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. 


  1. How clever to use the pallets to build the deck! I can see that it would be quite a bit of work,
    but it looks amazing. Great job!


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