This past weekend we finally finished the roof on the back deck. It rocks! It took us a lot of time to get the deck reworked the way we wanted it, but it was worth it. We sat outside the other day and just enjoyed the evening slowly enveloping us. It was great.
We’re not necessarily fast workers, but we’re thorough. Here’s the progress of our humble respite.
Not Move In Ready
When I first saw the deck I immediately decided I wanted the steps moved so that they were beside the deck instead of sticking out into usable ground. The other problem was that they put the steps on the corner away from the house, which meant there was an area that got no sun and wasn’t good for much of anything except catching all the bits and pieces of “treasures” my husband had for his various inventions! It was a catastrophe and was soon overgrown with weeds in amongst all his findings. Not only that the wood was very tired looking. It was only six years old when we moved in, but it had not been preserved or cleaned at all during that time. So the color of the wood was a dark grey and it looked very unappealing. Worst of all it was set so that it is in the blistering sun from around 8 in the morning until 5 or so in the evening. Meaning that it was unusable. We put an indoor/outdoor thermometer out there and the average summer temperature was over 110˚F!
When we first moved in we didn’t really have time to spend outside as we were remodeling the inside of the house. We don’t have any outbuildings or a garage on our property, so we tried to put up a tarp over the deck so that we could cut the flooring and other outside and to keep down the sawdust. Photo 1 is of the deck after a big windstorm tore our tarp to shreds and left us with a 20th century looking sculpture in its place. As you can see we had a lot of stuff stored all around the deck, because at least under the deck provided a bit of protection. I also had all the plants I’d brought from the other property setting back there waiting for me to find them permanent homes.
At Long Last The Yard
Five long years later (Photo 2) you can see that not much has changed. We have picked up most of the mess and I’ve planted most of the plants, but it is still a very sad looking excuse for a deck and we still never use it. This is the first year we really did anything on the yard as we worked on the interior for the first three years, then spent two summers in India. Finally a summer to get some real gardens in.
Last summer we power washed the entire thing (Photo 3) and moved the stairs to their new location (Photo 4). It made a huge difference. The deck no longer looked so tired. Then I started to paint it. I only got that partially done, due to the fact that it kept raining and the wood would never dry out long enough for me to do much.
Commitment To Completion
This spring I begged my husband to work with me until the job was completed and I’m glad to say he did. I’ve always promised to be honest about our projects. This one took much longer than it really needed to. We only worked on it about a hour a day until we got ready to put up the rafters and put down the roofing. There’s so much to be done on the property that we felt that we couldn’t just give all our attention to the deck. So each day we would put up one board. Of course there were some days we couldn’t work on it at all, and some we spent a little more time, but it took us about 2 months to do what could have been done in one or two weekends if we’d really given it our all.
We found some interesting things. First, they didn’t cut the railings the right length on one corner. That was the reason the railing on the other side was hanging by a thread. We cut the board properly and now it is much more secure. We had a lot of niggling to do to get everything together as the wood was old, had warped and often didn’t want us to screw something tight to it. We measured and remeasured and still made a 1/2” mistake on one corner, but you can’t tell. None of it was terribly hard, except getting my husband and I on the same book and page. We have very different styles of doing things and I finally had to just let go of my laid back, throw it together style, because he was going to draw perfectly scaled pictures before he cut one piece.
A Bit More To Go
Of course it’s not completely done, as the first paint I bought was not very good (Valspar) and a good portion of it peeled off over the winter. So, we found another paint that has polyurethane in it (I didn’t win the battle for latex paint), and we’ll give that a try.
What you’re seeing in the after photos is about 75% complete, as the painting will take some time.
I’ve already dressed it up with all the gifts friends and family have given us over the years (Photo 5) and once the painting is done I’ll get the plants back on it. Hopefully within the next week, so we get a chance to enjoy it completely decked out (pun intended).
Share Your Handiwork
Have you ever reworked an eyesore on your property and been thrilled with the results? Share you story with all of us. I love to hear them.