(This post originally appeared on BlogHer.com. And look, I made a Pinterest-y thing!)
Because I'm not like a professional blogger or anything, I forgot to take rock-solid "before" pictures, so some parts of the deck are already removed here.
In recent years, we realized the deck was getting seriously squishy. As in, someone might actually fall through soon.
We started scheming for affordable ways to replace the deck, because our taste is never in line with our budget reality. Then my father pointed out he had a pile of wood from what used to be a corncrib. He is unusual in that he also has a huge shed and a planer. Handy and unusual.
Last fall, we traveled to Iowa and spent a day planing down the wood. It is cedar and even though the boards were over sixty years old, they planed down really nicely.
After the old, gray, weather-beaten wood goes through the planer, a layer of wood is removed to reveal the beautiful wood underneath. Just like exfoliating! Magic!
Around early May this year, we rented a trailer, drove back to Iowa, and picked them up. We stuck them all in our garage and started ripping off the old deck. I highly recommend investing in one of these should you try to destroy anything as large as a deck, ever.
We rented a dumpster for one weekend, which meant it all had to come up, even though it was raining. Fun!
Once the deck boards were up and the railings and pergola was down, we realized the joists had not been supported with joist hangers and really we could use about twice as many. The boards had been attached with nails, not screws, so all those nails had to be pulled out or cut off, as well.
Pulling up, cutting off or pounding down thousands of nails was one of my least favorite parts of this project. Oddly, I found drilling holes and hanging joists very satisfying.
We added new joists in between all the old joists and added new joist hangers everywhere.
Then it was time to put the old corncrib deck boards back on top. We combined them with a few new boards, but luckily we had enough to make the floor almost completely upcycled.
Next, we installed the posts and built the pergola. It was hard.
Then we stained everything.
Finally, we added some of the more fun touches -- a vintage washtub we converted into a cooler, a Tiki Toss game, our shells from Florida, some new pillows, fake copper post caps with solar LED lights.
This project turned out to be far from free -- deck hardware and pergola boards are expensive -- but because my husband and I did all the work ourselves, we saved thousands of dollars in labor costs. And we both lost weight. So there's that. But we gained it all back by grilling and throwing back cocktails on our new deck!
To see more of our home improvement projects, see The Transformation of Chateau Travolta on Surrender, Dorothy.