For questions generally relating to outdoor, semi-elevated, non-enclosed structures such as decks, gazebos, pergolas, etc.

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2
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I seal a painted deck?

The builders of my home painted my front and back porch. The railings are white, and the decking itself is the same color as the house. It looks great, but the paint has all peeled up. I'm in the ...
1
vote
2answers
186 views

Would it be safe to leave charred wood on a deck until repairs can be made?

Had a small fire incident outside on our wood deck. There didn't appear to be any structural damage to any of the supporting material, just a few surface boards which need to be replaced. Can the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

In a cool damp climate, should I use hardwood or synthetic decking material for a deck that will be near a large tree?

We're building a 12x24 deck in our south-facing backyard in Seattle (aka rainy Pacific NW). There's a very large willow tree in our backyard that doesn't directly hang over the deck, but certainly ...
1
vote
1answer
303 views

Is clorox outdoor + jomax safe on vinyl decking?

I used the recipe suggested in this question to successfully clean my vinyl siding. Its a combination of Jomax, Clorox outdoor, and water. I'm wondering if this solution will work fine on my vinyl ...
6
votes
3answers
10k views

Can I use 4x4 posts as the primary support for a deck?

I have an old cedar deck, and most of the decking and vertical support posts are rotted out. I'd like to rebuild the deck as-is, just replacing the rotting pieces. The current design is as follows: ...
6
votes
1answer
689 views

Is it OK to build a deck with OSB?

I have left over 2x4s and OSB from a project a few months back (lean-to shed). It is just enough to make a 12'x8' deck, and I was wondering if this would be "OK" to use for decking? The main purpose ...
5
votes
3answers
430 views

How to plan for the future when installing a new roof?

We're hiring a contractor to take off the existing roof, repair/replace any rotted sheathing and rafters, and install a new roof. We've also asked that they add a new plumbing vent stack for a new ...
0
votes
1answer
220 views

Preparing a deck & playset for re-staining

The question asked here is pretty much similar to mine except that there are few splinters and chipped wood on the deck. How to smooth those out? Also there is a kid's play structure (with steps and a ...
4
votes
1answer
287 views

How do I fix a vinyl covering that is coming away from the outside deck support beam?

I live in a townhouse with a deck over the garage. I noticed that under the deck, along the board that is on the outer edge, some of the vinyl covering is popping out of place and hanging down a ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I properly paint a wood floor made of plywood?

I have built a yurt platform, which is basically a deck with 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove plywood as the decking. Usually that stuff is used as a subfloor, but in this case it's the floor itself. Call it ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Attaching a pergola (or deck) to vinyl siding

Building a structure which is attached to a house usually involves a plate which is bolted to the existing building, typically a 2x8, or 2x10. I understand how to structurally attach this, my concern ...
4
votes
3answers
12k views

Applied stain to deck and still not dry after a week, what can I do?

I decided to restain my deck last week since it was looking pretty worn after a New England winter. The deck is only 1 year old since we bought new construction. I contacted the builder and purchased ...
5
votes
5answers
15k views

How do I make a deck glossy?

I went to Home Depot and Sherwin Williams and I was unable to find a deck stain that looked like the shiny blondish color of the following image: At Sherwin Williams they said that their stains ...
3
votes
1answer
295 views

My deck dies in a funny pattern — does that mean this board is upside-down?

My deck looks like this after it rains. One board and parts of others are damp for a long time after everything else has dried. What could cause this and is it hard to fix? My only guess is ...
6
votes
1answer
6k views

what is the best way to restore teak outdoor furniture?

What is the best way to restore outdoor teak furniture to the original or better looking color? Teak is so beautiful when it has not been weathered. But after a few years in the rain and sun, it ...
13
votes
1answer
7k views

Which is better for deck flooring: 2x6 or 1x6 deck boards?

My current deck flooring is done with 2x6x10' boards, however they have degraded to the point now where they need to be replaced. I'm wondering if there are any specific pros or cons for using the ...
1
vote
1answer
862 views

How close to plumb to deck posts need to be?

I'm building a deck as the floor of a 30' yurt. Construction is 4" x 6" joists on 4" x 4" posts, on pre-cast concrete pier blocks, on tamped gravel footings. Posts are 20" - 30" long. Lumber is ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

How should I finish and protect outdoor wooden steps?

My house has a wooden staircase leading up to the front door. It gets a lot of traffic and is uncovered, so its exposed to New England winters. This means snow, ice, ice-melt, sand, shoveling, etc.. ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I install concrete blocks to support deck stairs?

I just had a deck constructed and it failed inspection, partly because of missing concrete blocks where the steps meet the ground (see also my related question Deck handrail bracket). How would I go ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Deck handrail bracket

I just had a deck built and it failed inspection, partly because of the lack of a graspbable handrail (see also my related question Concrete blocks supporting deck stairs) . The current rail is a ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the proper steps for staining a deck?

My deck just past its 10-year mark and is starting to look quite tired. It's time to restain it. What steps do I need to take to make sure I do everything right, from start to finish?
1
vote
1answer
267 views

Outside Ceiling Fan Problems: Light But No Fan

Over the course of the winter, the ceiling fan on my screened-in deck stopped working. The attached light still functions properly, so it is definitely getting electricity, but the fan will not ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What is the strongest way to join a deck joist to a corner joint?

I'm working on designing the support frame for a deck for my backyard. The basic shape of the deck: It's essentially a square with one corner chopped off. The red line is the joist in question, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How high should I make my yurt platform?

I am building the floor/platform for a 30' yurt. It's basically a deck. 30' diameter circle pre-cast concrete pier blocks 4" x 6" pressure treated joists, 4' o.c. 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove plywood ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I build a deck that is easy to take apart?

I spent the day taking apart the platform for a yurt. It was a real pain, and I want to make it easier to take apart next time. Old deck construction details: Decking was 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove ...
3
votes
3answers
656 views

Should I shovel snow off my vinyl deck?

Will there be damage if I don't shovel the snow off (due to snow thaw/freeze/thaw)? Is it safe to use a metal shovel on vinyl decking? Is it ok to allow the stuff to melt naturally if I don't plan to ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

How do I treat / maintain IKEA Platta wood patio tiles?

Over a year ago we put a good sized set of IKEA Platta deck tiles on our patio. After exposure to the elements, they are now dis-coloring and becoming a bit 'rough'. What exactly do I need to do to ...
5
votes
2answers
304 views

What maintenance does a cedar deck require?

We just moved into a house with a very nice 16'x16' cedar screened porch. The problem is I've never had a cedar deck and am not sure what maintenance to expect or how often to do it.
6
votes
2answers
7k views

What are the best practices for a low deck built half on a concrete slab?

In our current place, we moved the main access door from going into the kitchen, to entering an old laundry room converted to a mud room. In order to do so, the front door was moved over about 4', ...
2
votes
5answers
7k views

How do I attach a ledger board if I have no interior access?

I would like to build a small, 24" high deck, for a new entry door to the house. I have the deck plans all laid out, and am in need of a 2x10 ledger board under the door to attach the deck to. Most ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the best way to fill in the holes in aluminum siding?

In about 2 weeks I'm doing a little cathartic destruction of a deck on the back of my house. The deck came with the house and has suffered YEARS of neglect, it's beyond repair, built incorrectly, and ...
7
votes
2answers
881 views

How long can I wait before staining a new deck?

I just moved into a new (well, old) house. The previous owners put in a deck probably about 1 year ago. It's treated lumber, but they hadn't yet stained it. Winter is approaching quickly here in ...
2
votes
1answer
612 views

Need to attach deck ledger to house covering a vent

I am building a deck attached to the house, and on one side I will need to have the ledger covering a section of wall that has a crawlspace vent cover. If I have a big enough gap between the ledger ...
3
votes
3answers
17k views

What is the proper way to join two beams on a post?

I'm working on a deck that will involve two 10ft wooden beams across three wooden posts. One of the posts will be in the middle of the two beams. What is the proper method for joining the beams to the ...
5
votes
3answers
409 views

Which types of decking are easiest to maintain?

I live in Portland, OR. Rainy city. I will be expanding the deck at my house and in the process, I'm thinking I might upgrade to something nicer than pressure treated doug fir. I have a cousin that ...
4
votes
3answers
408 views

Replace rotting porch treads with trex?

My front porch has some treads and the bottom riser are rotting out. I'd like to replace the surface with Trex if possible. Is it as simple as removing treads and risers and replacing with Trex ...
6
votes
5answers
7k views

Can I build a deck this low to the ground?

I want to build a deck off the back of my house. The door is near grade level, about 1' above. The grade doesn't have very large slope, so that means that the beam at the far end would be below grade: ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I tell where my inground sprinkler hoses are?

I'm going to be building a deck next week in my backyard! I'm very excited for the project, but I'm concerned about one thing: digging the foundation holes. I have an inground sprinkler system, and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is toenailing necessary for a joist-to-ledger attachment?

Is it sufficient to rest joists on joist hangers or should you always toenail (drive screws/nails at an angle through the joist). And does the toenail have to drive into the ledger or just hold the ...
56
votes
10answers
18k views

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from an engineering/structural standpoint?

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from a structural standpoint? For instance: Say you used screws instead of nails on a backyard deck, when the design specifically called for nails. ...
5
votes
2answers
628 views

Sealing pressure treated deck, to be stained later on

I have just finished building a deck from pressure treated lumber. We've put the deck to use immediately and having all our meals on it. I'm worried about greasy food morsels staining the deck. My ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it normal to install (pvc) decking like hardwood flooring?

Forgive me I'm a newb. We have become the proud owners of a new deck. One of the features that we thought was great was that the boards are installed fairly snugly and diagonally nailed into joists ...
1
vote
1answer
263 views

Caulking for deck frame

To seal the seam between a doubled joist or beam, what type of caulking is best? The Home Depot Decks 123 book recommends Alex Plus (acrylic latex plus silicone) while a guy at Home Depot suggested ...
8
votes
1answer
252 views

I need to clean and reseal my dock, most sealers don't mention if they are safe to use over water

I have a wood dock over a lake. It is time to clean and seal the dock. I am planning on pressure washing the dock first, then I am planning to have a clear seal. Looking at products in Lowe's and ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Does decking board orientation really matter?

I've been told that decking boards should always be installed "bark side up" so that the boards crown (and shed water) as they age rather than cup (and collect water). But then I've also heard that ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I sand stamps off of lumber?

I just finished building a deck. The boards have stamps 1–2 ft from each end, and I could not bring my self to be as wasteful as to always cut them off. I tried to place the boards with the stamp ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are my deck boards of uneven width?

I bought 12-foot-long 5/4 x 6 in pressure-treated pine deck board from Home Depot. Not until I laid them down did I notice that the boards' width tapers significantly toward the ends of each board. ...
4
votes
1answer
878 views

How much weight should a deck of a given area support?

How much weight should a deck of a given area support, either according to building codes or convention? In my local (Massachusetts) building code, I found the answer for floors (40 lbs/ft2 live ...