After Hans and I removed the rotted old decking and built out the new shape of the deck, it was time to install new boards. The roofed portion abuts the back door, a critical spot for moisture protection. We’d managed to pry out the old decking board from the wall without destroying the metal flashing, and we used a flat bar to cram the first new board into the same space. The flashing directs water down the siding and onto the deck, where otherwise it could flow back and get trapped inside the wall.


The first course of new decking slides into the existing flashing.

Our new decking was 1¼-inch-thick untreated pine. We didn’t use pressure-treated lumber because the sawdust is a bit toxic and because this was a budget job; the homeowners will stain the wood later to seal it from the elements. Hans cut lengths to stagger the joints and did a nice job minimizing waste. I mostly stayed on deck and screwed ‘em down.

As we approached the step down and again as we approached the new joists, we started to measure the distance remaining. Our goal was to reach the edge with a full-width decking board, running straight. We tweaked the spaces between boards and finished perfectly on the upper deck. I’m bummed about the lower deck where we finished a hair short, but it looks OK.


Hans cuts new decking to vary the joint location and minimize waste.

The last day was a scramble to finish lots of decking accessories. We built railings from scratch – 18 feet for the new squared-off lower deck plus two 4-foot lengths to create some intimacy on the upper deck (and highlight the step down). We replaced the top rail on all existing railings, cutting rounded ends with a jigsaw to match the shape of the old pieces we scrapped. We leveled the stairs on both sides and screwed new treads on top for equal-height risers. We scribed and cut little pieces of decking to fit around posts where we’d skipped earlier. And we cleaned up as many nails, screws, and wood scraps as we could find.


New railing at the step-down.

A few finishing touches on Saturday morning and the job was done in one week, with plenty of time to spare before the bridal shower.


Isn’t she lovely!

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