If you’ve had a deck for more than a couple years, chances are it’ll need some work. After all, it spends 365 days a year exposed to the elements. Check out this collection of hints and tips for repairing and replacing deck parts, and adding some comfort, too.
1. Check Your Deck
While well-built decks will last for decades it’s a good idea to perform an annual inspection on the whole structure to ensure everything is safe and in top shape for your family and guests. Problems to look for are rotted or wobbly posts, weak post connections, properly-fastened ledger boards, and missing flasher ledging. Most wood deck repair tasks are inexpensive and you should be able to complete them yourself.
2. Install a Roof Under the Deck
If you have untapped space under your deck, you may be able to convert it into a dry, spacious second outdoor living area by building an under-deck roof that catches any water dripping through the deck boards and redirects it outside of the new patio area. Adding gutters, though optional, prevents the draining water from splashing onto the patio.
3. Build Your Dream Deck
A deck doesn’t need to be big in size to be big on features. We’ve got the plans for everything you’ve ever wanted in a deck: cantilevered seating nooks, a cedar pergola for shade, detailed horizontal railings, and cascading stairs, to name a few. It’s the perfect space to fire up the grill, read a book, enjoy breakfast, or set up a hammock for afternoon open-air naps. It’s a big project, but one that you could complete in about two weeks if you’ve got some carpentry skills and a buddy. We’ve mapped out all the steps you need to achieve this unique, dreamy outdoor space–get the plans here.
4. Shade Your Deck
You don’t have to let the blazing sun or drippy weather drive you indoors. This simple, covered pergola will keep you and your guests comfortable in any weather.
5. Railing-Mounted Deck Planter
In a little under an hour, you can make this simple railing-mounted planter. All you need is some standard gutter parts.
6. Enhance Decks with Lighting
Landscape lighting may seem like a complicated DIY project, but low-voltage lighting systems are actually a job any beginner can tackle. Low-voltage systems are much less dangerous than standard household wiring because the system relies on a transformer, which is plugged into a standard GFCI receptacle, to convert power from 120 volts down to 12 volts. The current travels through outdoor cables to supply power to the fixtures. And if you make your deck the focus, the extra visibility will even add a certain level of safety.
7. Refinish the Deck
When it comes to upgrading the overall look of your backyard, there’s no greater bang for your buck than to refinish your deck. Thorough prep is always the first step in any major ugly deck makeover project. Make sure to give the surface of the deck a good pressure wash and clean and remove any flaking deck stain. Then let the whole deck dry out thoroughly for several days. When your deck is ready for a new coat, select either a clear, solid, or penetrating stain. Penetrating stains will require more frequent coats in the future to stay looking new, but won’t need to be stripped off again like solid stains do. Just be sure to check the forecast and wait for a period of a few sunny days before you begin.
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