Monday, September 21, 2015

Redneck Pallet Deck 3 Summers Later

This was a home improvement project interrupted. I started the project with gusto, then got preggo. By the time the pallets were leveled out I was too big to bend over and secure the planks. Shoot, I couldn't even reach down and tie my own shoes, Dear Hubby had to do that for me.

There is a 3 year difference between these photos. Keep reading to see the in-between years.

Fast forward two years later and my little babe is old enough to keep himself somewhat occupied which means I can get back to the project. Its showing some wear and tear:
After one year...wrong sealer, I think

Recap Collage
 Click Here for Original Post

I read several blog posts & watched many Youtube videos on DIY pallet decks and it was common to leave the pallet boards in we did too...


What I wish I'd considered...

This is ALOT of work but would help with the water/mildew problem. I didn't do this step, partially because I am lazy and partially because I thought the original pallet boards & frame would add stability. This is probably true, I just wasn't counting on the water damage, although a few years it would get worse.

Fix #1: finish the "sidewalk" entry from the door to the deck
portion from the door to the island deck

pulled off top pallet boards
then added deck boards
hopefully will eliminate the mildew growth

 Fix #2: fix the edging and other loose boards
 My first "fix," adding lattice around the bottom, was a fail. A squirrel ran under the deck and a guest's dogs tried to capture it, they tore thru part of the lattice...and the grass...and made a big hole. All wasted effort on the dogs's part, the squirrel was unharmed...all damage was too the yard and deck. 

I dare you evil squirrel to get under the deck this year!

While fixing the edge we removed this board and discovered yucky mildew. EWWWWW! The sprinkler's hit here. Is it normal for decks to grow mildew? My friend recently bought a house and had to tear out the deck stairs due to rot...but not sure how old her deck was. Anyways, this board was tossed and replaced (new one's under my foot). 

During the stripping phase (more on that below) I noticed several boards were a bit wobbly...because we didn't use enough screws. One screw in the middle of the board does not a secure deck make. Use at least two!

Then, ... a more serious wobbly presented itself. Due to 1. improper sealing, 2. tilting due to improper screwing, and 3. prolonged snow/ice exposure, the corner was beginning to cave in.

The arrow shows where the snow never really melted for two winter seasons, the worst corner of the deck (see pic below of what happened under). On the flip side, the boards under the play house were in great shape and retained the original sealant.

Other sources of water damage: water table, kids swimming pool, letting kids make a "car wash" on the deck, finding kids running thru the sprinkler placed on the deck, and normal weather.

After adding all those screws, they were unscrewed and the boards lifted to peek underneath. This is the after-shot (to the left). Almost all the top pallet boards were rotted enough (not all the way thru, yet) to warrant removal. AND, enough space had existed between the pallet boards and the deck boards that the residue of swept dirt and leaves was trapped between the boards and decomposing. (You can see the dirt stuck to the bottoms of the deck boards.)

There were even earthworms chowing down on the gunk!!! Forgot to get a picture of that. They were tossed into the lawn.

As said above: I would highly recommend removing the pallet boards and just using the frame if you plan on doing this. 

Since this is a redneck deck, I added additional support with pavers and cinderblock. Its what was on hand.

Fix #3: Re-do Sealer...after you strip the deck 

This took ALOT of work!!! There were muscles I'd forgotten about that ached afterwards. 
1. Sand, 2. Strip (sooooooo time consuming), 3. Apply Sealer according to the manufacturing instructions. 

To create a more durable surface I went with Behr's Deck Over in Dark Walnut. For a more in-depth review of Behr DeckOver, Click Here.

After one coat of DeckOver.
You can see the lighter areas in between the boards. Prior to applying the second coat, I ran a brush between the boards and over some of the larger cracks that needed filling.
 Horrible lighting, the sun was on the other side of the house, but here it is after the second coat (UGH, those fences are UGLY...HOA replacing them next year).

And what's a new deck without some "new" furniture. Scored these chairs on a "treasure hunt" on trash day. This neighborhood tosses out some amazing stuff!

Pallet Deck Tips: 
1. Remove pallet boards and only use the frame. 
2. Use the correct amount of screws per deck board.
3. Apply a good sealer, its worth the extra $$$. 
4. Eliminate prolonged water exposure to the deck. 

Would I do this again? Probably not. Its a lot of work to level the pallets...not all are created equal...its a lot of work to remove pallet boards...and after all that, some deck boards are still a bit uneven. IF I were to make a deck in the future I would shell out the money for a Sawzall Reciprocating Saw as used here:
or simply go with a traditional deck frame.

I hope this follow up helps those of you considering this approach. I'd love to hear how yours turns out...or how its holding up if you already have one. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Zoo Print Shelf Makeover

One of my decorating mottos is, "one can never have too many shelves," and it has evolved over the course of home ownership. One of our first home improvements was adding custom shelves to a recessed window, and my infatuation with horizontal wood at predicable distances apart has not faded...almost the opposite!

So I was THRILLED to find these shelves sitting on the curb on trash day (my friend's neighborhood throws out the best stuff, its my second favorite place to "treasure hunt"). While there were two of them, one had significant water damage  on one end. I took both anyways and cut off the damaged cube, shoved the remaining two cubes under my craft desk and loaded it up with scrapbook paper. Now I have the corner of my desk back. :)

The other one went into my son's room. He's needed some updated storage now that he and his sister have their own toys verses sharing toys. (It was so much easier when they were toddlers together and played with the same things.)
He's a shot of the "during" phase. Each shelf took 1&1/4 pages of large scrapbook paper. First they were Mod Podged on, allowed to cure for 24 hours (aka the-kids-came-home-from-school-and-chaos-ensued-and-it-was-nearly-24-hours-until-I-was-alone-again-to-finish-the-project), then Mod Podged over to seal it. 

That is my son standing to the right of the box. He truly loves green, of any shade. And that is the outfit he chose to wear to school.

Fashion advice from a five year old:  all shades of a color match.

Texted this image to my husband, his reply was, "Wow, that's a lot of green."

After the shelf was placed in his closest he shut the door and stayed there for over half an hour. Totally thought he'd fallen asleep, it is rare for him to be quiet and still, very rare. Instead he was busy organizing his books, library style, with the spine outwards, and arranging his treasured stuffies. This kid LOVES his stuffies.  Later he arranged his stuffies as guards to protect his wallet, which was safely tucked into the top box. 

That poor monkey stuffed in the box. His sad bulging eyes pleading, "Let me out!"
These green zoo print shelves round out his already "wild animal" decor. Click on the links below to see posts related to his room. 

And just about every version of zoo animal clings found on clearance are stuck on these walls. He gets to move them around as he wishes. We have some very creative zoo scenes involving flying monkeys, hippos, and giraffes. Such an active imagination! 

The perfect room for my little monkey. :) 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Found Topless

The end table, that is, not me. Everything here is all tucked in where it should be. The only top missing is for this interesting end table, maybe in the bottom of the dumpster I fished it out of? I was only willing to dig so deep, ya know? Take home the treasure, not the smell.

Topless, it almost looks upside down, but its not. We tried it that way, too, just to make sure.

And yes, my little girl's room really is that messy. She takes after me. :)

Here we are in the basement, our playroom/laundry room/storage unit/craft room (we like to make the most of our space), swapping out boards and planks to see what fits. FINALLY I agreed to cut up an old shutter that was buried in the corner of the corner (there was no actual argument with anyone...just me mentally agreeing with the hoarding inner-self that swore that there was no reason to slice the shutter up...even though I've done NOTHING with it for the past three years). 

The addition shutters were previously made into a very sturdy shutter-shelf which has held up extremely well the past three years. Click Here to see it, nothing fancy at all, just functional. The shutter boards are much better wood quality than the actual end table which isn't wobbly or anything, just not solid wood. 

Ran a Dremel along the edges to round out the cuts. Used a bit of wood filler for the gauges left from pulling out the screws but left the cutsy holes and scratches for character.

 At one point my daughter asked if I was going to make this look old. 

Nah, not this time, I said.

 Her response? "To be honest, I don't like it when you make things look old." 

Oh bless your heart child for your tactful truthfulness. She's so polite! Good to know we're doing something right, in parenting that is, just not in painting furniture according to her, lol. 

We recently purchased a handcrafted loft bed to create additional play space in her bedroom that she shares with her baby brother (there we go again maximizing our space, why settle for one use on a room, huh?).  The guy threw in half a gallon of paint leftover from the project so we used this for the end table. Its Rainbow Dash blue (not really, but in her mind it is) and she is THRILLED to have her bed frame and table the same color as her favorite My Little Pony. 

Added some scrapbook paper inside and along the edges and called it done. Its my favorite part of this project. (sealed the paper with Mod Podge so it doesn't rip while sliding in and out)

My little girl was so excited to have a book shelf, she carefully and thoughtfully arranged her stories. Chapter books to the left, story collections to the right, and everything else sandwiched in the middle. Maybe a future librarian? 



awwwww, thanks Rainbow Dash

what do you think? 

The Dedicated HouseClick Here

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Spindle Chalkboard

Happy Back-to-School-Season! My kiddos are LOVING their teachers and friends, old & new. Makes this momma happy. Already their spongy brains are soaking up the reading and math skills and we're swelling with pride! 

The only drawback to school is loosing our slow-start mornings. I didn't realize how draining it had been on me until Friday afternoon when I went to pick up my son from daughter's testing was earlier that day so she had a friend over while her brother was at school. We rushed out the door to drop off her friend and pick up her brother, I'm not known for my punctuality but am trying to change was whirlwind trip trying to be on time. 

While waiting for my son I noticed that my feet felt funny. Looking down I saw this:
Yep, ran out the door so fast I slipped on two different flip flops. My daughter started laughing loudly which caused many parent heads to turn my way. Oh goodie. Well, hopefully this will be the most embarrassing thing to happen this year. ~fingers crossed~ 

And back to the chalkboard: 

This isn't the final resting place for this chalkboard. Originally I was hoping to set it on top of my cabinets, but its about half an inch too tall. I'm in the process of making a shelf over the sink, so maybe there? We'll see. Crafting and decorating is pretty fluid around here.

The chalkboard part is two pieces of wine crate dividers glued together. The spindles came from a dumpster dive-rescue. This dumpster was loaded with many fun things that I'm still utilizing nearly a year after raiding it.

Spindles were coated with homemade stain. Afterwards I just wasn't feeling the whole "chair" look so the top was nixed and the spindles were adjusted to fit the sides. The top and bottom were remnant pieces of wood stained in Minwax walnut. 

Turned out perfect for the farmhouse look we're going for. 

There is another chalkboard nearly complete. Will share that soon. 

PhotobucketClick Here