SO. This past weekend when I should have been walking in Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5K, I was engaged in another form of exercise instead. Significantly less scenic, exceedingly expensive and 100% NOT FUN.
Saturday afternoon my husband fell through a hole on our back deck. I did not photograph my husband in the hole, opting instead to help him out. But here’s the aftermath. (He’s okay by the way.)
We bought our house in August 2009. Within a week we already had two sizable holes in the deck and it’s only gotten worse. The paint started flaking after our first mild winter, bits of wood began breaking off and it was only a matter of time before one of us fell through. Our solution until now had been covering the largest holes with (ugly) plywood and doormats. A little strange seeing a back porch littered with doormats, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
We’d put off a porch replacement hoping to afford composite decking and elaborate plans, but Saturday arrived and the deck had to go. This forced aspect of the project (i.e., psychological and financial unpreparedness) meant we were going to have to do this as quickly and cheaply as possible. So in typical DIY fashion, my husband and I spent Saturday tearing the old porch down ourselves.
Here’s what it looked like when we started:
You can see a few of the larger holes. The benches at the rear and side had to be dismantled before we could pry up the rotten floor boards. But when we took the benches off, we discovered the situation was far worse than expected.
The left corner abutting the house had been pooling water, and without any place to go the water had simply been soaking, molding and rotting the wood.
How long had this been going on?!! No idea, but the shed attached to the side of the porch also suffered a similar fate. Between water saturation and insect infestation, it had the look of a Butterfinger candy bar, but none of the appeal..
The one gleaming ray of light? The deck extended away from the house in the worst section, so the damage – although extensive and irreparable – did NOT touch the house itself!! HALLELUJAH!!
If you’re wondering what all that other crap is (buckets, etc.) my daughters favorite game is “mouse house adventures.” Code language for dragging every piece of recycling from the bins, filling them with swamp water, sand and mud, and then leaving them throughout the yard where they have a tendency (in our Maine climate) to freeze solid to the ground. Adding just the right *touch*
Up next? Removing the floor boards, most of which flaked like toothpicks or oozed water. YAY!
Once all the boards were up, it was onto nail removal!! B/c of the water leakage, the nails were universally rusty and quite difficult to extract, especially when their rusty heads crumbled or snapped off completely..
Once the nails were up, we cleaned off the wood frame. The rotten boards on the one side had to be removed completed, and the remaining end piece rebraced. We sprayed the new cuts with waterproofer. Here’s what it looked like afterward.
We lined the top of the frame with Protecto Wrap rather than paper or felt. Such a great product! It’s sticky waterproof tape, really, with a removable backing. Easy to cut and install. Love it.
Finally it was onto board installation. We wanted composite, we could afford pressure treated, and so it goes..
Apart from running out of deck screws and having to make a second Home Depot run (of course) it was smooth sailing. We wanted to cut the end of the deck and install the privacy wall right away. But being springtime in Maine, our ground is still frozen solid and the rest of the project is on hold until thaw. Stay tuned for the finished deck post. Hopefully some time soon.