For the next week, Bower Power has turned into The Deck Diaries….chronicling our adventures in making our previously unused deck into a dreamy hangout space that is suitable for dining, hanging out and crawling babies! I shared the plans last week (click here to see!) and today we are gonna talk about adding a ton of wood to tackle my number one priority….SAFETY.
Last week I shared the styling plans for the space. It’s full of blues and greens and inexpensive alternatives that hopefully will add some personality.
Our adventure here began when I got to do my favorite thing in the world….blast off dirt! Seriously. When they come out with a pressure washer for human skin, I am buying it. I will be on the wait list. I’ll singlehandedly fund the Kickstarter….because my kids (and their fingernails and my facial pores) need that in our life. But for now, I’ll get my fix with deck-dirt-blasting. (click here for a time lapse video of the process….yes, I am slightly obsessed with time lapses)
So today I wanted to share with you how we replaced the upper part of the railing, added some ‘security wood’ to the outside of the balusters and then put in some wood to cover the risers on the steps to make them look more finished.
The upper part of the railing had different material than the rest of the deck. It had been like that since we moved in and was about as appealing as the thought of wearing a porcupine hide as underwear. The composite decking material is really great for some things….like an entire deck…but just the top rail just wasn’t frying our bacon if you know what I mean….and I think you do 🙂
Since it was nailed in, Jeremy gave it a couple good whacks with the hammer and worked from one end to the other. Eventually the entire piece came off and he was able to use them as templates to cut new 1×6’s from pressure treated wood to match the rest of the deck.
While we were at it, I removed the baskets because we definitely want to keep them for future use.
What we had left was the 6×6 posts, a upper railing and then the balusters.
I had Jeremy attach the new 1×6’s from underneath so that there was no screws showing on the top. I love the way they look now….it’s amazing how just replacing those made such a huge difference.
You can see here how the wood railings overlap the next one. I love how finished it looks with real wood rather than the composite stuff. And you can see Jeremy was adding the security wood. We added it everywhere except on the bottom of the long set of stairs because it made them look crazy.
So on the balusters attach to the joist on the bottom and then the upper railing on the top. Per code, they are fine but I wasn’t feeling comfortable with the safety or the look. So I asked Jeremy if he could add an additional 1×4 to the underside of the railing top and then also along the bottom of the balusters. Since Jeremy was attaching it with screws (vs. nails) into the 6×6 posts, my theory is that it will make the balusters just a little harder to bust out and also make the deck railing look more finished from the yard.
It wasn’t the easiest or fastest task. Jeremy had to climb the ladder and measure the distance between the 6×6 posts at the top and then the bottom, then climb down the ladder, cut the wood, add a screw to each side at an angle then climb up the ladder and attach each security wood piece.
It took him about three hours to replace just the composite wood (that’s basically all the DIY time we get in a day) and then about two more days to do the security rails and the steps. It wasn’t the quickest job in history but I think it was well worth the time investment. If the deck wasn’t safe, why would we bother decorating it?!
Plus, I do think it makes it look better. Dontcha think?
I think it makes the deck look like it wasn’t just any outdoor structure but really intentional and a step-up overall. It makes it look more finished and more expensive.
Moving right along. So here are our steps before. They were very typical deck steps with no riser and the edge of the step itself stuck out about an inch leaving us just enough room to add some risers.
This was super simple….all we had to do was measure the length of the 1×6 board needed and then rip them with the table saw to the right height. Jeremy used outdoor decking screws to fix them in place. Biggest bang for our buck right here.
Okay…so now that we reviewed all the wood we added, let’s cross some more stuff off our deck to-do list and feel extra productive….
DECK TO-DO LIST:
Remove all furniture Pressure wash Check the balusters and secure loose/remove broken Remove the railing top and replace with pressure treated wood Add ‘security wood’ on outside railing
- Build baby gate
Add risers to the stairs
- Build planters
- Build console table
- Make moss art
- Add in furniture/patio set
- ENJOY! (most important item!)
Now that I think about it, I should have itemized this list more….measure risers, cut risers, screw in risers….it would have given me more to cross off. And everyone knows that crossing stuff off the list is the funnest part of the project! Shoot. I should have added “cross off items on the list” onto the list. You know you do that too. Just admit it. I won’t judge 🙂
Next up….baby gate time!
Speaking of babies….today my first born turns the big high FIVE! I am so excited and sobbing at the thought of him growing up so freaking fast. Where did my little baby go?! I know it would mean so much to him if he knew folks from all over were wishing him a Happy Birthday! I gotta go wrap some presents!