Deck improvements

17 01 2015

We’ve been living at this house for just over a year. Something I needed to do soon after we move in was to stain the deck which was completely untreated. However there are two problems with the deck that will require it to be re-laid.

Picture of deck before work

The deck before remedial work begins.

  • The warm sunlight (the deck faces NW) of New Zealand has caused all the boards to shrink and there is now a 7-8mm gap between each board.
  • A heavy concrete garden table sits  at this end of the deck (where the camera is), and its weight has caused the deck to dip slightly which you can see by the lopsided puddling on the table top when it rains.

The strategy is to, from the side of the house outwards, creating a gap of about 4 boards to give room to manoeuvre, and then re-fix one row of board, this time with screws instead of nails.

Four boards out to create room to manoeuvre.

Four boards out to create room to manoeuvre.

The approach is partly defeated by two issues:

  1. The butt joints of boards in a single row are an angled overlap with the boards at the house end being the upper boards. Access to lift the first boards against the house is poor.
  2. The supporting framework at the end furthest from the house has to be re-levelled before boards can be re-laid. In fact at the end closest to the camera the entire width of boards will have to removed.

A numbering system is required to facilitate fitting the boards back together again. I named rows ‘A’ to ‘R’ as I lifted them right to left, and within a row boards were numbered ‘1’ to ‘6’ as they got closer to the house.

Board showing its unique number.

A numbering system is required.


Each board was marked on the underside in chalk, and I tried to stack them in such a way that I could re-lay those that I had least recently lifted.
I show some of the tools used in the picture to the right. As time went on I found I could use the claw-hammer as a sort of wrecking bar and managed to lift entire lengths of board using just the hammer.
Demonstrating improved nail extraction

Adding padding under the claw-hammer to improve leverage on long nails.


As an aside. When a nail is already pulled most of the way out of a board it can be almost impossible to use the lever of the claw-hammer to finish the job. Any hard padding (like a block of wood) can act as a base of the hammer reducing the relative length of the nail and improving leverage.
Rain stopped play.

Rain stopped play.


Needless to say it started to rain about 2 hours after I started.
(To be continued.)

Leftover nails from previous deck

A lazy deck constructor?

Getting there

Getting there

Looking back on a day's work

Looking back on a day’s work

The problem with the supporting piles

The problem with the supporting piles

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