Deck the yard

When we first bought this place we had a 8 x 6 porch. Just enough room for our chairs but whenever anyone came to visit it was crowded. But we really didn’t have the money to build a new deck or add on to the existing deck. Thankfully a friend was redoing their deck and replacing the deck boards with lifetime decking. They asked me if I knew anyone that might want some deck boards, yep me. So we loaded our trailer with as many board that we could fit and have had them stored beside our shed for the last year. We have a lovely patio table that had no home and just sat beside our shed for the past two years. We love to eat outside but it wasn’t real convenient to haul all our food out to the shed every time we wanted to eat. So  I finally decided this would be the year we would redo our existing deck.  We figured out how big we wanted the new deck to be and then how many boards we would need to complete the framework, rails, posts, etc. I took the list to Lowe’s and started writing down all the prices so we could come up with how much it was going to cost us. With the cement, stain and lattice it would have ran us about $150, which isn’t bad but I just can’t come up with that much without cutting other things out. So I decided that I would save some of my babysitting money and use that to buy the boards.

So we picked a weekend and went to Lowe’s to get out boards. We started with just the frame work, cement and posts and that ran around $70. I always take a stroll through the paint department to see what mis-tints are on the shelf and as luck would have it, there was a gallon of Olympic deck stain, reduced to $4. I really don’t care what color it is at this point that is a deal. Now if it would have been some crazy color I would have left it sit but it was a redwood color and that works for me. So now we have the stain, the cement, the posts and all the framing boards and head to the register. My total bill was $81. The cashier handed me my receipt and another receipt. I asked what that was for and she said, “Your paint”. Yep Olympic gave me a $10 rebate on a gallon of stain I paid $4 for.

Now if you have ever done any home improvements with your spouse you will know from experience that it is not all sunshine and happiness. To even begin I had to move an entire flowerbed that I put in when we moved here. Yea now that is fun. Dug up all my beautiful flowers and put them in a tote till I can replant them. Not my favorite thing to do since they were all in bloom but it had to be done for the greater good. Most home improvements that get done at our house involve 10,000 trips to the shed for tools, 25,000 swear words and countless amounts of arguing over who is right and who is wrong.  Well thankfully when it comes to building, I have more experience the the hubby. So most of the laying out and measuring was my job and the drilling, nailing and sawing was his job.

So we set the posts and pour the concrete and then constructed the frame to hold the posts in place overnight. The next day we placed the hangers for the joists and then I thought I better stain them while I had the chance. We leveled the new deck so that it was even with the old deck, which sounds easier than it was. The one problem that we had was that I have a very old Wisteria that is attached to the lattice of the old deck and I did not want to risk losing it so we had to try to move the old lattice with the wisteria attached till we had the new deck finished.  We loosened the lattice and gently moved it to the side. This is the old type of wood lattice and has probably been there since the original deck was built. The lattice is very fragile and started to come apart, so we had to fasten it together till we could reattach it to the new deck posts. The next day we moved all the deck boards that we had stored out front to make it easier to get to. We had not touched the boards since we got them so we had a lot of screws to remove from them and most of them did not want to come out.  Hubby laid out all the boards and we fastened one end with nails. Then we made sure all our spacing was correct and then fastened the other side.  Once all were attached we sawed all the ends to make it even.  Now the deck boards were all nailed down and we quit for the day.

Because we have kiddos at our house all the time we could not leave it without some sort of railing or lattice. I really didn’t have the money for the lattice so I did some looking online to see who had lattice on sale. We have a Lowe’s and a Home Depot within a mile of our house. I prefer Lowe’s but I always check Home Depot for prices. Well I happened to check out Home Depots sale flyer and they had the lattice on sale for $18 a sheet. I needed to get more 2 x 4’s at Lowe’s so I just grabbed two sheets of lattice and had the cashier price match the lattice from Home Depot sale flyer.  Great deals are always fun to find. So I got the 2 x 4’s and the lattice for $40. I knew that before I could stain the deck I would have to power wash the entire deck. The old deck has never been power washed and because the deck boards that we used were used they needed to be power washed as well before I could stain. So I spent the entire next day power washing the deck and our trailer. Our neighbor has a great gas powered power washer and thankfully lets us borrow it. So in thanks for letting us use his power washer I washed the one side of his trailer as well. He had already done the front side I just did the back side for him.

Of course with every day a little rain must fall. It rained for the next couple of days so I could not stain the deck till the next weekend. I spent most of the afternoon staining the new deck and then the old deck while the hubby cut boards to enclose the bottom to keep out the critters from under the deck. My grandson had a wrestling match Saturday evening so as soon as we finished staining we went in to get showers to go to his match. We were no sooner out of the shower and I hear it, I can’t believe it but I hear it, RAIN!  I was pretty sure the deck was pretty much dry but never the less the can said it dries in 24 hrs. It wasn’t quite an hour and it rained. But the next day I looked and only a few tiny spots had lifted. I used every drop of stain from the gallon so I will have to buy a quart next time I get to Lowe’s just for touch ups. But the deck is done and we love it. My table now has a new home and we had our first meal on the new deck. We had a sail to cover the old deck and of course it doesn’t cover much of the new deck but we still had the umbrella for the table and we just gave it a good cleaning and put that up till I can afford a bigger sail.

So if you are looking to put up a new deck or just add to an existing deck, don’t be deterred to salvage some deck boards from your friends, Craigslist or wherever. We used the under side of the boards and power washed them and except for some screw holes it turned out beautiful. All said and done the deck cost us a total of $130 for lumber, lattice, stain, screws and nails. Not bad and a welcome addition to our home.

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