Author Topic: Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions  (Read 2971 times)

webguy

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Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions
« on: June 17, 2014, 12:46:36 PM »
Hey guys,

My deck is around 25 years old and the boards are starting to rot at the ends so I've decided to replace it myself. The structure is in good shape, so I'm just replacing the boards, railings and steps. I've removed all the old boards and just bought a load of fresh cedar boards from Home Depot and am receiving mixed advice on what to do next. I have a few questions that I'm hoping someone here is able to help me with:

1) Should I stain now and then construct the deck, or construct the deck and then wait a year for the wood to dry out before staining? I can't really tell whether the wood has a mill glaze on it, I dripped some water on it and it partially soaked in and partially sat on the surface.
2) Should I use an oil-based stain or some other type or stain? I read that staying away from stains that create a "film finish" is a good idea. The previous owners painted the deck and the paint was a ridiculous amount of work to get off in places so I want to minimize the need to strip the deck again in a couple years.
3) Is there anything else I should know before I start on this? I'm not the most handy guy in the world and it's kind of stressing me out that I'm going to do it wrong.

Some additional info:

- We're probably going to sell the house in 5-7 years.
- I'm in Minnesota, so summers are hot and humid and winters and freezing and snowy.

Thanks in advance for any help or tips you might have!!

Weedy Acres

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Re: Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 01:34:30 PM »
1.  You don't need to wait to stain it.  It's better to do it now.  No need to "dry out" the wood or anything.  In fact, if you wait a year, it will turn gray, and you'll have to do a bunch of prep work to get it nice and pretty to stain again.

2.  I'd use a stain that, to refresh down the road (and every deck will need that at least every couple years), you can just apply like stain over top of it.  You don't want to have to strip and sand it down each time.  TWP makes a good stain that you can do a build-up coat on, like 3 coats now, then a top coat every year, with just a good washdown and dryout as prep.

3.  Replacing deck boards is pretty simple.  The key is just to keep straight lines.  Get a bow wrench to help you persuade non-straight boards.  And stop every few boards to measure the remaining distance from both ends, to make sure you're progressing evenly.  If not, adjust the normal 1/8" gap as needed for the next couple boards to make the difference back up. 

If it's 25 years old, it was built to older codes, so while the frame is exposed, I'd take the time to upgrade the structure to comply with current codes and be safer.  Things like joist hangers and hurricane ties, make sure the ledger board is secure to the house, consider beefing up the posts from 4x4 to 6x6, make sure balluster spacing is <4", that sort of thing.  It's hard to tell without photos what you might need/benefit from, but the American Wood Council publishes a great guide to deck construction, and you can compare what you've got to that: http://www.awc.org/publications/dca/dca6/dca6-09.pdf

Greg

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Re: Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 02:24:43 PM »
Weedy Acres has excellent advice in many areas.  I'll add my opinion that you want to use an oil-based semi-transparent.  It won't provide as much protection from UV damage being semi-transparent, but it will be easier to stain over in the future.

webguy

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Re: Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2014, 02:26:11 PM »
Hey Weedy Acres, thanks for the reply!

I checked out TWP and their directions for new wood advise allowing the wood to weather and dry out for 4-12 months after installing: http://www.twpstainhelp.com/prepping-new-wood-for-twp-stains/. I tested the wood again with water and it definitely beads on the surface and doesn't soak in as it does with the old wood. Would you advise waiting or trying to remove the mill glaze by sanding or cleaning the new wood?

Thanks for the tips on constructing the deck, I'll definitely be checking out the PDF link you provided.

webguy

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Re: Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2014, 02:29:38 PM »
Weedy Acres has excellent advice in many areas.  I'll add my opinion that you want to use an oil-based semi-transparent.  It won't provide as much protection from UV damage being semi-transparent, but it will be easier to stain over in the future.

Thanks Greg, after doing some research I'm definitely going to go with an oil-based semi-transparent stain. We actually just bough 4 gallons of this stuff (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Thompson-s-WaterSeal-1-gal-Semi-Transparent-Acorn-Brown-Waterproofing-Stain-TH-042841-16/204813840?N=5yc1vZbbbmZ5xnZ1z10m0l) at Home Depot but will be returning it and getting some oil-based stuff.

Milspecstache

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Re: Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2014, 05:13:45 PM »
I'm sure you are using exterior screws, right?  Please don't use nails or drywall screws.

Rube

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Re: Rebuilding my deck and have a couple of questions
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2014, 09:43:29 PM »
I would let it go until spring, at least fall. You'd be shocked at how much water is in those boards. I had a good plan of staining my floor every year and doing a light sand in between and try to do the rails every other. Well then kids came and who really has time for tedious work like that?

My deck is 10 years old already this summer and I think I'll be blowing some coin on composite in the next year with some aluminum railing.

You might have arsenic in the old treated lumber. I'm not sure that its an issue like it would be on a kids' play set. Also I have the .60 green treated 6x6 post. Those can go right into the ground and actually makes the structure more stable in high winds. If you were building from scratch its also a lot less concrete, no tubes and no straps required. You still have to be 42" though.