A Project Takes Shape

The deck at the front entry of this lakeside home was a good design, with two nice benches, and the customer was happy with the layout. However, the wood was in sorry shape, dried out and damaged. We decided to try to save as much framing and structure as possible. This was not much of a cost-saving strategy, as it was labor intensive, but it kept some good lumber out of the landfill. Sistering new structural components to the existing frame allowed us to strengthen and level the deck.

For decking, we selected Brazilian Ipe, a very hard, durable, and handsome wood, popular for decks. I generally will not use tropical hardwoods; the industry and history of these harvests are just too exploitative, environmentally and socially. The distributor of this brand of Ipe has a reputation for ethical and sustainable practices. We need to address these issues regularly and routinely. Sourcing materials is part of the job, along with designing and hammer-and-nail carpentry.

"Before": the deck was looking pretty sad.

We saved what framing we could. The new structural materials would be as strong as a new deck.

Brazilian Ipe, with hidden fasteners, makes for a beautiful deck.

The design of the original deck was fine; we made few changes.

I have used this corner detail on lots of decks. Mitered corners can gap and twist over time; this pattern will look good for years.

The customer is happy with the entry to their home.