In the four years that we have lived in our house, we have used the deck maybe four times. That’s just plain sad.
But for good reason….I called it the death trap because at night I would have visions of the kids running into the balusters and falling off the deck, plunging to their demise….or at least a broken neck. This thing terrified me. And yes, I tend to have dramatic flair. But in reality, there were about seven balusters that were completely hanging by part of one nail…which left a gap that a kid of Weston’s size could fit through. And it didn’t take much imagination to believe that Will could bust other balusters out and fall through them during a wrestling fight. Not to mention that there were two balusters that were completely broken, the deck boards were worn and left splinters in everyone’s feet (me and the kids are barefoot people) and then it was just plain ugly and dirty. All my friends make fun of me because when the husbands would have ‘basketball saturdays’, I was the paranoid mama making sure none of the littles were running toward the deck steps.
When my sister got married at our house, we had pressured washed this deck and put up some pretty deck ledge planters but I had stuck by my guns and asked that nobody besides Nornie (she walked down from the deck during the ceremony) was allowed up there just simply because I was scared that some little kid would follow their mommy and fall off. Structurally it is completely sound and we even double checked the flashing (you can see where we pulled down the first layer beneath the double doors) because we heard of scary stories where the flashing had not been installed correctly and then the whole deck collapsed. So our biggest problem safety-wise was the railing.
Years ago we had talked about just replacing everything….decking, rails, stairs, the whole shebang….but honestly, that is a big expensive job and one that we just can’t afford right now with a baby on the way. Then we talked about maybe taking some of the worst decking boards off and flipping them….but when we did some closer inspection, 95% of them were worn and only a few were warped and we decided to not make a mountain out of a molehill. Jeremy thought that if we put in some extra screws, it might pull everything into place and with the exception of two boards, he was right.
So why couldn’t we just stick to the patio underneath this deck? Well, that is now more of a shared outdoor space with the folks that are staying in the basement and as much as we love to share, it seemed a little invasive of their space. There are windows right next to the table down there that look into their main living room….so in the effort of allowing them some privacy, we decided it was probably better for us to be in a separate area….and this was the perfect spot to give a makeover.
So what are the plans exactly?
Well, I am so glad you asked. First, we need to make it safe. That means a baby gate on the top so that we can keep all these boys corralled. Then we need to fix and/or replace and secure every single baluster. That’s a big job because it means that Jeremy will be on a ladder. yikes. a lot. Then we want to add some wood to sandwich the balusters in place….I did a lot of research and no, it is not necessary….but that doesn’t matter….I am a mom of rough boys and I want them to be safe and secure so I win over deck safety recommendations.
We also have this weird top railing situation….it’s that non wood decking boards. I know. It confused us too. But it has got to go. And we want to replace it with just regular exterior wood. Since we will be adding wood top railings, a baby gate and wood ‘security’ boards, I convinced Jeremy to also add some boards to the stairs to make it look like it has finished risers. That should help the over aesthetic of the stairs.
Then once all the wood is added….it becomes a BIG job….pressure washing, sanding, and staining.
That might sound like four little words but seriously…..it equals like a months worth of work.
Home Depot came to us after we had started on the project and asked if we were interested in participating in the Home Depot Patio Style Challenge where we would take our deck and make it into a stylish and livable space. I could not scream YES into my computer fast enough. I knew that this would be just the motivation I needed to get the deck finished. I tend to struggle with finishing things. Laundry room….I’m so sorry.
So after I post about our deck fixing process, I hope to share with you a pretty space that is fun for our whole family. Here’s what I have in the ole idea bank….
As a thank you for participating in the challenge, Home Depot provides a patio set so we got to go shopping on their site and I went IMMEDIATELY to the Cane Crossing collection. I wanted a darker rug that was really versatile so I talked Jeremy into a dark brown trellis rug and I think it will sort of blend slash disappear into the dark stain that we are putting on the deck boards but still add a little extra cush for my toes. Then I asked Jeremy to build me a couple tall planters (he is working on them this weekend and they are looking amazing so far. I am so impressed that I can show him a photo and he figures it all out. Oh and spoiler alert…these planters cost us like $20. Not a joke. You will be in awe.) I also want to do some mossy vertical art piece….it will be free-ish and easy….my kinda project. I found some fabrics at a discount place so I plan to sew the little pillows for the patio set and then I found an elephant at the thrift store that I need to spray paint . Overall….it should be very eclectic and cool and comfortable place to chill in the afternoons with my babes.
Just prepare yourselves because next week will be deck week! There is still a ton to do, so I better go start sewing those pillows. Wish me luck and long naps!!!
p.s. if you are interested in wasting some time looking at beautiful deck projects, go check out the Home Depot blog….they have already started posting fellow Patio Style Challenge participants and their finished outdoor spaces are looking AMAZING. Happy weekend!
Do you have any plans (or need) for some shade?
It looks like it will be an awesome outdoor space. I love very detail. I just don’t know how you do all of this??? Even not being pregnant and not having three boys underfoot would be challenging to do this……. but then there is Katie, who somehow masters it all. And I know you will have all the perfect Easter arrangements, table settings, Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets, etc. And most importantly, you will celebrate our Lord and Savior. God bless you and your precious family. Happy Easter!
You’re so lucky that your deck solution, while long and drawn out, is a relatively easy fix. We bought our home a year and a half ago knowing full well that the deck would eventually need to be rebuilt. It is a total death trap. I won’t let my girls anywhere near it. We let the dog out on it and even that makes me nervous. We got a quote that it would cost us $25K to have it rebuilt. Talk about crazy expensive! Maybe next year we will be able to actually get to it. I wish we could afford to get to it this year. Every single season that goes by I see the wood rotting more and see more potential problems… It just makes me more and more nervous.
Looks like so much fun! (And so much work!) Question about your stairs – you mentioned that Jeremy is going to add boards to them to make them look more finished. Are they open stairs right now? If so, I hope you give details on how you close them off! We have an open staircase in our basement, and I want to add boards to the backs, but I keep getting mixed messages when I do Internet research about how easy/difficult that might be. Excited to see how your deck looks in the end!
Robin @ www.designbyrobinsnest.blogspot.com says
As a Mom of boys, I full understand your safety concerns! Stick to your guns as Mom’s know best.
I can’t wait to see it finished! I love the direction you are going with this space. That patio set is gorgeous!
Wendy from OldLakeGeorge.com says
Those top railings are from a trek deck(?) system like we had on the deck of a previous house. You never have to stain and there were no splinters. It is a maintenance free deck. HOWEVER, Why they put them on top of a wood deck? I agree, they have to go.
Looking forward to seeing you finished project.
Woohoo! Looking forward to the planter reveal/tutorial!
Deck makeovers are a lot of work, but so worth it! For our last deck, we created standalone sections of railing/ballusters. This allowed us to work on the ground, and then just install each section. Might be something worth thinking about for y’all, especially since it’s an elevated deck and you’ll be working from a ladder.
Allison Cooley says
We built our house about a year ago and we put a ledger board across the entire back of our house for a deck for when we finally decided to build a deck. I am not looking forward to how much that will cost us! Decks are expensive especially if you want to do anything fancy to them!
You mention that you want to use dark stain. Please make sure you don’t make it too dark because it will heat the deck boards up like crazy in the hot sun and makes it impossible to walk on barefoot. We used only a medium brown, but it is still too hot to walk on in summer.
Also, use only a light penetrating again, not that opaque deck paint. The previous owners used deck paint and it flakes off and has to be repainted every year.
Ahhh! Can’t wait to see the final reveal on this project. 🙂 I love all your plans.
We put on the semi-transparent and although it is really dark, it is the side of the house that receives the most shade so I think we should be ok. We tend to only go on the deck in the late afternoon when the boys wake up from their naps and then Will gets home from school so late snack and dinner are planned for this space and by then, it should be more ‘foot friendly’…but we shall see! I’ll keep ya posted 🙂
xo – kb
They have open backs if that makes sense. You can see a sneak peek on my Instagram if you are more visual 🙂
xo – kb
This is our shady side of the house (by the afternoon, the house blocks the sun to the deck) so I am thinking none right now but in the future, Jeremy has always wanted a pergola so that might happen in the next few years.
xo – kb
Wow…that’s crazy expensive…and I hear ya…it’s a nerve-killer. I hope that maybe you can find someone who is willing to do it cheaper or barter with ya!
xo – kb
We are working on our deck, too! Not quite at your impressive speed — but it is happening this year. My FIL suggested we turn our railings around so they face the deck. Can’t wait to see this reveal!
Lauren B says
So timely! I can’t wait to see these posts. We moved at the end of this past summer and our upper deck (it’s multi-level) is in terrible shape. Unfortunately, I’ve never done deck work before, so it’s all new to me. The decorations look great, but I can’t wait for the meaty DIYs. 🙂
Design Chic says
It’s going to look amazing and what a fantastic space! Can hardly wait to see the planters!!
This is a big project but totally worth it! Can’t wait to see the finished result and follow the process
Love the plans you have made for this space. Can’t wait to see it all come together.
Not to add to fear factor, but do you get worried about them climbing on chairs and then climbing on top of the rails? That is my weird fear with our boy (2) now…he seems so drawn to getting on top of the tallest parts of anything! Perhaps you do not have ridiculous climbers…Best wishes with the makeover!
I did with our old furniture for sure. I get nervous just watching them look out between the rails!
xo – kb
I think what you are referring to are the risers. Currently you have treads but not risers. We installed risers on our deck stairs and it looks so much better.
What did I say? Did I say treads? Or risers? I definitely meant that we are adding risers.
xo – kb
We had a similar deck with those crazy small, numerous balusters. “Luckily” they became infested with carpenter bees so we were forced to replace them with fake wood. I can’t tell you how happy I am to not have to stain each one of those balusters. So, I’m feeling your pain when it comes to that step.
Beth Ann says
Please say that deck week also includes a tutorial on how to build the planters? I showed my husband a similar picture a few weeks ago that I would like for our yard, but I think a tutorial would be helpful (plus maybe I can tackle it myself :)).
Awesome- I think it will be really nice for you to have that extra outdoor space! We’ve got a deck that needs a lot of work too, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with yours!! Thanks for sharing, Katie!
I hope there will be a writeup on the planter boxes… those are exactly the shape I’ve been looking for but all the ones I’ve found are like $80 each. Yuck. I can’t wait to see what you do with the space. Our deck could use some inspiration!
We just finished them this weekend and should have a post up this week!
xo – kb
We just finished these this yesterday so hopefully within the next week I will have a tutorial!
xo – kb