Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford
Repairing a Wood Deck and Building a Pergola Shade Arbor
By: Danny Lipford
The wood deck and tile covered concrete patio on the back of Mike and Maureen James’s house had deteriorated over time and were in need of repair to improve the outdoor living area on the back of their house.
Deck and patio makeover projects included:
- Remove Decking: We started by removing the old decking and jacking up any sagging deck joists underneath it.
- Build Pergola: Pressure treated wood posts were set in the ground, and a pergola shade arbor constructed over it.
- Install Decking: New decking made from YellaWood 2” x 6” KDAT (Kiln Dried After Treatment) pressure treated pine lumber was attached to the deck joists using 3” coated deck screws.
- Patio Repair: The tile on the patio were removed and a motorized grinder used to smooth out the concrete patio slab. After any cracks had been filled with Quikrete Mortar Repair Caulk, a concrete sealer was applied.
- Rain Diverter: To keep rainwater from splashing on the deck and damaging the door to the house, a sheet metal rain diverter was installed under the roofing over the doorway.
- Repair Outdoor Furniture: The broken plastic webbing on the patio furniture was replaced with durable nylon webbing. Holes were drilled in the chair frame and sheet metal screws used to hold the webbing in place. The furniture was sanded, repainted, and the cushions replaced.
Read episode article to find out more.
- How to Build a Wood Deck (video)
- How to Install Wooden Deck Boards (video)
- Tips for Building a Shade Arbor (video)
- Cleaning and Staining a Concrete Patio (video)
- How to Install a Rain Diverter (video)
Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re transforming a worn outdoor living space into a spot the owners can enjoy all year long.
Maureen James: It just doesn’t look very attractive, therefore nobody really wants to go out there. Everybody just stays inside.
Danny Lipford: Maureen James has owned this home for several years, but recently things have changed a bit.
Maureen James: About a year ago, I got married. So when we got married, now he’s living here as well.
Danny Lipford: Maureen and her new husband Mike have combined their households and their families.
Mike James: We have, between the two of us a total of 7 kids, 5 in college. And when they all come home, it is quite an event when everybody’s here. It becomes a Brady bunch at that point.
Danny Lipford: Oddly enough, the backyard deck has become the point of contention.
Mike James: Well, the deck’s always been my focal point. I’m an outside kind of person.
Maureen James: I hate the way the posts apparently were up there for some reason, then they chopped them off, so now there’s these little pieces of wood out there that just don’t fit with the rest of it.
And it just—the paint job on it and everything, it just doesn’t look very attractive and therefore nobody really wants to go out there. Everybody just stays inside.
Danny Lipford: So the outdoor living area is our challenge.
Mike James: Well Danny, here’s the outside area that I was talking about. As you can see, the wood was in pretty bad shape. I attempted to put a sealer on it last year and, the results were less than spectacular.
Danny Lipford: Well Mike, I’ll have to say I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a deck quite like this. What are some of the things you’d like to see out here?
Maureen James: Well for one thing, I would love to have some shade over the deck because in the summertime it gets so hot out here. In August, I bet it feels like it’s 150 out here.
Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah.
Maureen James: And so therefore I tend to stay in the house. I don’t want to come out.
Danny Lipford: And let’s see, what direction is this? Is this west?
Mike James: Yes, the afternoon sun.
Danny Lipford: Oh, afternoon sun. Oh, well of course. Yeah, you got a lot of—a lot of problem with that. Well, there’s a number of ways we can… we can do something with that. And what about this interesting patio? Now, you’ve been here a few years…
Maureen James: Yes, I have.
Danny Lipford: Did you install it?
Maureen James: No, I did not. I’m happy to say I didn’t before you make a rude comment about it. Because it is really ugly, and that’s one thing I would really like to see changed.
Danny Lipford: OK. All right, because I see they apparently had an old slab and they glued this down. I noticed a little dip in the action over there.
Mike James: Yeah, it’s a slight little dip there, and I tried to hide it by putting this coating on there and I’ve just gone from bad to worse.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, yeah. You know, one of the things we might find, once we explore this a little bit, is this amount of water that’s coming this way. You know, I can see that it diverts a little bit there, but that may be one of the cases.
And you got valleys hitting this, a lot of water, so there’s no telling what we would have underneath here. We might be able to come up with a kind of an interesting shade arbor—gives you an opportunity to run some of the plants up. And I noticed when I drove up, somebody’s buying a lot of plants around here.
Maureen James: That would be him. Yes.
Danny Lipford: So, what’s your, what’s your plans with all those plants and trees? There’s trees out there too, isn’t there?
Maureen James: Yeah, there’s a couple of trees.
Mike James: We got married last June, so I missed the spring plant, so I’m trying to make up for it this year with the trees and the shade—you know, anything to help put some shade on the house and on this deck. Because I like the outside deck. She won’t come out because it’s too hot and she says it still looks bad from where I tried to fix it, so…
Danny Lipford: Aw!
Mike James: Yeah. So…
Danny Lipford: Well, maybe we can rescue all of that. And, well, I’ve got a couple ideas already. I can work on a few things. Why don’t you help me get a few measurements and then we’ll see what we can do in terms of developing a space out here you can really use and one that you can hang in there in the middle of August.
Maureen James: Yes.
Mike James: That sounds great, Danny.
Danny Lipford: So, I worked out a plan to resurface and repair the deck while building a pergola over it to add some shade. Mike and Maureen have cleared out the space. The lumber has arrived and we’re ready to get to work.
Allen Lyle: Oh, that’s an awful lot of lumber.
Danny Lipford: Man, I’ll tell you what. It’ll take a lot by the time we replace all the deck boards and build this cool shade pergola over this whole area. I think it’ll look pretty good. Have you ever seen a deck that looked quite like this?
Allen Lyle: Unique. I guess I would say it’s unique.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. Well, the owner put a coating on it. I don’t know what it looked like before. But, uh…
Allen Lyle: So all of this is coming out.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, all of this coming out. We’ve got a little problem that we need to correct over there, but it’s a fair amount of work.
Allen Lyle: A lot of work. Are we going to have any help here?
Danny Lipford: Oh, they’re gung ho, anxious, and really ready to tear this thing up. With that, we wade into removing those tired ugly deck boards so we can rebuild this thing the right way.
Joe Truini: No matter where you shop these days, chances are you’re going to come home with lots of small plastic bags. The problem is, what do you do with them?
It’s a waste to just toss them out. In most communities, you can’t recycle them. So the best thing is to reuse them. But then how do you store them neatly? Well, here’s one idea.
Use an empty facial tissue box. Just take—here you see I’ve already got about 10 or 12 of them in there now. And you just—when you’re done emptying your groceries or your goods, you just take them and stuff them into the box.
Here’s another 10, so you can see how easily this box will take at least 20 bags. You can probably fit 30 or 40 in there because they compact really tightly once you get all the air squeezed out of them. You just shove them in there—just one or two at a time. There.
Now, the nice thing about this idea is not only are the bags stored conveniently and neatly, but when you’re ready to—if you’re going to use a bag, you want to take one out, you just pull it out one at a time—just like a tissue—and you’re ready to go.
Danny Lipford: We’re rebuilding Mike and Maureen’s weathered and worn deck and adding a pergola for some shade. The first step is removing the old deck boards and these two have jumped right in.
Now, we have to correct a serious sag in the framing of the deck. That really looks like in pretty good shape, thank goodness. I’m not sure what happened over here. This is—what is that—a two-by-eight.
Allen Lyle: Two-by-eight.
Danny Lipford: And…
Allen Lyle: Well look here, there’s—they’re just nailed, one there and one there, into the mortar joist and that’s it.
Danny Lipford: Golly! Looks like it’s probably sunk about an inch and a half or so, according to that—whatever that paint line is there. A string stretched from end to end on the deck shows exactly how much the frame has sagged in the middle.
It also lets us know when we have lifted it enough to remove the sag. Then we support it with post. This deck doesn’t require a handrail because it’s close to the ground, so we’re sawing the old corner post off flush with the joist.
Here, I got it.
Allen Lyle: All right, thanks.
Danny Lipford: We will, however, need to add much larger posts to support the pergola, and setting them is a chore. So, stand it up.
Allen Lyle: Why did you get the shortest man on the end that got to go up the highest?
Danny Lipford: 1, 2, 3. I wasn’t going to say nothing about being short. 1, 2, 3. Oh that was sweet. There you go. Yeah, a pro.
Mike James: Two more?
Danny Lipford: Yep, yep. Awesome.
Allen Lyle: That’s not bad. Give me a little nudge.
Danny Lipford: OK, just lean it back that way…
Allen Lyle: OK.
Danny Lipford: And it’ll scoot itself over. Scoot it over.
Allen Lyle: How about that, anyone got a notebook? Danny was right—one time. Make a—make a note of it.
Danny Lipford: Roll tape on that.
Allen Lyle: One time.
Danny Lipford: Once all the posts are perfectly plumb and tacked in position, we mix some fast-setting concrete to fill in the holes around them. Now, while that dries, we’re marking and cutting the tops of the posts.
The bottom of the two-by-ten that will wrap around the pergola should be level with the bottom of the fascia board on the house. Those two-by-tens are cut at 45-degree angles on the ends so that when they meet in the corners, no end grain will show.
This is a special tool we fixed up just for you. It’s called a beam holder. So install it and lift. The narrower part of the deck only has two posts so the beams sandwich them on either side with a small cap piece on the end.
Well, Mike, I’ll tell you what, I’m glad these two-by-eights are in really good shape.
Mike James: Absolutely.
Danny Lipford: So we’re ready now at this point to go ahead and start putting the deck boards down. Allen’s getting the measurements for that.
But before we do that, I’ll tell you what—why don’t you and I spent a few minutes leveling things off, and more important, try to dig a little ditch here so that the water that comes down off the roof will just flow right on through there. Why don’t you grab a hoe, I’ll grab a rake, and see if we can make a difference on that.
Mike James: All right.
Danny Lipford: Proper drainage under decks is often overlooked but it’s important to protect the deck foundation and reduce mosquitoes, especially in damp climates.
The last step before adding the decking is attaching the skirt board. All right, that’s going to look great. See, we’re using the one-by-twelve treated for the skirt board along the bottom, and a lot of times people will use latticework—which, latticework’s a little overused. And especially when you have just a small area like this, this will make it kind of blend right into the ground.
What were going to do on the edges here, were going to take the board, the two-by-six and move it out three-quarters of an inch. Then we’re actually going to cap it with another one-by-four, just like that. So you can see how it’ll look as we turn this corner 45 and move right on down the line.
This decking is premium KDAT pressure-treated two-by-six from YellaWood. KDAT stands for “kiln-dried after treatment.” that means it can be stained or sealed immediately. Drying the wood evenly in a controlled environment also helps minimize its natural tendency to shrink, cup, and warp.
Now, since the boards won’t shrink, we’re using a number eight nail between each row as a spacer. But instead of nails to fasten the boards, we’re using three-inch coated deck screws. This will ensure that it’ll stay exactly where we put them for a long time.
Driving screws take a little more time than driving nails, so decking fills up the rest of day one. Early on day two, we wrap up some loose ends like adding lag bolts to the beams around the pergola.
Allen Lyle: In case you’re wondering why I’m running these lag screws in after we’ve already nailed it up, it’s really the same reason why we screwed the deck boards down instead of nailing them.
Anyone that’s got a deck that’s been nailed down, you know you’ve seen those nails that pop up, you stub your toe on it. Expansion and contraction of the wood is going to push a nail out. It would do the same thing here. So I’m using these galvanized lag screws, and it’s going to cinch it up, and it won’t move again.
Danny Lipford: Mike and Maureen are very excited about how the back of their house is going to look compared to how it looked before. And we’re ready to really put it together today.
Hey, I got all of the rafters—are already cut and everything sanded. So that’s ready to put on top of our framing. And at this point, it goes together pretty quickly. You guys got everything ready?
Allen Lyle: I got the ladders in place, air gun, I’m ready to go.
Mike James: Customized joist lifter ready to go.
Jodi Marks: You know now that spring has sprung, you need to make sure that your lawn looks really nice. And if you are in the market for a new lawnmower, take a look at this one by Toro.
Now, Toro is great because they’ve got the Personal Pace feature on a lot of their mowers. So the nice thing about the Personal Pace that they provide is the mower doesn’t just propel itself and you keep up with it, it actually adapts to your walking speed so that you’re able to keep your own pace.
Now, another feature which I think really is unique about this mower is—look at this—it’s all wheel drive. Usually propeller mowers either push with the back wheels or pull with the front wheels. But in this particular one, all four wheels are working simultaneously to propel the mower down the lawn.
What does that really translate for you? It means that if you’re working over uneven terrain or just rough ground, it really gives you good traction so that you can get a lot done without worrying about the mower kind of, you know, skimming some of the earth or not getting an even cut.
So if you’re in the market for a good mower, take a look at the Toro.
Danny Lipford: We’re helping Mike and Maureen upgrade their outdoor living area. And while we work on the addition of a pergola over the deck, Chelsea’s helping Maureen with a makeover for their patio furniture.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Are you guys replacing the cushions? I notice this one’s been eaten.
Maureen James: Yeah, I think we might need to go shopping for some new cushions, too.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: OK. Well, we can do that. All right well first, let’s fix that webbing and then we’ll prep everything and then paint ’em. Does that sound good?
Maureen James: That sounds good to me.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right.
Danny Lipford: The old vinyl webbing had fallen victim to dry rot, so Chelsea’s replacing it with some heavy-duty nylon webbing. Instead of using the slots the old vinyl web was tucked into, Chelsea’s drilling new holes in the bottom of the frame to attach the new web with screws. Folding the ends over at 45-degree angles creates a thicker and stronger section for the screws to grab.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right.
Maureen James: We’re good?
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: One down.
Danny Lipford: They soon discover that puncturing the web with a nail first makes driving the screws easier.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Dang, that looks cool.
Maureen James: Yeah.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: We did that!
Danny Lipford: Finally, they’re ready to sand down the frames and add a new coat of paint.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Ooh, that looks good!
Danny Lipford: Meanwhile, Mike, Allen and I have installed all the long rafters for the pergola and we’re checking out the patio just to see how difficult it will be to remove this ugly tile. Oh, yeah, there we go.
Allen Lyle: There we go.
Danny Lipford: Looks like the grout’s going to be harder…I don’t know. What do you think?
Allen Lyle: I’d say let’s go ahead and get all of it off. If we have to, we can grind down the slab a little bit.
Danny Lipford: And Mike, I bet you’re a heck of a grinder operator. Oh, yeah. But for the time being, the work is all manual—chipping and prying up the patio tiles. Fortunately, they aren’t stuck to the slab too well. Then it’s back to carpentry work as we finish the shorter pergola rafters and add the small finger rafters to the side of the larger area.
Then we chalk a line across the overhanging deck boards so we can cut them off all at one time. And then we add that piece of one-by-four to trim out the edge of the deck.
All right, Mike, you got to make another decision here. This should be a pretty easy one. And that’s how we will do the steps to get from this level down to this level. I would suggest doing just a 62-inch step.
Mike James: OK.
Danny Lipford: And then we can just divide the space up like this. Maybe make it a little wider. Maybe take three of the two-by-sixes, about that wide, position it right here.
We can build it but not attach it so that we can—we don’t want to get in the way of your grinding in the morning there. And we can have it ready to go. But I think that would work pretty well. And this is pretty comfortable sitting here anyway if you have a get-together and that kind of thing.
Mike James: Absolutely, that’s great.
Danny Lipford: So Allen builds the step while Mike and I seal up the crack in the patio we discovered earlier while we were chipping tile. This caulk from Quikrete matches the texture of concrete so it won’t create a smooth shiny line once we stain the slab.
In no time at all, we’re test-fitting the step and we’re ready to wrap up the day. Looks great. I tell you what, this has been a pretty good day. All of the woodwork’s done. We can attack that, maybe even get to a few of the bushes and trees tomorrow.
Mike James: Hey, while you’re here, I have—if you just have one minute, there’s one thing I need to show you.
Danny Lipford: Oh this happens all the time.
Mike James: Right over here we, uh, just have this water problem with some new wood floors that we had installed. As you can see, we have a towel down to catch the water.
Danny Lipford: Oh, water’s getting in?
Mike James: And you can see how the water’s already come in, coming straight down from the roof.
Danny Lipford: Oh, that’s starting to buckle up a little bit.
Mike James: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: I tell you what, Mike. I got the perfect thing on the trailer that can divert a lot of this water and kind of solve this problem. It’s called a rain diverter, and it’s simply an L-shaped piece of galvanized metal.
The long side goes up under a row of shingles a foot or so up to the roof. But instead of leveling it, you lower one side to direct the water that way. A few roofing tacks through the metal with some roof repair caulk over the nail heads, and it’s done.
Now, early the next morning, Mike is driving that grinder. It’s hard work, but in no time the rough patio is smooth again.
Well, Allen, what do you think? It looks like it came out pretty smooth.
Allen Lyle: Well, the machine did a good job. It’s polished it up nicely. But I have to tell you, we got staining there from the mortar and the grout, so I really don’t think a translucent stain’s going to work.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, so solid-colored stain.
Allen Lyle: I think solid stain.
Danny Lipford: OK, well Mike, that’s what you’ll need to do. And a gallon will be plenty, so that you can go to the store and get what you want, the right color you want. But a solid color concrete stain, and this will look pretty good.
Mike James: OK.
Danny Lipford: But I’ll tell you what, with the rain and the threat of the rain, we’re not going to be able to do that today. We’ll have to wait on that, tomorrow. But one thing we can help you with—we got a lot of plants out here. You got an idea?
Mike James: Come on. I’ll show you just what I had in mind.
Danny Lipford: All right. So Allen and I finish out this damp, soggy day as landscapers. The sunshine returns the next morning and once the slab is dry, Mike rolls on a coat of solid stain.
After that, Allen can attach his step, and finally the big jobs are done. We’re down to replacing the newly repaired furniture that will make this outdoor living area feel like home.
Danny Lipford: People are always asking me, how can I make my old deck look more like a new one?
Well, the first step is cleaning away all the grime. Apply a deck cleaning solution or a mild bleach detergent mix to the surface with a pump-up garden sprayer. Within minutes, this will loosen the mildew and dirt that cover the wood.
Next, use a pressure washer to blast the crud off of the surface and out of the pores of the wood. Now, it’s important to use care with a pressure washer because it’s concentrated power, and it can easily damage or gouge the wood if you get it too close or you keep it in one spot for very long. Maintain a safe consistent distance from the wood and work slowly to avoid any streaks.
When the wood is thoroughly clean and dry, you can apply a clear sealer or a deck stain. Color or no color is a matter of personal preference, but it’s important that you seal the pores of the wood to keep out moisture that amplifies the expansion and contraction of the wood. That creates cracks and reduces the life of your deck.
Danny Lipford: Mike and Maureen’s deck and patio were underutilized because they were worn and a bit ugly. The age of the deck had taken a toll despite Mike’s attempt to revive it.
The sagging boards were obvious from across the yard and the tile that covered the patio wasn’t terribly attractive or secure. Plus, there was no shade to be found anywhere, and the patio furniture was a little worse for the wear.
Now, the new deck is both sturdy and attractive. The premium two-by-six boards we used are clean and straight, not to mention significantly sturdier. The sag by their bedroom door is now gone, and the new skirt board and trim are much more appealing than the old tired lattice under-skirting.
Above the deck, we’ve added a pergola, which not only creates some shade, it offers great decorating opportunities for the swing and the plants. Plus, it adds another dimension of design to the space, making it feel like a well-designed room rather than simply a backyard.
A simple smooth stain surface replaces the busy cracked tile on the patio, and their existing furniture is a lot more functional and attractive thanks to some clever repairs, a coat of paint, and some brand-new cushions.
Their unused deck area has now really become an outdoor living area they can really enjoy.
All right, that looks great. Thank you. You know, Mike and Maureen are set up for some great family fun this summer. And, you know, this type of project is one that can really evolve. I mean, I can see later on maybe a few speakers out here, more plants, and definitely a hot tub sitting right on the corner of the slab.
And you can have the same thing at your house, and all the information you need to make it happen is at our website at TodaysHomeowner.com.
Hey, thanks so much for being with us. I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you next week right here on Today’s Homeowner.