DIY Deck Upgrade

PSA: If you are not familiar comfortable with any power tools at all, I don’t recommend taking on a project like this.

This spring I put a railing around our pool.  We moved into this house last fall and the previous owners didn’t have a railing up.  We knew that with three little ones, that was a priority.  So this spring before the pool was open, I went Pinterest crazy looking for deck railings I could do myself.  I found tons of cool ideas, but this simple horizontal railing looked great and seemed pretty easy!

I was super excited that I had gotten it done.  I had some help from my hubs and little brothers.  🙂  I thought it looked great…and it did, but it made the rest of the deck look way worse.  So this summer I stewed about what to do.  Finally, I ripped off all of the existing railing that was up, which was very easy because it was just about falling down anyway, and measured my space.  I also had a couple of step areas that needed to be replaced.

I headed to my favorite place for my DIY projects, Barnes Lumber, who helped with my pool deck railing as well.  Greeted with a smile, I began to explain to them what I was doing.  That’s when they tell me what I need.  They have a way of interpreting all of my projects and always get me exactly what I need.  It was all delivered and that evening I started what I thought would be a very easy half day project.  It didn’t take long to see that what was there needed completely replaced.  *SIGH*  I immediately started demo day!

The next morning, I went back to the lumber yard with pictures.  Thankfully, we found a way that I didn’t have to completely replace the framing and joists.  I was able to add in some additional supports that would accommodate what I wanted to do.

Fast forward a few hours (keep in mind, I’m doing all of this with two, sometimes three kids at home and having to take lots of breaks for feedings and getting them down for naps and quiet time and breaking up fights) I was able to really get going.  I replaced several posts, added in lots of additional supports, and replaced steps.

I’m not making a super detailed step-by-step on this one because I would still be writing tomorrow.  I will give you these tips though…

  1. Demo your deck.
  2. Measure EVERYTHING you are wanting to replace.  If you don’t, you’ll end up at the lumber yard every day needing something else.  This will also delay the completion of your project.
  3. Ask for extra lumber if they don’t ask you if you need it first.  You will mess up at some point and you’ll need it.
  4. Get all the tools out that you will need for the job (that day if it’s a multiple day project).  Make sure you have enough screws over a holiday weekend when places aren’t open – speaking from experience here.
  5. Make sure your blades on your saws are sharp.  I used a circular saw and a reciprocating saw.  I really could’ve used a jig saw, but I made do with the reciprocating saw.  I never thought to check this before and have really gotten to notice that this can make a huge difference.  Yes, I know that’s a rookie move, but I never thought about it before.
  6. For the deck boards, I had 10 footers and 8 footers.  I rotated them so I wouldn’t have every deck board ending at the same place.  This made it look so much better.  I placed one and secured it with screws then went to the next one.  Since it was treated lumber, I butted them right up next to each other because in time they will shrink.  Make sure you get these as straight as possible so you don’t end up crooked at the end.
  7. Once you get to a place where you have to begin cutting, I recommend measuring everything then cutting.  It saves a little time rather than going back and forth to the saw.
  8. Give everything a good walk through to make sure it’s good and secured before you have you little ones or guests walking on it.
  9. Measure and cut for your railings.
  10. Screw in and give them a good lean on to make sure they hold you 😉
  11. Put all of your tools away and make sure you do a good look over for extra nails/screws anything that you pulled out or may have dropped during the project.  The last thing you want is enjoying your deck and step on a nail!
  12. ENJOY!!!

I eventually got all of my deck boards replaced, new steps added (still need to add the railing on both set of steps), and the rest of the railings put up JUST in time for two of my girls’ birthday parties.  I was definitely down to crunch time.

Now next spring’s project is to come up with something to cover up under the deck.  One project at a time is all the bank account can handle!

3 thoughts on “DIY Deck Upgrade

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