops of the spindles.

Homer, Randy and MariaHere I am doing what I do best - supervising :-) - while Randy and Maria trim the posts and spindles for the railing. The next step was painting. We left that till later on in the summer just to give the wood a chance to dry out a bit. Overall this project was a lot of fun. If I had to do it again, I would have used a random pattern when laying the decking. If you look closely you can see the seams along the joists where I joined the decking. It's a good first project because it doesn't require a ton of planning. And it's something you can do with the whole family, as we did.

The final results

Can't argue with results, right?

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