What would you do with this deck?

19 Replies

Hard to believe this is actually the first time I've started a forum on BP! Because I greatly value the knowledge and opinions of many of you whom I've already met in this community, I'm asking for your quick opinion on this deck (not an investment property; it's mine!).

My wife is of the opinion that we need to rip it out and start from scratch, either building a new one or a patio. I believe it is structurally sound and think that may be unnecessary. Please give me your thoughts and thanks in advance...

This is your residence?  What's the issue with it as is?  Would a good pressure washing and new stain resolve the issues?  If the situation is that your sweetie just doesn't like this deck, then it should go away.  It looks OK to me, but that's irrelevant if she doesn't like it.

@Jonathan K.  

I'm with your wife. Start from scratch. That old deck doesn't match the freshness of the house. Looks like a really nice piece of property.

@Jon Holdman   Yes, it's our residence. It's a bit worn-looking at the moment, mainly due to our own neglect. I'm leaning towards trying the power washing & stain option to save the money for more important things....we're looking at doing a kitchen remodel in the next few months that will keep the "sweetie" more than happy. Thanks for your help.

As I look at the back of the house through the deck, I would create a center entry point with new landing and patio to the back door. Give it a little character such as a semi circle to the expanded patio. Create some corner framed posts wide enough for some pots with flower accents, draping sweep pea vines are always great. Pull back the benches to just the corners with a table centered in each corner to create conversation and seating areas. Add some detailed to your railings so they match your house and you should be good to go.

Nothing wrong with the deck, if you like the style.  As Jon says, pressure wash it and stain it.

If you don't like the style (I don't, especially) you can probably still save the joist system and just re-deck it.  personally I would probably remove the railing and deck it with cedar.  It doesn't look far from the ground.

Remove the railings and decking but leave the structural parts. Run some new decking that is at an angle compared to the house. Like others have said, rebuild the steps and add some new posts and railings. Stain it a color that your wife likes. 

It depends on whether or not you wish to remain married. If yes, then I'm not sure why you are asking.  ;-)

It looks like a pressure wash and staining would do wonders and extend its life.

But, I tend to look at things from a technical/functional point of view, which is why I never pick colors, textures or fabrics for my projects. 

I would agree about the railing.  If its not too high off the ground you might be able to remove it and that bench.  Or, add one step around it if its a little too tall.  Or, rebuild the railing with a different design.

There's a bunch of lumber and footings in that deck.  If "starting from scratch" means rebuilding something with about the same dimensions, and the base is in good shape it would be a significant savings to start with what's there.  

@Jonathan K.   If it is safe, i would just extend the life o your deck by wash, stain. Once it is done, your wife might be pleasantly surprise how much better it will look. 

IMHO, Spend the money where it does count: kitchen. By the way, did you know that if you ever sell your house, you will get (lot) higher percentage of your money back from kitchen remodel than from the deck work. 

Good Luck to you!

If momma ain't happy...than ain't nobody happy ;-)

I would remove the railings, bench, decking and skirt boards assuming the structure is sound. Re-deck and build new benches. No need for railings on that deck because it is low enough that they are not required by code. Will open up the view across deck to the yard.

If keeping the deck, I agree with the others in removing the railings.  Maybe soften the square-ness (if possible without adding major work) by angling the corners and add a stair all the way around.  I'd also change the color to something a little lighter (toffee or cappuccino).

If getting rid of the deck, a nice stone patio with stone stairs from the house, short wall opposite the house, two nice open entry points on each side and a fire pit.

The possibilities are endless.  It's a nice open area.

I agree with the posts about removing/changing the railing. The fact that there's no way off the deck except off to either side really messes up the flow. You want it to orient to the yard. Right now your only choice if sitting on the benches is to admire the siding ;)

Looks nice to me. If not approved by your significant other than I would install a patio using pavers since its low the the ground with 1 or 2 steps to get there. No maintenance ever and no railings etc.

You could also paint the deck, and/or add texture to it for a visual change.  I agree the railings need to go, and would suggest you retool the bench into two smaller U-shaped seating areas, like this UU, or one U with a center box to hold a firepit / grill / fountain.   You want people to be able to sit across from each other and talk.  You have to define a space! :)

I had a deck that looked almost identical to this, and I took all of the boards off (saved them for other projects), put new decking down and new rails on. It looked like a brand new deck, and the cost was reasonable. If you go that route, just be sure the underlying structure is sound. 

If you want a lower cost approach, you could pressure wash it, stain it and do new railing. The deck boards look to be in pretty good shape, so that may be your best option. Again, be sure everything under there is structurally sound.

I just helped my parents with their older deck and we had great results!!! Before we started it had green mold on the boards and was sun faded badly but was a sound structure and wasnt rotted. We bought deck wash at Lowe's which washed off with a garden hose and a spray nozzle so no possible damage using a pressure washer. We then used a dark reddish wood stain sealer on the whole thing and it turned out great!! Was a lot cheaper than a redo that's for sure and it looked like a new deck when we were done !!

After seeing the pictures, my first thought was loose the railing, so I was glad to see so many people posted this. BPer's have good taste. 

How much do you use the deck? What direction does it face? A face lift here will work wonders. Remove the railing and run a step all the way around just short of the wall, stay back 4-5'. You may be able to reuse the railing boards for this. Pressure wash the deck and let it grey out. Put some large flower pots along the edge. If it is on the west side and too hot? You may want to up your game and introduce some shade features. Is privacy an issue? These two issue could be addressed at the sam time, granted more involved. Define the space with  "wall" sections (think privacy and shade) with step sections that communicate w/ the yard.  

I love outdoor spaces, and done right can be so inviting. Is the kitchen right on the other side of that wall? If so, during you remodel blow it wall open and get rid of the anemic door. 

Just my thoughts

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