Area51 Mike's Backyard 2016 Repairs:


Although not a typical Area51 project it took up quite a bit of time this summer so I decided to share it on the site. The summer to-do list started with painting all our exterior doors. One was burgundy, one was green and a couple were bare white.



Sandra chose the color and I was away. I removed all the door hardware and taped off the edges for a nice clean finish. Product used was exterior grade BEHR paint as recommended by the paint store.



Next on the list was a couple stair repairs. I had a two soft treads on the front steps, and all 4 basement treads were in need of replacement.




Once the new 2x10 Pressure Treated boards dried out for a couple weeks, the stairs and landing were re-stained to match everything else.





The small section of fence between the house and garage cracked off last winter in a windstorm. One side was only attached to the deck, the other used a 4x4" post which didn't hold up to Torbay winds and cracked clean off.



I dug two post holes and planted two 6x6" posts three feet deep backfilling with large rocks and 3 bags of Quickcrete in each hole.


I rebuilt the fence with recycled palings, they aren't very old and were in great shape.


Next on the list was a deck surface up rebuild of the rear deck. I started with the stairs as they were in hard shape. The previous owner rested the bottom step, stringers and post on bare ground and it simply rotted away.



I cut the stringers off level, deleted the old bottom stair and poured a 48x24" concrete pad to replace the bottom step.  I incorporated a saddle to hold the bottom handrail post for a nice sturdy job. I used 6 bags of Quickcrete which is rated at 37mpa and should resist weathering well. I did a steel trowel, then a brushed finish using an edger for a nice rounded edge.






Next I was on to the deck rails. The deck surface and structure was in decent shape but the rails and palings were completely gone.



I removed all the rotten wood leaving the posts as they were in great shape and were one continuous piece from the ground to the rail.



The old deck boards were hastily installed and very uneven.




With the railings out of the way I trimmed the boards all at once with my skill saw and capped the ends with a 4" 5/4 board for a nice clean look.


The old rails were pretty low, they met code but didn't offer much privacy. I raised them 10" so when we sit down we have complete privacy. I notched each post and each post extension with a 6" overlap and adhered with PL'd and 6 screws for a very secure finish. The rails were built by topping the post with a 2x4, then a 6" 5/4 board for the top. 2x4 was used top and bottom on its edge to attach the palings. 




The old rails had the palings inset resting on a 2x4 on its flat. This allowed water to sit on the 2x4 and wick up into the palings leading to rotten lumber. The way I attached mine there is nowhere for water to hold up and still provides a nice clean finish.


One side done, and fence finished with a 2x6" top plate and a 4" 5/4 board on its edge for a decorative finish. The stain I used was BEHR Deckover which I first used on our front deck 2 years ago and is holding up very very well. I chose a two tone effect to break up the monotony of one color.






With the patio finished it was on to replacing the gate. I made up a frame from 2x4 on its edge for maximum surface area for PL to stick in the corners and to keep the gate thin. The X brace was made from 4" 5/4 board notched on the overlap and the ends overlap the horizontal and vertical frame in each corner. The whole works was PL'd and screwed together.


The gate was finished with more recycled palings cut in a curve to match the back gate. The last construction project was to cap the hand rail of the basement stairs with a 6" 5/4 board to match the fence and patio.








The deck and fence was looking great but the landscaping was starting to look ratty with grass creeping over into the crushed stone. I used a string line, axe, pick and shovel to trim the sods square and installed a PVC edger to help prevent the grass from creeping back in.


I leveled the existing stone and will add another 2-3" soon to bring it up level with the driveway and grass.


Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith