Let’s have a round of applause for rising temperatures and the arrival of spring!
We christened the deck with grilled burgers and a delicious dinner – which brings to mind that I haven’t posted on the deck in a while. Last I left of it looked like this:
This project was a big undertaking. Normally, laying down decking can be finished in a weekend. True to form, we decided to choose the most complicated way all for the sake of aesthetics.
We worked for many weekends until, literally, the snowfall stopped us – so there was never a chance to take an “after” picture until now.
This is not a tutorial post – there are way too many steps and I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It all started with the proper tools, as many projects do. We used the Kreg Deck Jig. The tool comes with a DVD on how to use it. Basically, it’s a tool that guides the angle of the drill to create the look of invisible screws.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
We purchased Veranda composite decking from Home Depot in Nantucket Gray. Composite decking is more expensive than wood, but more durable, less maintenance (no sealing needed!) and will save money over time.
It should be noted that the color will fade within the first year, so you should make sure you like the color it fades to.
And also be prepared for all your grass in the front yard to die. 😉
The composite boards are heavy. So heavy that you need two people to lift it – otherwise it may crack in the middle due to the weight. We put down plywood boards as we worked our way across the deck, as our deck is one story off of the ground. I did not like walking across those rickety boards – that’s for sure.
The Kreg Deck Jig
The Kreg Deck Jig process was time-consuming, but fairly straight-forward once you got the hang of it. As I said before, this is not a tutorial, but merely a brief overview if you are interested in DIYing your deck.
The spacers are very helpful. they show you how far to space the boards for expansion and drainage. But most importantly, they keep the boards parallel to one another at equal distances. If you start to get crooked, you’ll notice and it’s not a good thing.
The spacers shown above are 1/4″, Kreg also includes 5/16″ for pressure treated wood since it expands more than composite. The kit (as shown above) only comes with 3 red spacers (1/4″ ) and 3 blue spacers. (5/16″). Three spacers won’t get you very far on 16 foot runs, so we bought a dozen extra spacers from Amazon. I highly recommend buying yourself some more spacers.
Here is the handy blue box! Your new best friend! The Kreg Deck Jig.
Centered over every joist, you will pre-drill and drill a screw into each joist, on both sides of the board.
My job was pre-drilling the holes. The drill can be set to a certain depth, so it’s easy and there are no questions asked. If this girl can do it, anyone can. (Although I admit, I was nervous at first. I only made a mistake once!)
Using our feet and hands, we pushed the deck board in towards the spacers as well as we could, especially when setting the first several screws in. You’ll want to make sure it’s tight to the spacers to ensure a straight line.
The deck boards took us quite a number of weekends. In all honesty – it took up at least a month of our weekends. But DIYing the deck saved us a pretty penny, and it was actually fun.
- It’s helpful to have two drills. Since you are constantly pre-drilling and drilling, you having to swap out the bit every time would be painful and slow you down a lot.
- Use an impact driver as the drill for driving the screw. You will have a lot more control and no stripping of the screws.
- Buy an extra kreg drill bit and extra driver.
Once we finished the decking (yahoo!!), we moved on to the railings.
The railings were pretty straightforward. We used the Veranda ArmorGuard Composite Railing in white. The post jacket will slide right over the wooden post.
Next we needed to decide how high we wanted our railing to be. Each town or county may have legal requirements on the height – especially if you are not on ground level like ours is.
There are a number of railing specifications we needed to decide on:
- How high do we want the handrail?
- How much taller than the top railing do we want the post cap to sit?
- How much space do we want between the bottom rail and the decking?
We made our decisions 50% on personal preference, and 50% based on standard measurements provided from a quick Google search. After we measured and marked – on both the wooden post and the post jacket, it was time to slice away!
As always, measure twice, cut once.
(Notice our lovely yard from the pipe and excavation adventure we had last fall.)
Next we attached the lower railings (with brackets) and cut the bottom middle spacer.
The nice part about these railings is that the balusters were pre-cut and spaced, so we only needed to pop the balusters right in! Next we attached the handrail to the post with the brackets.
Well lookie here, the light is at the end of the tunnel!
We still have a bit of work left to do. All the trim boards (which will be white) need to be attached. And, you may have noticed that we have no back staircase yet!
Soon we will have a concrete based poured (at the base of the patio) and then the structure can be built. Our GC will come back and build the structure, and we will do all the finishing work.
And about that patio….
Well, that’s just another story for another day.
I’m in the market for some type of deck furniture to store my potted herbs on. What do you keep on your deck?