My Backyard Deck Renovation
After remodeling nearly my entire house over the last year, I finally tackled the challenge of renovating our backyard deck. Full confession: I thought it would take me about two weeks to complete, but rather it took me 2 months! I had never built a deck before and was committed to doing it right from beginning to end. Hopefully my project helps you plan your deck project if you should ever decide to remodel one or build one brand-new. Also, before we jump in, don’t forget you can see more photos of this project over on The Home Depot Blog!
Before we jump in and I show you the project from beginning to end, I want to take a second and brag on The Home Depot, Ryobi Tools and Kreg Tool who all partnered with me to make this backyard deck renovation happen. Make sure you check them all out because they have all you need to make your projects happen.
First, why did I decide to do this? Well I think from the photos you can see that we inherited a very outdated backyard deck, so we wanted to update the aesthetics and looks of our backyard, but also make sure it was safe because we have 3 little children. We also wanted to expand the deck and make it more functional for gatherings or family hang time.
As you can see from the before photos, the old backyard deck it was old, unsafe and small.
Here is the full view of the deck from the backyard.
Let’s tear this thing out! My good friend Tim came and helped me take down the deck. (By the way, you can see the new roof we put on. What a difference it made!) As we tore out the deck, we discovered that this deck had not been properly made and we confirmed even more that it was a good decision to update it. It took an entire day just to tear the whole thing out. It took another day to load it all in a dumpster and haul it away.
Now with the old deck completely cleared away, it was a lot easier to lay out the plan and start the prep. A lot of people think decks are just that – decks. But there is more to it if you want to do it right. First, I made sure to grade (or adjust the dirt) to the right level. I brought in a mini loader and we scraped some dirt away to make room for drainage stone and enough room for the joists (boards running under your deck) to fit. After a days work, we had fabric laid down and wash stone 57 (drainage rock) laid down where the deck was going to go. The reasons for this step are very important. It prevents animals from moving in under your deck, it prevents plant growth, and it promotes good drainage without erosion problems, which if unchecked, can affect the stability of your deck over a long period of time.
Planning a deck should take a good amount of time as you want to calculate all your materials and work accordingly. I used simple graph paper to sketch out the design and worked with my local Home Depot to schedule delivery of my materials.
*All wood is treated
- 2x12x16’s (for beams, joists, and ledger)
- 2x8x8’s (for beams joists on shallow side)
- 6×6 posts (for all posts)
- 2×4’s (for ledger on shallow side under the windows)
- Premium Deck Boards in 16, 12, 10 and 8 feet lengths
- Joist Hangers (saves so much time!)
- Galvanized Joist hanger nails
- Galvanized 16 gauge nails
- Quickcrete Concrete (for post footings)
- Wash Stone 57 (for underlayment)
- Fabric (over red dirt and under 57 stone)
- Drainage piping (for redirecting gutter downspouts under the deck to other side of the yard)
- Kreg Deck screws
- Circular Saw
- 21 degree framing nail gun
- Table saw
- Masonry sting
- Impact drill
- Tape Measure
- Kreg Deck Jig
After laying out all the footings and letting them set for a few days, I was able to start framing out the deck. I used a ledger on the hose side drilled in and used joist hangers to come out and lay on top of a beam. My Ryobi Tools were a huge help along the way.
As you can see, the plan was to extend the deck over the windows where it used to be an old flowerbed and dirt as well as a huge water trap. You can also see in this picture that we had the gutters re-done to catch more water. I redirected all the water into piping under the ground to allow it to run out on the other side of the yard. The last thing I wanted to do was have the deck dump water into the house.
- Plan. Plan. Plan! (There is nothing worse than not thinking through something and stopping all of your progress mid work.)
- Always be thinking of where water will want to go with your deck.
- Have the next stage of materials delivered so that you are always ready to go to the next stage without having to wait.
- A good portable circular saw is an invaluable tool in deck building. I ended up using my Ryobi Cordless Circular Saw for almost every cut on the project.
- With a big outdoor project such as this, always be prepared for rain with the ability to protect your tools and materials.
- Nail guns are a lot more efficient than your elbows. Either borrow or invest in some.
Next, I started laying out my decking boards. I bought them in 16, 12, 10 and 8 foot lengths so the pattern would be randomized, like a wood floor in a home. And like I mentioned earlier, the Ryobi Tools circular saw was my best friend through this process.
Thanks to Kregtool I used the Kreg Deck Jig, which allowed me to hide all the deck screws and ensure a clean look. You can see how the jig helps you drill a pilot hole and then using their special deck screws, pop them in and you are good to go. Although this takes a lot longer than traditional deck screws that are put through the top of the wood, I liked this method because I never split a board, and I never had to worry about my deck screw pattern being off or not in a straight line.
Notice how clean the Kreg Deck Jig allows the deck to be. Also can you tell that the tree can now breathe with the adequate gap between it and the decking?
Finally! After two months, the deck is finished! It’s so fun to look back and see the before and after shots.
While there are still a few things I want to do to it such as add grass around it and begin the 2nd phase of the deck (there will be another 100 square feet added to the other side) it is ready for some hangs. It has made such a difference in our backyard and our ability to spend more time outside enjoying the South Carolina spring.
See more about the projects on my post on The Home Depot Blog.