Area51 Mike's Backyard Repairs 2017:
Over the past couple summers I've been taking on outdoor repairs/renovations around our home by repairing sections of broken fence, rebuilding my rear deck and fence/gate between house and garage. This summer the work continues!
The finish work of this basic builders deck was quick, cheap, and is now rotted out. However the frame was still quite strong so it didn't make sense to tear it down and build from scratch.
The spindles were Ok but I never liked the finished appearance, the rail tops were completely rotted out, as were some of the deck boards.
Also the flower planter pushed in the bottom of the centre post which had to be repaired first to make the deck square and true.
The new rails were built with all pressure treated materials. A 2x4 flat across the top of the posts, another glued and screwed under it on its edge, and the bottom one on its edge. The two edge mounted boards would be drilled to accept Black galvanized/powdercoated round spindles.
I set up my table top drill press and bolted my clamp in place to keep all the spindle holes centered.
I hate rough ends of deck boards sticking out so I trimmed them back, added and extra support below and capped the end with a 4" 5/4 deck board for a much cleaner appearance.
All deck boards that were soft or cracked were replaced at this time as well.
After I drilled the holes I painted the tops of the rails so I wouldn't have to cut in around them later which saved a lot of time and fooling around! Each section of rails/spindles was assembled in the garage and installed as a complete unit with the help of a buddy.
The stair sections are obviously on an angle, my drill press wasn't large enough to set up a jig holding the rails on the right angle so I opted to buy these screw on pieces which look great and saved a lot of hassle! Don't forget if your using a 3" spacing on the flat sections, centre to centre measurements will have to be spaced further apart to maintain 3" spindle spacing going down the stairs because of the angle.
The tops of the flat sections was topped with a 6" 5/4 board for a nicer finished appearance while the stair sections toped with a 4" 5/4 board to act as a handrail.
It was a fair bit of work but I'm very happy with the finished product, reusing all of the structure saved a lot of money and the deck is now safe and much more modern than before.
With the deck complete it was on to repairing the sections of fence damaged by a windstorm we experienced in March. Also the rear sections were well inside my boundary peg so I straightened the fence and moved it out to within 12" of my survey peg which according to my survey is where the fence is supposed to be.
The three rear posts were all dug in new locations but the side post had to go in the same place to re-use the sections of fence and to maintain 8' long sections. Moving it left or right would mean one is shorter and one is too long. Sections of fence longer than 8' put too much strain on the posts with the brutal winds we have in Torbay.
Digging around the post then hooking onto it with the Foreman made short work of the old post.
I like to dig fence posts by hand keeping the holes tight, this also means you leave all undisturbed soil around the post so it wont move in the wind.
Every time I have to replace posts, I upgrade from the rickety 4x4's which have cracked like match sticks to 6x6 which are holding up much better.
Quickcrete was hand mixed and put in each hole along with lots of big rocks to solidly anchor each of the new posts.
The individual sections of fence were still in good shape so I decided to reuse them. This not only smartly saves money but also keeps the whole fence looking uniform.
The previous homeowner topped the whole fence with a 2x6 which is screwed to each post and all along the top rail of the fence. This adds a lot of needed rigidity and strength to stand up to our ferocious winds.
Repairs complete, the fence could use a coat of stain, but with over 400' to coat it will most likely be keeping its natural weathered appearance!
Before we knew it November arrived and it was time to put up the Christmas lights. I usually put them up early when the weather is good and leave them off until the first week of December.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith