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Old 04-21-2014, 10:53 PM   #1
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


Hi Everyone,

I am going to be renovating my deck this year and I would love some help from the pros. I have done a lot of research and I have a general plan of attack, but I do have some questions. I will try to organize this as much as possible and break it down into sections. I am a pretty advanced DIY'er and a total science guy, so don't hold back on details or ideas, I am open to any suggestions.

This is the existing deck:



I would like to restore the existing wood and stain it, then attach a 3' privacy "trellis" made of square trellis along the top of the existing railing. Similar to this:


Basic Info:
Located outside of Philadelphia
Age of deck: 10+ years? I moved into the house 4 years ago.
Wood: I hope it is pressure treated, but the guy before was really cheap.. not sure.
Size: 21' x 13'
Full sun, Zero shade, Faces south = UV a big concern!

Overall plan of attack:
Cleanup / Remove old electrical / Clean under deck
Repair any split posts/railings
Build trellis
Clean (stiff bristle) sodium per-carbonate product
Brightener - oxalic acid
Pressure wash
Sand (60-80-100 grit), palm sander for railing/trellis, vibrating plate sander for deck planks
Oil Stain: TWP-1500 applied with 4" China Bristle brush - solid color I think.

Questions for the Pros:

Horizontal Deck / Structure
1. The wood looks moldy/pitted. Are the deck planks in ok enough condition to just rework? Cupped deck planks, at the end, etc? These photos look worse than the deck actually is. These are probably the worst boards, but nothing seems to be outright "rotting."




2. Corner post holding up deck in 1 corner looks like it has slid 1/2" in all directions - is this ok? Do I need to replace /sister this to something else?



3. Do I need to replace the 4x4 posts? They all have a 1/4" cracks in them. Could I fill with putty and then just use my solid stain to cover? I am going to be attaching another 4x4 to each.





4. I am going to prebuild the trellis "frame" into a panel so that one side replaces the railing which is warped and cracked. (YELLOW) Then I will attach it to a new 4x4s (BLUE). I was thinking of using a 4x4 post so I can all caps to it. If I was to "sister" up another 4x4, what would be the best way to attach them (pre-drilled carriage bolts? Black wrought iron straps, Liquid nails and screws?



Anything else anyone wants to comment or ask, please do! Thanks so much. I cannot wait to tackle this deck.

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Old 04-21-2014, 11:34 PM   #2
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


From your picture, your deck boards are done. Lipstick on a pig to try to fix them at this point IMO. As for your posts under the deck, I'd get a clamp on the post and try to pull it inline with the framing, then use a simpson post bracket to attach it solidly in place. Though if it can move, it was never built right in the first place.

Your posts for the rails look like they are notched over the framing and don't actually extend to the piers to support the deck. If so, I'd remove them and rebuild your railing using taller posts. Build the privacy trellis right to the railing and sandwich it between your new posts.

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Old 04-22-2014, 01:32 AM   #3
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


try to contact the nearest contractor and they may help you.. there's a lot of contractor that you may check online.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:33 AM   #4
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Did you try a metal railing?
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:21 AM   #5
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


I agree with everything quagmire mentioned. Get under the deck and find out if you do or don't have preserved wood. Also let us know the size and spacing of your joists. This could turn into more than a rehab .
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:42 AM   #6
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


You stated that the previous owner was "Cheap", That deck shows it, From the unsound construction, to the lack of maintenance.

It is ready for the scrap pile, and needs more than the cosmetics you propose.
It might last a few more years as is, but you will not be happy, So I suggest that you Design yourself an entire new deck that will please you and yours.

Then tear this abhorition out and start over from scratch, with new from the foundation up.

ED
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:37 PM   #7
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


Thanks for the information everyone. It sounds like everything else with this house "replace it!" However, trying to keep budget in mind, maybe I could get a few more years out of this deck? If you could all keep posting, I can make that determination later.

As for the deck boards, if I look at them as a whole, I don't think they are as bad as they look in the photos. They are not "rotting" just slightly pitted and dirty. I think the photos make them look worse. If I walk across the deck, I don't feel like "this is going to fall apart."



The structure of the deck seems to be intact. The joists are solid and 16" on center. What concerns me is the footings for the deck. The two corner posts are sliding out from under the deck, and then there are only a total of 6 posts. There is also some type of a double post in the middle of the deck holding the thing up. The deck is attached to the house by what appears to be a 2x10, though I cannot see how it is physically attached to the house. Almost seems like there is a 1x6 behind it or something. Also, there is a double 2x10 along the far edge of the deck that rests on the 4x4s.





The second part of my project (after I just stained the deck, which is clearly not happening now) was to add a "lower" floating portion of the deck, maybe 1 step down to the floating part, then another down to the yard. Now I am wondering if I should just rip up all the planks, and extend the existing deck the other 17 feet into the back yard so it is 1 big deck. I like the idea of having it a different level so that I can separate out the areas, but maybe it is just easier to do the entire thing at once. More to come on that though, let's work with the existing deck please.



Also, just a rough, rough guess… what type of money am I looking at here? Could I pay someone to come set up the structure properly and then I could attach the planks and railings? Not sure what decks cost, but I know my siding was WAY more expensive than I thought it would be. I can handle any of it with the right information, just not sure I have the knowledge at this point to rebuild the deck, but I think if I reinforced the footings I could figure out how to attach the planks and railings and privacy trellis.

Thanks again for all of the help!
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:58 PM   #8
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


Look into a product called RUSTOLEUM DECK RESTORE, that is a temporary surface restorer that should last as long as the shoddy structure lasts.

As for the screening it can be built as a complete unit, then attached right on top of the existing railings.

ED
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by de-nagorg View Post
Look into a product called RUSTOLEUM DECK RESTORE, that is a temporary surface restorer that should last as long as the shoddy structure lasts.

As for the screening it can be built as a complete unit, then attached right on top of the existing railings.

ED
Thanks ED. I started out by researching those covering products. I didn't like the way they looked/felt and I thought I could get away with cleaning, sanding, staining my deck. That was before everyone pointed out how shoddy it is. If the structure is unsafe, I may consider ripping it out, but I am hesitant if I can get another few years out of it for now. Not sure where to go. Thanks for your advice though, I appreciate the feedback.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:52 PM   #10
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


Use a low power pressure washer to clean it well, High pressure will tear this weathered thing up.

Then dry a few days sand gently where needed, reset all fasteners , as for filling those cracked posts , it will fix nothing, they are going to continue splitting.
On the posts that are pulled away from the deck, they need to be dug out, reset solid, and reattached.

Seems that if I were going to do all this work anyway I just would re-build it to suit my needs more than the old owners cheap ways.

And that green stuff on some of the deck boards is mold ( lichens on a rock), and might be a little allergenic to youngsters and oldsters.

I do wish you GOOD LUCK with the make it do for now way though.

ED
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:01 PM   #11
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


I look at the pictures and I see so much wrong in the construction of this deck that I am surprised that it has lasted the 10 years that you said it has.

From posts set right on concrete, to notched posts in odd places, a strange support underneath the deck,( not the strangest I have seen though, once rebuilt one supported on big rocks).

Poor footings on some posts, the list goes on and on, but I ramble.

ED
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:17 PM   #12
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


since you're wanting to learn I'd recommend downloading this document and reviewing it.

http://www.awc.org/publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf

This is the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide published by the American Wood Council and is based upon the building code requirements of the 2009 International Residential Code.

It basically shows you how to design and built a deck that would meet the requirements of the building code. Even though it is called "prescriptive" it is in fact an engineered design by the AWC (at least that's what I was told in a webinar).

You can review the document and compare your deck to the details shown and determine what you need or want to correct.

good luck!
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:02 PM   #13
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I'll address a few points on the re finishing end.

The first thing is sanding the floor. Using a large pad sander is not going to work as well as your thinking. The unevenness of the boards is a problem, as well as the face nails. However you sand it (if you do) the nails will need to be countersunk a little. As soon as you sand over a nail head it will start to rust, not to mention tearing up the sand paper.

I have restored a few like that over the years and IMO you could get a few more years out of that floor. Low pressure washing has been mentioned and that's one approach.
Another approach, and what I have done in the past, is to go ahead and do a high pressure wash (after treating for mildew) as then sand the fuzz created by washing off of the boards.

I have sanded plenty of decks with a regular orbital sander and 60 grit paper. A few years ago I started using these and its three or four times faster than an orbital.

http://www.dewalt.com/tools/woodwork...dwe6401ds.aspx


They are really only appropriate if you plan on using a solid stain or going back over it with an orbital because they leave swirls in the wood that can be unsightly with semi trans stains.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:32 PM   #14
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


After speaking with the finance department - I am now on board with ripping out the existing deck. That changes my entire direction of course.

@GBrackins - thanks for that PDF. Really exactly the information that is needed. At first it was a bit overwhelming, but then I realized that all decks have a basic structure. Posts, beams, joists, decking, railing/balusters, steps.

Now I have to decide if I rebuild the deck myself, or if I hire help. I would honestly like someone to get me the posts and a square/level 4 sides and i could do the rest. I also want to build a "lower" deck that will be 1 step down.

Then I think about it, and I feel like I could do it myself (with a helper or 2). The current deck is attached to the house, but I am slightly nervous about how that is all set up and I am thinking about making a freestanding deck that just happens to connect to the house. That way it is at the same level as my current deck, just not structurally reliant on the house.

If I do a freestanding deck, I need to get the footings right. it seems like I need to go down about 36" to the frost line since I live near Philadelphia and it gets COLD here. My soil is terrible fill though (chunks of concrete and good old PA brownstone) so it is not very easy to dig down 36". But that seems like what I need to do, in concrete, maybe with a sampson brace. Then 6x6 posts holding up 2, 2x8 beams that are sitting on a notched 6x6 to which they are bolted. Then joists across the entire thing.

I don't know what the pro tips are for getting everything level. I almost want to buy a laser level that shots a beam 360 degrees. Haven't gotten that far. Also not sure if any of the existing structure is worth keeping. The decking may be shot, but the joists aren't in bad shape (I think).



The lower deck will be sitting on top of a concrete pad, though i don't know if I have to break this up for the footing. I almost think I have to, not sure.

Where would you guys go from here? If I am going to go the DIY route, I really need a better grip on the right tools and the tricks that are used to get the footings right, the posts right and everything square and level. I feel like that's the biggest part for me.

Last edited by OhmZoned; 04-26-2014 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:55 PM   #15
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Deck renovation Project - Advanced DIY'er Please Advise


A solid level Footings and structure is the first thing to be built.

Think "leaning tower", it was supposedly built on a weak base, and needs work often to keep it from toppling.

You could hire the footings and concrete work done, (probably your best option, since you say that you know not where to start).

Tear down first, see how sturdy the structure is first, then make the decision to D I Y , or have part done, or all done, for you.

ED

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