Natural Deck Resurrection

From rot decay to total renewal this deck is transformed

Project Summary 

Wood species like cedar and redwood are beauties to behold and even in our tough Minnesota climate they hold up exceedingly well. However, there are limits as this homeowner discovered after more than 20 years of deck-life. Upon inspection we discovered not only were the deck boards showing decay, the framing and support posts also had issues. The original install at the four season porch level was also found to be done improperly, without proper flashing or clearance between decking and patio door sill and so there was considerable rot damage there as well. We repaired the connection between the 4 season porch and deck, the deck structure that was compromised, put down new cedar decking and we stained everything with Storm System Cat 2 semi-transparent cedar tone oil finish. The effect is dramatic, the look unique, and while low maintenance composites are trending, there is something to be said for going all natural.

View from pool side of entire multi-tiered structure.


Existing condition before work began. YIKES! Note replacement deck board signaling extent of dirt and pollen discoloring existing decking. Mom always said to wash behind your ears from time to time. Turns out the same is true for decks.—Mom was sooo smart!

Above, water damage and rot is uncovered at the point where the deck meets the 4-season porch. Note support post rotted out from base exposed to moisture over decades. On the surface decks can look worn or even show signs of obvious decay, but until you uncover the foundation behind the surface you can't have any real idea about what's going on. This is why quoting pricing over the phone can be hazardous and unintentionally misleading.


With the multitude of overhanging trees this deck will need to be power washed every other year to keep it looking good. Leaves that collect and are not removed, but remain over the winter will leave stain marks and degrade the appearance. Homeowners maybe surprised that even synthetic/composite materials also need to be washed every couple of years to keep them looking good. There is no such thing as 'MAINTENANCE FREE".

View from corner of 4 season patio door while finish was drying. Note powder-coated aluminum spindles replaced original cedar.
After 3 days of drying it was safe to put the furniture back.
Notice hand-crafted decorative detail on bannister and exceptionally close miter fit. That's craftsmanship!

What gives with the cracks on top of the end cap post? We get this from time to time when dealing the natural products into which good old mother nature imprints some kind of personal character trait like cracks and knots and grain—a quick look in the mirror illustrates the point. This is why people want natural wood in the first place —CHARACTER. Synthetic products are designed to mimic nature and do pretty well in most respects. But if you want perfection, don't ask for natural materials—you won't get it, unless of course you take the big picture view of the overall impact and then, well it just might reach perfection. We're big fans of the Grand Canyon. Just say'n.

Foreground existing deck after washing and brightening. transparent finish reflects the green light from overhead trees. Background, new decking.
Framed for respect of nature's existing footprint, we made allowances for future movement and growth of this 50-year-old oak tree.

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