Deck Garden Fix Up

We have been working HARD the last 3 days! The kind of work that reminds a city-dweller what you are really capable of (and also reminds you why a desk job isn’t SO bad….)

The deck Bruce inherited when he moved into his place last year was a mixed package. It was one part AWESOME roof deck hang out space right in middle of the city that NO ONE has, with a funky looking-out-over-a-cathedral-roof and “is-that-a-gargoyle?” dose of weird/coolness.

It was also one part wood rot, splinters, along with faded, chipped and originally spotted paint, red mites, and evil city pigeons, with an only partly humorous “but-really-how-sure-are-you-that-it’s-structurally-sound?” vibe. My friend Allison came over one night and her heel went right through a board. Kudos to her for coming back again after that!

Anyway, we had to do something. This is still a temporary living space for us (we don’t own it), so while we could probably have torn down the whole deck and replaced it with reclaimed cedar wood, or installed the deck tiles that have become so popular on Apartment Therapy and other sites, or played around with stone pavers that werent too heavy, it didn’t make sense for us. What makes sense to make the space comfortable and useable for our present needs, without over-investing in it to the detriment of our bank accounts.  

So we waited for a patch of sunny days, watched a bunch of YouTube videos on replacing boards, and struck out for Home Depot on Saturday. We bought lumber, nails, weather-proofed tinted deck stain, and wood filler and set to work.

Here is a before shot (note the black wood rot, and mint/white paint patches):


Here is what it looked like on most of Saturday and Sunday:


Cute guy!


We replaced the dozen or so boards that HAD to be replaced. As you can see from the pictures this mostly involved Bruce ripping the old splintering rotted boards up, and fighting rusty nails and debris. Then I set the new boards in place and helped hammer them in. He gets the lions share of the credit on this one!

And then, we sanded. Again, by “we” I mostly mean “Bruce.” More credit to him! The electric sander we borrowed from a friend was just powerful enough to almost knock me over every time I tried to wield it, but not quite powerful enough to make the job quick or easy. (Have I mentioned all the credit Bruce is accruing here? He could buy a car or something!)

Then, we painted. (I helped equally with this task!) Painting on our hands and knees in the sun while crawling backwards, proved to be as much fun in reality as it sounds here. I am most proud about the fact that we managed not to paint ourselves into a corner (literally).

The first coat had to dry for 24 hours. Second coat went on, and another 24 hours passed.

Then we carefully stepped out on our finished product. And it was GREAT! So great, that we had a beer, took some Advil, and went to bed for about 15 hours. But here we are a day after that….


It’s not perfect, but it is about 100x better. Hopefully, none of our friends will step through it this summer!

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