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Repair Your Deck Railing and Stairs

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Welcome to the south where from May to September we are graced by full sun and heat from about 6:00 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. Since our deck faces east it has taken a BEATING! We had no idea how expensive decks were to build and that maintenance and repair of our deck was so important.
Time: 2 Weeks Difficulty: Challenging
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
We never sealed our deck and if we power washed it, that only happened a handful of times, I know, rookie move! Current standards suggest once per year as well as sealing the wood with a waterproofer at least.
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
Here's our deck in May, looking scary and the stairs were wobbly! Last year we noticed some rot on the stair railing and loose spindles and in a blink of an eye the spindles could be pulled off with one hand and the guard rail was about half of it's original size. The stair treads were lifting and warping, had nails protruding out, they were a hazard!
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
My husband helped with a lot of the demolition of the deck, actually it was more like a deconstruction because we were saving the posts and stringers so we had to be careful removing the stair treads, railing, etc. I have a few tips on the subject if you plan to do the same in a short video on YouTube with a link on my blog.
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
Next it was time to tackle new stair treads. With 15 stair treads to cut and attach I thought it would look better and more efficient if the replacement stair treads were wider, like the full depth leaving me to cut and attach 15 rather than 30 boards if we had stayed with the 6" deck boards.
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
Of course I didn't want to assume that was o.k. so I asked around and what I learned was that it's very common now to use a 2x12 for stair treads. When considering the length of the board to purchase, I opted to get the 8 foot boards, our existing stair treads measure 42" wide, so I could yield two stairs per board, only needing 8 total. That was doable, easier to transport plus much easier for me to move and cut, the 2x12x8 boards weigh almost as much as me!
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
I attached each new stair tread to a stringer with 3 3" deck screws.
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
For the new railing I added a 2x4 to the inside of the posts rather than the center of the 4x4 post. The guardrail and/or handrail would normally be added right after this but I was still deciding whether to keep the 4x4 posts at the top of our stairs and the posts around the deck railing. Additionally, when building a new deck, "code" recommends/requires a handrail separate from the guardrail so be sure to check for your specific location.
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
Spindles/baluster
I have an overstock warehouse in my area, Loading Dock South. They sell spindles for about .60 each I believe. If you don't have an overstock warehouse nearby you can pick these up at any Home Depot or Lowe's for a little more than $1.00 each. It was lucky for me to get them so discounted since we had about 100 spindles to replace!
I was very anxious about replacing the spindles, I knew that I would obsess over attaching them evenly and straight without taking forever. So again my awesome brother in law shared his process to ease my anxiety and now I'll share with you.
  • how to repair your deck railing and stairs, decks, diy, home maintenance repairs, how to, outdoor living, stairs, woodworking projects
For the rest of the story please visit my blog which includes links to two helpful YouTube video's with several more tips and me a hot mess building this railing!

To see more: http://www.diygirlcave.com/repair-deck-railing-and-stairs/

Got a question about this project?

  • Mary Evans Baldwin

    You are so talented!! Great work!
    Love ya, MB

    • Holly Prim
      Holly Prim Birmingham, AL

      @Mary Evans Baldwin Sweet Mary!!! You're on Hometalk now? Yay!!! You will love it! Be sure to check out the Q&A Boards, you have a wealth of knowledge to share!

  • Donncha2000

    Looks beautiful! Good choice of color .

    • Holly Prim
      Holly Prim Birmingham, AL

      @Donncha2000 Thanks Donna! It was my third sample before I finally got it right!

  • Connie K
    Connie K Kennesaw, GA

    What a beautiful transformation! Our deck looks very similar to your "before" deck. wish I were still young enough to do so much DIY. I miss the fun (and challenges), but you have inspired me to have mine redone soon. It's very hard to turn things

    • Connie K
      Connie K Kennesaw, GA

      @Holly Prim I'm waiting too (here outside of Atlanta) for the cooler weather to have our deck redone. This is not the season for outdoor painting in this area of the country. Oh, and I'm having our porch area screened in when the deck is redone. Its

  • Liz W
    Liz W Fuquay Varina, NC

    WOW! Bravo. As a slight woman myself who tackles big projects, I now have no apprehension to begin my front porch repairs. Great job.Thanks for the boost

  • Dplane.sat

    When I moved into my newly acquired mobile home last year, there were no stairs at the back door, so my sisters and I (my age is 64, theirs were 66 and 68 at the time) built the back stairs out of 2x6's and landscape timbers. My neighbors gathered

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