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DIY porch renovation: frame, plane and stain

Guest blogger and DIY guy Jay Hiltz tackles the second phase of his deck renovation project--framing, planing and staining...

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The second installment from DIY guy and guest blogger Jay Hiltz on his recent deck project (click here to read his previous post)

The second phase was to frame out the deck. I wanted to keep the deck as close to ground level as possible so, we used rough-cut 2×4 and stood them on their edge. Perhaps a carpentry faux pas, as most would use 2×6 for extra strength. But since we were building directly on the concrete slab, I wasn’t as worried about needing the extra support.

We had pre-cut as much of the lumber as possible to the needed sizes, so framing went fairly quickly. I decided I wanted to extend and wrap the deck around to the front of the house, ever so slightly. It wasn’t large enough to add any significant square footage but gave enough room to sit two chairs comfortably. At times, there are those little things in life that you want for no clear reason and this was one of them. It took a bit more work but in the end it was a small addition that, for me, raised the aesthetic value from a basic rectangular-shaped deck to a bout of “architectural brilliance.”

Once the framing was complete, we milled and planed the decking boards for the surface, cutting them into 5-inch wide boards. We used mainly pine and spruce—not a common choice for decking. Something like cedar is more resilient to the elements; however, with a good can of stain and sealer, my dad has always been one to prove the professionals wrong (DIY on a dime). We’ve used softwood on other decking projects and 15 years later, they are still going strong. We chose to use screws over nails to fasten the boards down. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s easier down the road when replacing rotting boards.

Choosing the colour of stain is always challenging.  I was torn between dark ebony or a natural cedar colour—quite opposite. After weighing my options, I decided to go light, figuring that if I didn’t like it, I could always go dark later. To add another visual element, I decided to stain the fascia boards with an opaque white. I felt that staining everything the same colour would have been too much cedar. The white fascia board also matched the white baseboard of the exterior siding on the house. It was an added detail that made the deck look more like it was part of the house rather than an add-on structure.

I like details. Small visual details that might sound like a waste of time to some (*ahem* my dad) are what distinguish a space, enhancing the final product. Click here to read Jay’s previous post.

  1. Janice Hudson

    Glad you chose the lighter stain, Jay. It’s bright and fun and I think it will wear really nicely, too.

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