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  • Writer's pictureSheryl Lyons

DIY Deck Build - 100% Salvaged Materials

My old front deck collapsed while I was working on refinishing a post & beam on the front of my house. The deck was there when I bought the house, and beyond cutting off the railings and adding a coat of deck stain, I didn't give it much thought. That lasted for 14 years until I pried off two deck boards to see the bottom of the post. In the middle of an overwhelming project, I had to gather the wreckage of my former deck and shove it off to the side behind the garbage cans.

I had never seen what was under the deck, and if you had given me 1,000 guesses, I never would have guessed a square of loose dirt, an odd slab of unlevel concrete, and a rectangle of nice concrete.

Since I was already in the middle of too many DIY projects, I couldn't be bothered to come up with my dream entryway solution right now. I had to develop a band-aid solution to make the space functional and buy me a year or two. And when I say functional, I mean solid surface. This is the only covered outdoor space I have, and I often use this space to gather items to donate or take to the dump. Basically, I needed to cover the dirt. My solution was to reuse the previous deck boards to create a new floating deck to cover the dirt.

I had never built a deck, but it didn't need to be a structural marvel; it needed to cover the dirt, a mysterious metal box in the corner, and a sewer cleanout. It sounded like a fun little project to help me further my DIY knowledge.

Since I was using salvaged materials, I had to create the design using the board lengths on hand. That's how I came up with the diagonal design; I thought it would allow me to use the various-sized boards I had while building the fewest supports. That idea was sound enough in theory, but in practice, I realized that I had to make way more supports than if I had just used the boards in a straight design. I also had to miter cut both sides of every board, which created more waste than I wanted. I've got mitered off-cuts all over the place looking for a purpose. It will also make it more difficult for me to reuse those boards in a future project.

Despite the mitered board misgivings, I thoroughly enjoyed building this little floating deck, and it helped me establish my new DIY mindset: no stress, no timelines, no expectations. Just enjoy the process! 😀👍

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