What did Hubby do? Well, first, he took out a set of steps that turned out to be rotting, anyway. (Good move, honey!) Then he took out a portion of the upper deck that had been built past the skimmer. This enabled us to be able to get to the lower side of the skimmer without crawling under the deck. (Something that was necessary when, last summer, the hose exiting the skimmer burst suddenly - the day before a week-long vacation!) Then he added on to the deck so that you could walk from the existing deck all the way past the skimmer. To do this, he added two diagonal sections of decking, which you can see in the pictures below. Those steps on that side of the deck? Moved around to the side with new handrails and better footing. (Before, the wooden steps just rested on the ground. Not good for keeping them from disintegrating!)
On Saturday, he finished putting up the basics for the railings; that was a two-weekend project. Yesterday, we stained the deck. (It happened to have rained - the first time in more than two weeks - on Thursday. We needed two full days without rain before we could stain the deck, and if we didn't do it yesterday it would have been weeks before we could get to it.)
Both girls helped us out with staining the 4x4's, as well as the ends of the 2x6's. After that, they decided the pool was going to be more fun than helping us stain the floor of the deck. (Honestly, I argued in favor of this approach. It was easier for the two of us to get the entire floor of the deck finished without them.)
So here's the photo journal of the day!
Before the railings.The railings start to take shape!
The girls help sweep before we begin staining!
Ready for staining!
Hubby is ready, too.
If you look closely, you can see Little Girl bent over and painting the railing behind Big Girl. (I swear I was working before this; I had taken a break to drink something - it was 90 degrees! - and took this picture of my busy family.)
As we were wrapping up, I realized that even though I'd done half the work on the floor of the deck, and a good portion of the railings and sides, there were NO pictures of me working. As I was finishing the step, I told Hubby, "Go get the camera and take a picture of me working, please. I've worked hard all day and there aren't any pictures of me doing anything!" Not that I look very good here, but let's face it: when you are in the middle of staining a deck this size, you really aren't out for a beauty prize, you know? ;)
Whew! Finished at last!
Here are a couple of pictures from this morning:
Next step: balusters! Hubby actually recycled about half of the wood on the deck, and he saved as many balusters as he could. They've been cleaned off and he's started drilling the pilot holes in them so that we can stain them all and attach them after they're dry. If we had attached them before the staining, I think it would have added 50% more time to the project. As it is, from the taping-off and sweeping to the clean-up, it was about a four-hour job. And if the girls had not helped us by staining the 4x4's and the ends of the 2x6's, I can't imagine how much longer it would have taken!
I'll take more pictures when we've got the balusters up, not to mention when Hubby gets the grill and the new bar and barstools set up. The last step will be getting toppers for the rails. We're planning on getting composite decking for that, with the exception of the diagonal next to the pool. For that, we're getting a 1x12 and making a small tray-like area for people to put drinks. That'll help keep the electrical socket out of sight, plus it will provide extra surface area.
I cannot express how proud I am of Hubby for working on this deck. With the exception of the electrical work and staining, he did this whole thing himself. And it was NOT easy, especially when he was trying to salvage as much of the wood as he could. (In case you are wondering, he flipped the boards over. The topsides were a mess, but the underside looked great on most of them!) This project has been so tiring for him, and at times it was overwhelming, but he kept at it and has achieved some really beautiful results!