It has been a few weeks and a lot has happened at Chestnut Place.  Lets talk front deck restoration...

The front deck looks okay from far away.  Up close you realize the cheap composite decking is completely swollen and the rails are made of super thin plastic that actually pull off the posts if you lift them up.  This deck will be key to our curb appeal when a buyer walks up.  It will be the first thing that grabs their attention and we don't want a potential buyer to think we took the cheap route.  The rail is coming off to simplify the look and the decking is getting replaced.

After demolition we were left with good framing but the steps are going to need some work.  After removing the rails we realize that the posts are just sleeves on galvanized pipe.  This definitely does not scream quality.  My plan is to cut the posts off eliminating the rail all together.  In Massachusetts the building code reads if a deck has a max of 2 steps you do not need a railing.  My plan is to eliminate a step, make the risers 8" high and cover the entire thing with decking.  It will make it a much more appealing and simple design as well as open up the look of the entire entrance.  The best part is we are using existing framing saving tons of time and money.

We ended up going with a 1 x 4 Mahogany decking to give it a higher quality natural wood finish.  It also helped to find it on clearance at

Stonewood Products

in Harwich Ma.  They sell closeout lumber that is not only cheap, but really nice quality.  After toying around with the idea of hidden fasteners we decided it was proving to take too much time to execute than we originally thought.  I had a few coils of stainless ring nails left over so I ended up shooting it down with a gun to save time and money.  It's such a small deck that you don't even notice the nails until you are up close.  We are also hoping a buyer is already noticing the sleek black front door we are putting in when they are standing on it.  More on that later...

One large step leads up to the surface instead of two short steps  This makes the walk up much more comfortable and also keeps it well within the code.  The last think we need is an inspector making us rip this apart due to insufficient steps.

Once the decking is down we used a sealer so it doesn't crack or warp.  We didn't want to lose the natural look so we're using a hardwood oil that is almost clear.  Originally I was looking for

Australian Timber Oil

but had a hard time finding it locally.  This brand,

"SuperDeck,"

was recommended by a local paint store and ran $32 a quart, not cheap but it worked really well. One thing to keep in mind is that you want to soak up the end grains with several coats, or use a beeswax to keep the ends from splitting.

After lightly sanding by hand, blow off the surface and wipe clean with a dry cloth.  Use a foam pad to spread the oil letting it puddle up and soak in for a few minutes before wiping with rag.  If it still looks dry do it a second time.  I really like this method not only for the look, but for the fact that it goes on super quick and once you get one or two coats on you are done.  No need to sand and paint it again.  Moving forward you can let it weather and turn grey or wipe a new coat on once a year leaving it looking brand new.  (or for the occasional house party) If you choose to re apply make sure to give it a light power wash before applying.

The end result is a clean natural looking surface.

Before...

After...  And yes.  I kicked over the $32 can of oil.  Don't do that...

Next post - power washing and exterior painting!

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