Deck Schmeck

For those of you who don’t know, the husband and I bought a house about 3 1/2 years ago. It was foreclosed and kind of a mess. We’ve done a lot of work on it, all ourselves, and have the main floor pretty close to finished. Someday I should show you pictures of the transformation. It’s pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

Anyhow, one of the major things that was left unfinished until now was the deck.

When we bought the house, the deck was… well… terrible.

It was large, which is nice. But whoever owned the house before us made some questionable decisions about “renovating” and such, and the deck was one example. It seems that the deck boards were not in the greatest shape, and instead of replacing them, they opted to cover them first with plywood, and then with Astroturf. It was pretty classy.

In addition to being exceptionally attractive, the plywood/Astroturf combo served to hold in moisture, so the plywood was completely warped and buckling, and was in fact growing mushrooms out of the Astroturf. It was fancy.

After a while, we decided to rip up the Astroturf and plywood to see how bad the damage was underneath. Plus, this way we could actually see where the wood was rotted and avoid stepping on it.

Here’s what we found:

That was probably the best spot. Here’s another, not as great area:

I have no explanation as to why some of the boards are pink. The deck was just extra fancy that way.

From what we could tell, the underlying support was still in good shape, so we planned to just rip off the rotten boards and put on new ones. And a railing. There was no railing on this rotten deck. Again with the fanciness.

This had been something we planned to do, but hadn’t gotten to it in the past 3 years because there was just so much else to do on the house. And a new deck is on the pricey side.

But this year, I thought it would be super great if we could have a backyard space for Little Man’s birthday, especially since we already have a play set that came with the house. So I asked the husband if he thought it was doable. I think I brought this up sometime in August. Probably the end of August.

He said he thought we probably could, but we’d have to start soon. So we ripped it up.

Luckily, the supports still looked good once everything was off. We still decided it would be better to seal them again with a weather-sealing product.

The husband & I pulled up all the boards ourselves, and then had his dad & brother come over to help get it all done. The night before, the husband told me, “I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t have at least all the boards on by the end of the day.”

This is how far we got at the end of that day:

That was a few weeks before Little Man’s party.

Upon closer inspection, while the supports were in good shape, we discovered that the method of attaching the deck to the house in 1971 (when the house was built) wasn’t exactly what we’d call “good” in this day & age. So we had to redo it.

The husband and I worked on it as much as we could after Little Man went to bed, and 2 weekends later, we had his dad & brother over again to help out. By the end of that day, we still did not have a single board on the deck. Seriously frustrating.

This was one week before Little Man’s party.

Thankfully, it was almost ready to put deck boards on. The next evening, the husband & I finished getting the flashing in place and started putting the boards on. It felt really good to finally have ONE board in place.

We worked frantically that week, but if you remember from my last post, this was the week that everything was going on, including getting ready for the party. We were exhausted, and it always took more time than we wanted it to.

That Thursday evening, the husband’s dad & brother came over yet again while us girls had a bridal shower to go to at church. I think by the end of that night, most of the boards were on. But that wasn’t enough. We needed to have the railing on if it was going to be usable for the party.

The husband had taken that Friday off of work, initially to help me get things ready for the party on Saturday, but it was clear he’d be working on the deck the whole day. Thankfully, my father-in-law was able to come over then as well. They started putting up the posts, and I helped where I could (when Little Man would let me.) Little Man played on the deck for a while when we were working. At one point he found a small, flat, rectangular-shaped piece of wood and decided it was a phone. He talked to someone on that thing for quite a while, and made sure we all said “hi” to whoever it was.

The posts took a lot longer than hoped, and by the time we took a break for dinner, we still hadn’t finished the hand rail and none of the balusters were up. At this point, I conceded that we were just going to have to find some place in the house for the 30-ish people who were coming. The husband helped me get Little Man bathed and when I finished putting him to bed, I was shocked at the progress. The husband was putting the final screws into the hand rail, and my father-in-law had gotten all the balusters up on one of the 3 sides. Hope! Suddenly I had hope that it might actually get done.

And it did.

The guys worked on it until 10:30 that night, but it got done. And it looks pretty darn good.

Please don’t look too closely at the siding. That’s another project for another time.

We didn’t get the stairs on because we have to custom-order them. We blocked off one entrance with a gate and made a makeshift step for the other one, just for the party. No one even got hurt!

It didn’t even fall when we had 30 people on it!

I’m pretty pleased with it. It’s kind of like adding a whole room onto the house. A whole room that will be unusable 6 months of the year because we live in Minnesota and it’s almost always winter here.

Sigh

But for those other 6 months, you’d better believe we’re going to be hanging out there all the time. Maybe we’ll even get some outdoor furniture if we’re feeling fancy.

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