Customer DIY Projects

New Merbau Deck – Finished

  1. 20th Feb 2011, 07:09 PM

    First up thanks to everyone on this site for helping to answer all my questions along the way, and those that asked the questions I didnt have to. I will try to keep it brief, so here goes. Before I could start the deck I had to prepare the area, which meant removing a huge stump and cutting back about 5metres of solid concrete which jutted out from the house. The deck was planned to sit flush to the house so I hired a 18inch concrete cutter and smashed my way through this. The stump I paid someone to take care of.

     

    Once this was done the area was then levelled and I built a brick storage seat in the corner and then cracked on with the frame. The seat isnt quite finished as I still need to do the lid.

     

    This was going to be a low deck, so I decided to use 2/90*45 for the joists, which would be supported by 300mm galvanised stirrups. On the end of the deck I used the “L” shaped stirrups as I was putting on a face plate where you step up on the deck, and a normal “U” shaped stirrup would not have allowed me to screw the board in place ( hope that makes sense). I also decided to use joist hangers as you can see below. I also went with 90 * 19 merbau decking. I was able to get this in full 3.9m lenghts, which perfectly measured the width of my deck. The deck measure 4m * 6.7m

    As I was building the deck myself I decided to try these mini grips, and put one on either side of the joist hangers and then attached them to the ledger, The idea being that it would help to hold them in place while I got it all level. These were helpful, although not as effective as I though they might have been. They only cost me 40cents, so it was worth the effort in the end, and anythig that offers a little bit of help the better.

     

    I wasn’t keen on nails or screws, so decided to go with the deck max system. (Koppers no nail deck – on this forum) seemed to have done the homework on this system, and also the fact that these guys offered a great customer service ( compared to the alternative – still waiting for a reply to my email ) made it an easy choice. I decided against using their timber though as the cost to transport to Perth would have double the cost of the deck. So for $100 I got my myself a biscuit joiner and put the grooves in myself. Certainly more time consuming, and the fact that I had 5 straight boards out of 78 didnt help either. I was getting a board done in 20mins, although I did do one board in 10mins ( must have been a straight one ). Below is a picture of the deckmax biscuit, I also decided to stain the tops of the pine so it would show through the gaps ( 3mm gaps)

     

    Another useful tip I picked up was the use of ratchet straps as you can see in the photos below. The deckmax system does supply you with grips ( the first photo), but these just werent strong enough to straighten the timber. The first picture below ( with about five boards down ) took me all day to get to this stage. This was mainly due to the first board taking me a few hours to get down. I figured if I dont get this first board right the whole deck will be out. Thankfully I got it right and everything is square, it was certainly worth taking the time.

     

     

    This photo shows the deck complete, although due the fact I was working on top of the deck as I was laying it, due to a confined space I decided to get it sanded before oiling. I washed the deck using the napisan method which worked pretty well, although I did end up having to do this about 4-5 times. In the end there was only some small marks showing through, so I decided to sand this back and get into the oiling. Only finished the oiling Sunday morning.

     

    The finished deck. I did three coats of feast watson natural, and am happy with the finish.

     

     

    Along the way I burnt out my angle grinder, which was replaced. I also went through three biscuit joiners, ( two ryobi and one ozito), after going through the first two ryobi I decided to go for the ozito brand and this was a much more solid unit I felt. The Ryobi, on one occasion didnt hold the level in place strong enough and as such, one of my boards didnt go down well. The biscuit cutter went back and I never had that problem with the Ozito. I did go through one OZito along the way though, as it was seriously smoking while I was cutting the joins. These biscuit joiners are not made for so many cuts, and I think 1500 in a few days is too much. Anyway, Bunnings replaced all these with no questions asked.

    That is all. I had a good time doing this little project and would do it again for sure ( just not straight away).

    Cheers

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Kopper’s No Nail Deck

  1. 20th Feb 2011, 07:09 PM

    Hi all,

    Ive just recently finished building my first deck and wanted to share the results. Im not a tradie and this would be my first major building project. I had a lot to learn but thanks to this site and the many who contribute the project was a success. In the beginning I did a lot of reading, a lot of planning and took a lot from this site. Its great that people can ask their problems in the forum and get answers from those that have solved that same problem as well and even get some insight from the experts.

    There were a lot of things that I hadn’t considered, right ways and wrong ways to do things. Once you know what you’re doing, as with anything, its easy. When you’re starting out, it can be daunting.

    So this is my first house and I have a spot already for a deck. It’s an L shape, undercover so really there is just the deck. Because its a new house it has been fitted with termite protection that comes with a warranty. There are rules that come with the warranty and one of them is about decking to the house. You can bolt your deck to the house, but the deck must be about one brick depth below the doorway. I can go into more detail if anyone is interested – just contact me. This would mean there is a step down as you walk out onto the deck. My deck is ground level – I have about 300mm to work worth and I wasn’t too keen on the step idea. That would give me about 200mm to work with which is getting a bit close to the soil.

    The other way you can do it is to leave a 20mm gap between the house and the deck. This leaves enough for the termite people to do their inspections and keeps the warranty valid. In this case the deck is the same level as the floor in the house, so there is no step. My builder used this method in the display homes and I was happy with that.

    I was keen on doing it once and doing it right. That’s just something that I always try to do. As some of the other guys on the site were saying, I would rather over-engineer than under-engineer. I would hate to spend all that money and time only to see even part of the deck start falling apart in a year or two – might as well put in the extra effort to be sure, even if that meant a little more time or money now. The other thing I don’t want is any movement or creaking as you walk on the deck. It has to be solid. That being said, I realise that there is a lot of work that I have done that wasn’t necessary. It was just myself doing it on the weekends that I had free so this ended up taking about 8 months in between other smaller projects.

    I know some members recommend the decking book “The Australian Decks & Pergolas Construction Manual” by Allan Staines. My girlfriend did purchase this for me early on trying to encourage me to start the deck. I read most of it but didn’t find it as useful as the forums. It is covering a lot of different types of deck – multilevel etc but I wanted more in depth information on low level decks. It’s a good book and isn’t that expensive, but if you’re just doing a basic low level deck like myself, all the information you need is covered in the forums. One in particular:

    Raffs Low Deck………….

    Unfortunately the pictures are now gone, but the information there got me started.

    So to start. Photos are great and I’ve tried to take as many as I can throughout the process. You could almost look at the pictures on their own and build a deck without reading a single word. Because I was doing bits here and there on the weekends I had plenty of time to take photos at each stage. I will include the best photos but if you want more just ask.

    After thinking about it for a long time I finally started by roughly levelling the area. I liked Raff’s idea (in the post above) of digging a hole at every meter. So you imagine a grid 1mx1m, there is a hole in each corner of that 1m grid. I started digging by hand but quickly realised that this wouldn’t work. The ground is a solid dry clay and I was going nowhere fast. I would either have to reduce the number of holes that I was digging or find an easier way. (Supervisor checking the depth)

    I ended up hiring a dingo. They are great. For $240 (plus delivery? I cant remember) the guy dropped it to me in the morning and picked it up at the end of the day. I got the bucket and the 300mm (wide) auger bit. I have never used one before but within 15 minutes I was zooming around. You can dig quite deep with them and even attach extensions to get deeper but the standard was fine for me to get down to my target of about about 600mm. I got my brother and Dad to help me out. One person would measure and point to the next hole, one would dig it out in a matter of minutes on the dingo and the other was just removing the loose dirt from the hole and moving it to stop it falling back in. We did about 47 holes plus some levelling in the one day. The dingo had to work in the clay, but made it look easy. The holes didn’t need to be dead straight which is good because the auger does move as it first digs in.

     

    I was going to build my deck out in line with the bricks, when my Dad suggested we instead build further out in line with the eves on the house. I wasn’t sure but all I had to do was point and drill and the holes were there. If I changed my mind I could easily fill them in. Better to do it while I had the dingo there. I got mine from this guy – DIG-IN HIRE – DINGO HIRE, KANGA HIRE, MINI DIGGER HIRE, BRISBANE – if you’re in the Brisbane area I would highly recommend. There are even rates on the website which I always give bonus points for. I even did a few post holes for a fence and still got all the work done easily in less than a full day.

    Once that was done I had to get metal stirrups and bearers. I liked the way others did a floating stirrup, where the stirrup was attached to the bearer and was dangling in the hole, everything lined up and then concrete poured. Talking to people about the deck, most hadn’t heard of this, but it made life so much easier. I put a metal stirrup in each hole then sat the timber near the stirrup. Im using 2x 140x45mm treated pine bolted to each other for bearers. I then pulled each stirrup onto the timber. The good thing about using two bearers was that they would pull together, so if one was warped or twisted, it would be pulled together to make it straighter. The stirrups are 90mm wide so two 45mm bearers squeeze in just nicely. If the bearers were a little wide in one spot, say 92mm whereas the stirrup was only 90mm, I used a clamp to pull them on. It was really easy. The small ridges on the treated pine mean that when they are in the stirrup, they will lock together. If one was sitting higher than the other, I would just hit it with a hammer or clamp and it would move and lock because of the grooves.

    I did consider hardwood, as one seller convinced me that they I could get the solid deck with them where I couldn’t with pine. He told me after building a pine frame for a deck, he would never do it again because it just wasn’t solid. Fortunately for me, he was a bit lazy and took forever getting back to me with prices etc and so I went with pine. The deck is rock solid, the pine is easier to work with and I saved some $ too. I’m totally happy with the treated pine frame.

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    Here are the stirrups pulled onto the bearers, not yet bolted. Before drilling and putting the bolts through, I made sure both bearers were sitting even. I used 120mm M12 bolts with nut and washer that I purchased from Australias Biggest Online Fastener and Tool Store . These guys killed Bunning’s for price even with delivery and they were delivered really quickly. Couldn’t be happier with them.

    This is a bit hard to explain and I didn’t get a photo, but being an L shape I had a long run about 10m. The 140×45 bearers come in 6m lengths. Rather than bolting two 6m lengths together then two 4m lengths together and have the join in one place I staggered it. So if you imagine one length at 6m joining to a 4m length bolted to a 4m joining to a 6m. This way the joins were at different areas. This kept them straighter and gave more strength. The join was then made inside a stirrup. Two bolts mean that there is a bolt through each bit. I hope this diagram of the timber helps.

  3. 26th Feb 2011, 02:56 PM

    These stirrups are the high wind type by pryda. One thing I did get from that Decks and Pergolas book is that these have advantages over the common rod type. The book said that they are less likely to corrode because water can get inside the hollow rod and sit there, whereas the high wind type doesn’t have this hollow section. Check the pryda website if you choose to use these as there are there are some good tips and minimum measurements when you go to install them.

    http://www.pryda.com.au/uploads/Prod…uly%202009.pdf

    My holes were 600mm deep and my stirrup was 600mm long if I remember correctly. The stirrup will sit out of the hole a bit though and so there will be a gap between the bottom of the stirrup and the bottom of the hole. This gives a concrete footing for the stirrup to rest on.

    Once the stirrups were bolted to the bearers I needed to get the bearers level. For this I used a laser level with staff. I was fortunate enough to know someone with a good one, but you can also hire these from places like Kennards hire. You use the staff to set the level you want and then move back and forth adjusting the bearer as necessary. In my case, I used bricks under the bearers to get the right height. They were quite solid but I wouldn’t stand on them or anything like that. A 300mm wide hole gives you a bit of room to play if the holes aren’t in a straight line, but you can widen any that require it fairly easily.

    After a bit of double checking it was time to pour the concrete. I compared rates of a concrete truck, a concrete taxi and mixing it myself. I had to get the concrete from the front of the house to the back, so would need a bit of time if I got a concrete truck or taxi. Each hole took about two wheelbarrows full of concrete, walk down each row and empty with a shovel. I can’t remember the exact amount but I think I needed a bit over two cubic metres.

    If I was to get a concrete truck they don’t really give you time to do all this. They want to dump it and go. The rates were pretty reasonable though. Concrete taxi gave more time but the rates weren’t as good. I opted for self mix. I just got bags of cement and a 20mm aggregate concrete mix from a landscaping place. There is a guide on the bags of concrete that will help you work out how much concrete and sand/aggregate mix you need. My Dad has a truck and I have a trailer so between us we picked it all up. I hired a cement mixer (about $50 for the day from Kennards Hire). I got the family in to help out and we knocked it over pretty quickly. Having the concrete mixer meant you can take your time, stop for lunch when you want etc. It worked out to be the cheapest option by a bit too. Bit cheaper than a concrete truck and much cheaper than the concrete taxi. Doing the deck on the weekends was an advantage for me too because the concrete had plenty of time to set. You want to get the concrete done fairly soon after the holes are dug because otherwise dirt will start falling back into the holes. It’s easy to remove because it isn’t compacted, so you can just dig it out by hand but it’s even easier if you don’t have to. You also don’t have to worry about the bearers getting knocked once they are concreted in place.

     

    From this site I also found the idea of protecting the bearers using a product designed to stop the water sitting on it. Even though my deck is undercover water will still get on it either when I hose it or with the rain blowing in and because its undercover its not going to dry as easily. The timber is designed to be in contact with the ground (H4), but will still get mould on it and expand/contract with water on it. Because of this it has a service life. By giving it a level of protection you are extending its service life. The stuff is called protect-a-deck and is available in a roll of about 10m from Bunning’s. Its made of rubber and has a sloping edge to let water run off stopping any sitting on your bearers. I used some tape to hold it in place until the joists lock it in. Its not the cheapest stuff, so other members have suggested alternatives if your after a cheaper option (http://www.woodworkforums.com/f77/pr…eck-not-57937/). When I got a quote for the deck the guy said that they use tar and I guess just paint it on. I looked around but couldn’t find it easily and I reckon it would get a bit messy.

     

    Next step is the joists. I used 90×45 treated pine joists. I think the recommendation for pine joists is about 450mm between the centre of each joist. I did 415mm centres just because that meant they spaced nicely in the area that I had. To secure them to the bearer I used pryda unities from Bunnings. Pryda do make joist straps, but I looked at these in Bunnings and wasn’t convinced. They seemed to small and flimsy to really lock the joist in place. I could imagine if there was any noise it would be because of movement of the joist on the bearer. When I did install them you could walk on them and if they weren’t really tight on the bearer there was a creak. The unities are more expensive but much stronger. I used used a clamp to hold the joist in place, a bit of timber cut at 415mm to give me the correct spacing between the joists and hammered in the pryda nails. If you do use the unities you are meant to use the pryda nails as these are different from regular nails. I can tell you too that once the unitie is hammered onto the joist and the bearer they are strong. I put some in the wrong place and they are a pain to remove. If you do buy unities they come in left and right versions. I got half of each and hammered them on diagonally opposite sides. Once the unities were on they really locked the joist into place. This is good because the 90×45 is more prone to warping/twisting/bowing than say the 140×45 and so even badly bowed timber could be straightened and locked into place. When joists were joined they were joined over a bearer obviously and a unitie was done on each side of the joist. I also made sure that the joins weren’t next to each other over one bearer to avoid weak spots. Each time a joist was cut the ends were treated too, you can see the black timber treatment that I have used whenever I cut the timber. Around the pillars there is extra joist framework required and you will need to plan for this. I am ‘picture framing’ my decking so there is framework required there too.

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    This took a little while to complete and by this stage I noticed that there was mould forming on the joists and bearers. I decided to protect the timber while I still had access to the frame by painting it with some brown paint. You want to go brown or black or similar because you will see bits of the joist between the decking and you don’t want it to stand out. And so the whole frame was given a coat. I used an exterior paint. This wont see much weather but you will find some paints have a lifetime guarantee with a few conditions, so they are tough. This will again extend the life of the frame.

     

    No point having a great finish on the deck if the frame is falling apart. So at this stage the frame is done.

     

    Next is the fun stuff. Decking timber and fasteners. Now this took me a while to decide what I was going to do. Timber choice was easy. Standard Merbau 90×19. Merbau is a stable timber and is resistant to warping etc. Fasteners had me really researching.

    Ive heard too many bad things about nails lifting and needing to be re-punched. Ive also seen decks with nice dome top nails look great, only to have the nails bashed below the surface when the deck needed sanding. Next was the now very common, 10g x 50mm stainless steel square head screws. There are drill bits which pre-drill and countersink a hole for you, screw the screw in and you’re done. They are relatively cheap, easy to install, wont rust, shouldn’t lift out of the hole, have a very strong hold strength and you can easily remove a board in the future if it was damaged or for whatever other reason.

    But there were also the no nail options. Heaps out there if you look around. Just about every timber yard had a different type. They all had a similar idea of holding the decking board on the side of the timber between the boards, rather than through the top. There are pictures of completed decks around and they look great. Just the natural beauty of the timber with nothing to distract your eye. If I was to choose one though, it would have to last. If I had to screw it down with stainless screws in two or three years because they weren’t holding it would be a waste of time and money.

    There are plenty of them around if you have a look, here are a few available in Australia:
    No Nail Decking
    Tiger Claw
    http://www.nonaildeck.com.au/
    KlevaKlip Systems Pty Ltd – Home
    ArchiDeck – Home -Innovative Decking Ideas for DIY, Professionals & Retailers

    But which one to choose? Why so many different types? They are all interesting and work in slightly different ways to achieve the same result. Which would last? Which was a pain to install?

  5. 26th Feb 2011, 03:01 PM

    It really did take me some time to sort through. Some use a metal claw that is punched into the side of the wood, some use plastic biscuits that sit into grooves. Some don’t allow you to picture frame your deck, which I planned on doing. Some of the suppliers were terrible. I called some timber yards, who really had no idea about the product they are trying to sell and didn’t have prices available. When they got a price they really didn’t include all the different bits that I would need and to chase it up would be really painful. I searched and searched and found these guys:

    Timber Decking, Decking Materials, Timber Flooring – Deck-Max™.com.au

    Now I might rave about them a bit and some might think that I have invested interests in this company but the truth is I don’t (yet – I wish I could). These guys answered the questions that the other companies wouldn’t. They had really thought of it all. What do you do with mitre joints when picture framing? And securing your starting board? They had the answer. They have everything available, prices on their website and you can order directly from them. Plus their products are Australian made.

    Now all of the no nail decking options have these disadvantages –

    Price – they are more expensive to purchase than nails or screws. This may be offset by less work in the long term. I haven’t don’t the math yet but these are more expensive than the stainless screws.

    Removal of a board – removing a board that is screwed in will take a few minutes and you can do any board without touching another board. The nail free options aren’t anywhere as easy. This is because each decking board is also helping to hold the next decking board. In most cases you need to cut the guts out of the damaged board and when it is replaced, you will need to screw it down. Unless you pull off every board after it then re-lay the lot. Not to mention that most of the nail free options use glue to help fix the boards and it is very strong. The glue would have to be cleaned off before you reapply the boards etc. My Dad also asked what happens if you lost a coin or a ring and the answer is that it will probably stay there under the deck unless you can tunnel underneath from the side.

    Back to Deck-Max™. Deck-max uses a very strong biscuit to hold the board in place. Have a look on their website to see what I mean. Its made of a strong plastic type material. Forgive me I am not a materials expert. They have plugs to use in your first and last board. As I mentioned previously each board helps hold the next board, but the first and last board on the deck doesn’t have a board next to it. Deck-max is the only company that really had a nice solution – plugs. They also had special decking clamps (get one, they are great) as well as screws and the countersink bits if you choose to go down that path. They really stood out and once I found them, my decision was clear.

    Now there is one problem. The Australian standards, if I remember reading correctly, say that cutting out the side of the board isn’t recommended as water can sit in this groove and cause rot. Deck-max have a solution for this called a pro-biscuit. Basically they sell you the timber and the biscuit, with a special groove cut in the timber that allows the water to drain easily. Its cut at an angle so that gravity takes the water away. You must buy the timber from them though as the cut cannot be done on a regular biscuit cutter.
    Their other option, the original biscuit is slightly different. It uses a standard horizontal cut into the side of the board. You can buy the timber pre-grooved from them or a timber company. I didn’t like the idea of long cut up the side of the board, so the other option is to cut the groove in the timber yourself using a biscuit cutter. This way the cut in the timber is only where it is needed. This means less water to sit in the grooves and I was worried that you might see the cut in the side of the timber at different angles sitting on the deck. Their postage was really quick and their staff were helpful. I wont go on about them anymore, but if you want more information check out their website.

    Because I was cutting the groove into the board myself, I could order from a local timber yard. This saved me transport costs and you also pay extra for the pre-grooved boards. You spend time cutting the boards if you do it yourself so the choice is there. Save time or save money. But time is money so are you really saving? That answer is too deep to be answered here.

    Anyway Ive ordered the timber and ordered the fasteners. The timber will start to warp if its left sitting so the sooner you can get it down the better. Some pieces will be worse than others. The great thing about the Deck-Max™ is that I found it easy to straighten every board and lock it in place, so there was no waste, even though it took me a few weekends to get it all down.
    First board going down. Take time to get this PERFECT. How straight the end board goes down depends on this first board. It took me a couple hours of playing with this one board until it was down. I left a 20mm gap around the end for the termite protection. You will notice the holes cut for the plugs.

     

    Now the Deck-Max™ biscuits that sit between each board also give a perfect spacing between the boards of 3mm. This is ok for 90mm merbau but wider decking boards will require more space to allow for more expansion and movement. If you want a gap bigger than this (up to 6mm) you will need to space them separately. If you are happy with the standard 3mm the process speeds up but you need to have that first board right. If you are leaving a bigger space you can change the width of the gap slightly to correct.

    I was cutting my own slots in the side of the board for the biscuits but this isn’t too difficult with a biscuit cutter locked at the correct settings. The biscuit cutter cost me about $100 from Bunnings and cut thousands of slots without a problem. Because I was picture framing the deck the second board I laid was the one at a 90 degree angle to the first. There is a spacer between each board my picture frame board to give a perfect 3mm gap. Once this board is down its staying down and so grooves need to be cut before its laid. You might be able to cut when board is down but its much easier to do when its free and if you make a mistake you can just throw that board away and start again.

     

    Once the first board is down you can get in a routine and really start moving. I took time to check each board for defects in the timber such as chips etc. I would then measure and cut the board to the desired length on a drop saw with a slight 3 or 4 degree undercut. That is to cut at a slight angle. I learnt that from this site and it is a brilliant idea that you just don’t think of when you come along to build something for the first time. Look around as another member did a good job at explaining it but basically it means that the timber will always butt up at the top of the board so there is no visible gap between the two bits of timber when they join. I would turn the board upside down, mark with a white timber crayon where the biscuit cuts were over the joist then use the biscuit cutter to make the slots. Because I was marking the bottom of the board I didn’t have to worry about removing the marks later. I would turn the board back over and tap it in to place.

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    The instructions are provided with the Deck-Max™ packaging, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I got an old scrap bit of timber and a hammer and walked along belting the board into place. I layed just about the entire 44m2 of decking by myself this way, taking on twisted, warped boards with just my clamps and a hammer. If a board was badly warped I would use a ratchet strap, like you use on a trailer or truck, and wrap it around the board, secure it to somewhere solid and use the ratchet to pull it in place. I could continue to lay boards which further held it in place and overnight the glue would dry and the board would be well and truly locked straight. I used two Irwin clamps (highly recommend, available from bunnings, 250kg rated with a lifetime guarantee) which can also be used as spreaders. I also used my cars scissor jack by screwing a scrap piece to the joist and using the jack when I really needed some timber persuading power. Sometimes the most bowed boards are easy to bend back, but the smaller bow’s are much harder to bend out. Straight boards and lightly bowed boards went down very easily though. And finally the Deck-Max™ clamp.

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    Last edited by kopper; 26th Feb 2011 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Spelling

  8. 26th Feb 2011, 03:06 PM#4

    Now I got a little tricky when I came up to the L corner section. The deck boards from the timber yard are called 90mm but they are actually closer to about 89mm when measured with callipers. I did the math and worked out that the board wasn’t going to join nicely and I would have to cut a board the whole length along. This is a bit hard to explain. So what I did was went to bunnings and found their timber varies in width too, but had more variation. They had boards that went from 90mm to 92mm. By using about 10 of these slightly wider boards, the L join came up perfectly and I didn’t have to cut (rip) a board.

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    Eventually the Queensland rains started and the decking got caught up. My girlfriends birthday was coming up and I was aiming (or maybe getting ordered ;-) he he ) to get the deck completed by then for her. So I worked in the rain and the sticky clay mud trying to get it done. It was good for the timber though because Merbau should be washed to allow the tannin to run out of the timber before applying a finish.

     

    The timber really started getting messy with the mud on my boots getting trampled all over it and even after a gurney it didn’t look all that great. I decided to get a floor sander in to sand the deck. This would get the joins in the timber to be nice and smooth and give the timber a nice finish. He offered to oil the deck too and as I was trying to get it complete I said yes. He used Sikkens, which is what everyone was recommending to me so I was happy with him to go ahead. I was also fast running out of time to get it done by the deadline and this gave me some time to get a BBQ and outdoor setting reading for the upcoming birthday party.

     

    I knew the timber would come up better after a sand but I didn’t realise how much. Wow. I was a bit reluctant, having done so much of the deck myself, to let someone else work on it. I wasn’t sure if the price was really worth it for a sand but as soon as I saw the result after the first run with the floor sander I was happy. It came up beautifully. The guy did a sand with a floor sander which took off enough of the top layer of timber to fill two big black plastic bags. He then did a fine sand then a buff.

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    Now the rain was still hanging around and this was going to be a problem. I purchased three large tarps from Supercheap, secured them to the roof and ground so that the deck could get oiled without getting wet. I was told the Sikkens is ok once it is applied if it gets a little wet, but you cant put it down if the surface is wet.

  11.  

     

    First coat down.

     

    The rain didn’t let up for the next few days. The floor sander hoped to get the sand and three coats down in two days. It took him four with the last coat being done on a Saturday morning because of the rain. There was still a few days before the party but unfortunately, even though the deck was complete, the Sikkens just did not dry enough. I could walk on it but it was still tacky and I couldn’t put the outdoor setting plus the BBQ and the party people on the deck. It was still raining and miserable on the day so we had the party inside anyway, BBQ out the back of the garage.

     

    I haven’t done the math on what it ended up costing, but it was still much cheaper than paying someone to do it even with all the over-engineering. I think I got a better result too, some new tools to play with and it kept me busy for a while. I still have the receipts and if Im feeling keen Ill sit down one day and add it all up.

  12.  

     

    Eventually it dried, everything was moved outside. The deck is solid, no creaking and looks great. Im extremely happy with it. A big thanks to my family and Megan’s family for their help, Megan for her patience and the renovate forum for the ideas. Would I do it again? Give me a little time to forget the hard parts. There was a bit of hurting when I stretched some of the muscles I haven’t used for a while, especially your back. After a while though the muscles stop complaining and the pain goes away.