When I bought my house, I had a home inspection report that recommended replacing the boards on my deck. However, as a new homeowner, the last thing I wanted to do was fix an old deck. Instead, I wanted to buy new furniture, remodel my kitchen, and buy updated appliances. So, I decided to leave “fixing the deck” for another time.
However, over the course of a year, I started to notice my deck really starting to deteriorate. I was finding old paint chips flying into my yard and garden. A few boards started to come off of the foundation. Then, worst of all, I almost stepped on a rusty nail coming out of old rotted boards.
Enough was enough! I was finally ready for an upgrade.
I got a quote from a local contractor that gave me an estimate of around $1900 which included parts and labor. There was a part of me that said, “just pay the guy, and enjoy some time indoors.” Yet, another part of me was saying, “you can do this on your own! Save money, do a project, and feel a sense of pride for your work!”
While the idea of renovating a deck as a “DIY Project” might seem overwhelming, it was actually quite manageable. I paid substantially less (scroll to the end to see exactly how much) than I was quoted.
The entire project took me roughly two days to complete (it can be done in one, but the summer heat was too much for me to handle). With a few simple tricks and tips, you can transform your old deck into an “All Decked Out” deck in the matter of a few days!
For this project I decided to update all the boards on the deck without messing with the foundation. I also decided to leave my railings as-is, but gave it a nice new coat of paint. Usually, an old weathered deck still has a strong foundation, as water takes a lot longer to take its destruction to the structural elements of the deck.
However, if you realize your structural integrity has been compromised, then you might want to replace the entire deck.
Since I was not updating my railings, I started by sanding the exterior of the deck.
To ensure that you do not damage the wood on your deck, use a 60-150 grit sandpaper. Sand down all parts of the railings, and exterior of your deck. Since the floor of the deck will be replaced, you do not need to sand it. Make sure you wear a mask and goggles for this part!
After the wood is sanded down, you should paint your exterior. Make sure you have an exterior paint or stain that is either one coat, or has a primer and stain in one (it will save you a lot of time and energy).
I did not have to worry about paint falling on the deck boards below, as I was going to end up replacing them. You will also appreciate painting the railings first, because it will be dry by the time you have the floor boards removed! So, if you need to, you will be able to touch up parts of the deck later on!
After you have painted the exterior of your deck, along with the railings, you can now remove your floor boards.
You will need gloves, a pry bar, goggles, and durable shoes! I realized that the boards were quite difficult to remove, as many of the nails were rusted and broken within the boards. Please wear durable and strong shoes as you might find nails in places that you did not expect!
Once you have removed all of the boards, you will have a good understanding of the durability of your old deck.
Some people may also choose to go one board at a time (ie: remove one and add one). If you do decide to remove your boards and install them one by one, then please take this major recommendation:
Start by removing boards closest to your home, and move towards the exterior of the deck. I made the mistake of starting from the end of my deck and moved towards my home. Then, at the last moment, I realized that my boards were not spaced properly. Avoid the huge headache of having to resize your last board, and do not start from the base of your home.
However, if you start at your home, you will have no problems with spacing, as your last board will have no barriers blocking it!
When you have removed all of the boards on your deck, it is now time to add your new boards! As mentioned above, please start adding boards from your home and move outwards.
I also highly recommend using decking screws, and an impact driver as it will save you a lot of time and effort. Make sure you also know where the slats are below the board you are installing, so that you drill through both. I screwed in about 10 decking screws per board, as I wanted a really stable foundation, but you can adapt your required tools based on your size and space.
Also note, that I had to use two six foot boards for my deck to make up the 12-foot length that I had to cover. If I could go back in time, I would recommend saving time/effort and renting a truck. However, if you have a strict budget like I did, or if you need to use multiple boards, then you may need to add a center brace.
The process of adding a section to your deck for added stability is called Deck Blocking or Bridging. You may not need to add a brace, but if you run into the same problem as me, it can come as an affordable and quick solution. The deck bridge can also help prevent warping!
I was going for a hardy dark brown deck, so I used a weather resistant fast drying paint. If you want to play it safe, then I would recommend adding some painters tape to the edges of your deck, so the paint doesn’t get anywhere you do not want it to.
I also recommend using a paint instead of a stain for your floor boards. However, you can use a stain for the railings/exterior. Paint lasts a lot longer and is easier to maintain.
While I used a one coat paint, I still needed to re-apply another coat a few hours later. You may also need a thin paint brush along with a roller, to get to corners or hard to reach spaces.
After your paint is completely dry, you can add variety by painting your stairs to add a nice accent. I decided to paint the back of my stairs to add some consistency and uniformity to other areas of the deck.
Bohemian Style has become quite popular lately, so I decided I wanted my decor to have eclectic designs and colors. I live in a coastal state, so I was thinking about using blue and white to create a nautical theme.
However, my entire living room is a blue theme, so I wanted to change it up. I decided to use a wall art from my living room as an inspiration piece to decide how I was going to design my exterior. You can use inspiration pieces as a way to tie the indoors with your outdoors in a way that brings consistency and creativity to your entire home.
I went with bright red designs to tie in the subtle red designs of the inside of my home to the outside. This included outdoor pillows, a red outdoor umbrella, and a cushion to sit on! I was pleased with the end result!
By doing this project on my own, I saved myself a lot of money, learned a new skill, and increased the life of my deck.
The next day it also happened to rain, and I could see the rain drops pooling on the deck, which was a major sign of success! My deck was effectively weather resistant!
If you liked this project or have any questions, thoughts or suggestions– please comment below!