Sunday, June 13, 2010


The people who built this deck didn't think to use treated material, so it rotted. We haven't decided if we want to replace it with another deck, or maybe a patio. Patio seems more likely.

We started demolition yesterday. The parts of the boards closest to the house are the some of the most rotted. It is a low deck, so going to patio isn't as a big a deal as it might seem.

The boards are so rotted, we could step right through. It does make for an easier time pulling out the nails and screws on most boards. The joists are also quite rotted, so even where the boards are in good shape, the support is not.

The photo to the right shows where we patched with big blocks. The joists under that area are not in as bad shape. If we had put those blocks in the area pictured on the right, they probably would have gone right through.

The deck was also painted with an outdoor paint that really shouldn't be used for decks. We did repaint it a couple years ago, but it didn't really help. If we do put a new deck on, it will not be painted.
We decided to rip each board up individually and will save the ones that look salvagable. We are also saving every nasty, rusted, bent nail and screw and will bring them to Construction Junction, a building material reuse center here in Pittsburgh. They have a scrap metal bin that we hope will allow our bucket o' nails.

We worked for about four and a half hours, a bit in the morning and some in the evening when the sun wasn't beating down, and got half the floor boards up. I like using the bear claw and hammer to pull up the nails. Greg uses the cordless drill to pull up the screws. This is my first demolition project and I think I'm going to like the hand tools more than power tools.

Once we get the deck off, we will study the area and make a decision about whether we want another deck, or a patio. I like the idea of patio because it seems more cozy. Our back yard is steeply sloped, so with a patio we will sit lower and have less view of the development well behind us. The photo on the left shows how high the back yard is (and also the rather nasty water issue we have up there!) and I think a patio will make the back of the house less plain, too. That tall evergreen thing is going. I never liked that tree.

Posted by Bonnie Jeanne


jeannette (jtypeplus) said...

Great project to start's, more or less, wysiwyg.

I LOVE that you're salvaging boards and recycling the nails (Construction Junction is a great concept!)...if people doing renovations would do that more (I know--it's definitely tedious and adds time to a project), it would make a serious positive impact on the landfills.

I've always wanted to start a business collecting construction junk and reselling, but I'd want to do the collecting and not the reselling part...

Anyway, I love this renovate blog idea...can't wait to see what you're doing to that poor tree! (Make sure you plant something after you kill the poor thing...)
Jeannette (I don't think I logged in...)

NeverLikedThat (BJ) said...

That tree is mostly dead and will get new life as compost way up at the top of the hill.

I often thought of you doing something like Construction Junction. I wouldn't want to do the collecting ... I'd want to do the cataloging and selling. And I'd make up little stories for the bits of windows and doors and make those into blog posts and then a small book.

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome idea I can't wait to read more posts!

Malyss said...

I think a patio would be a great idea! it would enlarge your house. And imagine a lovely place with view on the outside, with a beautyful desk to write all your mail...

Shaunna said...

I follow your postcard blog and figured I would check out this one too. I have one for my home - it runs on the same lines, though it is very sporadic.

Tricia said...

Wow, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were one of my local friends - they have a very similar deck story!

I like the idea behind this blog. I hope you all finish up projects more rapidly than our family does!

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