Spring Project List – Final Update – The Deck

I am excited to share this final Spring Project List update!

Steve and I wrote down this list 5 weeks ago as we looked ahead to our oldest, Chandler’s graduation party.  We knew what we wanted to complete and we set out to get it done before the party.

Some things (not on the list) I had done or started last fall, and I am sure glad I did, because we were plenty busy moving at a full pace tackling these items this spring.

As you probably know from making your own lists, these sorts of lists tend to evolve and some things get added, some things get delayed and some things get removed completely.

Let’s go through the list and see what we accomplished, what we still want to accomplish down the road and what we have decided we can live without.

Since each area is going to take some time and pictures, I decided to do one post per area.  Today we will cover the biggest project – the deck.


  1. decide on color of railing (since last fall it has switched to special order, half the railings are done, half are not) it turns out there is a color that is close enough, so we went with that
  2. finish the brick piers (two were damaged over the winter, we tore them down and now need to rebuild them)
  3. install the L-shaped section of railing
  4. form the floors, prep for pouring and lay down the moisture proof membrane
  5. install the lights, door hardware
  6. pour the deck floor (it will be concrete) and the floor in the room below (we are calling it the pool room for now)
  7. install the remaining sections of railing
  8. caulk around the windows
  9. acid wash the brick and patio
  10. paint inside pool room (this is going to wait), the door and clean the windows
  11. install siding on overhang part of deck
  12. build stairs or a gate
  13. decorate the deck and pool room (can we just skip to this part?!?!?!)

We have lived in our house for 16 years and waited all this time to do the deck because we wanted to save up and build a deck that was maintenance free and went well with the brick on our house.  In the end, we decided on (surprise!) concrete and brick with wrought iron railings.  Because the floor of the deck was going to be poured concrete, the framing involved was so much that it made sense to add a room below the deck.  This room we have come to affectionately call the Pool Room, since we have a pool in the back yard and that room stores most of the toys and towels for the pool.

Graduation Party Project List |www.countingwillows.com

View from house of deck

We have been working for a couple of years on the deck and this spring we started with the structure framed, the windows installed in the pool room and the brick and electrical wiring in place.  We ordered our railings from a local welder last fall and he had built the part that needed to be installed before the concrete was poured, but not the parts that would go in place after the concrete was poured.  Over the winter, the color we had chosen became discontinued, so we had to decide to either recover the railing already made or custom order the color to use on the railings yet to be made (1).  Steve stopped into his shop and after looking at the colors, found one that was very close to the original.  Happily, that decision was an easy one and now that everything is installed you cannot tell that they are two different colors at all (they are separated by the piers, so they do not touch each other).

Graduation Party Project List |www.countingwillows.com

View from patio of deck & pool room

Early this spring, Steve caulked around the windows (8) and washed the brick (brick needs to be washed with acid after it is laid to clean off the haze from the mortar).

Spring Project List Update |www.countingwillows.com

After winter, we realized that two of the pillars needed to be replaced, so Steve and Chandler removed those and Steve and his dad, Leo (a mason by trade) rebuilt them (2).

In preparation for pouring the floors of both the deck and the pool room, Steve and Chandler installed the larger portion of the railing (3) (the part that needed to go in before the concrete was poured), graded the room below, formed the deck and laid down the plastic barrier to protect the wood from moisture (4).

Then the big day finally arrived when we could pour the deck (6)!  It was very exciting for us.  We chose to stamp the concrete so it looks like slate.  How you see it even in my ‘final’ pictures here is not how it will look forever, because it needs to be sealed.  The sealer will darken it a bit and make it look a bit more shiny and finished (you have to wait several weeks before sealing it).  We poured the floor in the pool room at the same time.

Pouring the floor was a big step that kept us waiting on the smaller steps, like installing the lights.  As you can see, we also added stone caps to each of the piers.  Those arrived the week of the party, so Steve was really crossing his fingers when he drilled holes into two of them for the wiring, but it went perfectly and we love the way they finish things off.

Spring Project List - Final Update - The Deck |www.countingwillows.com

We also installed the remaining railings (7), so now the deck is not only fun to enjoy but also safe to enjoy.

AND, we have stairs (12)!  Oh, it is the simple things in life, I tell you.  Steve wrapped these up at 10 pm just 2 nights before the party.  We kept it very simple, using some wood that we had on hand, as well as green treated wood that we purchased.  We will stain it after a year or so, as recommended for treated wood.  Our pets love that they can lounge on the deck but have access to the yard when they want.  They have been spending a lot of time out there, and of course, so have we!


Wrapping up the work on the deck, Steve installed the soffit and fascia on the overhang portion of the deck (11).  I painted the trim around the door (10) and Steve installed the door knob and lock (5).  Alex and I cleaned the windows (10) of the pool room – both inside and out.  It took a long time, but once we figured out to use a razor blade to scrape off the concrete, it went much faster.

Spring Project List - Final Update - The Deck |www.countingwillows.com

We decided that we just could not tackle the inside finishing of the pool room before the party and now that we are on the other side of the party, I will say that was a good call.  We could not have done it without pulling an all-nighter or two, and I am just too old for that business.  So we will work on that slowly – I am picturing a beach-y, nautical (understated) theme with white-washed plank walls and some built-in storage.

Spring Project List - Final Update - The Deck |www.countingwillows.com

In the meantime, I did what I could and arranged our towels, pool toys and pool supplies in the room so we can use it this summer to store our things.  Chandler has also already had some friends over and they hung out in the room, which acts as a screened in porch as well.  That is very handy in the land of mosquitoes!

Spring Project List - Final Update - The Deck |www.countingwillows.com

I did get my decor fix on the deck, which I decorated on a budget with plants, furniture we already had and a few key additions such as a new umbrella and a grill cover.  We did remove the sides of our grill (one was a counter, one was a burner that we never used), so it fits back into that nook in the corner.  With the cart, we have plenty of counter space and it has allowed us both to use that awkward space and keep the main space from getting too crowded.

Spring Project List - Final Update - The Deck |www.countingwillows.com

Spring Project List - Final Update - The Deck |www.countingwillows.com

It was a long time coming, but so worth the wait.  We are absolutely thrilled with the results!


I am happy to report that Chandler has not yet parked his truck on the deck (ha ha), so we are enjoying it every day.  Just this morning I drank my tea on the deck and enjoyed the cool beginning to the day.

Have a lovely weekend!



Sharing our deck at Remodelaholic.

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