The homestead is needing some TLC. Next project is rebuilding the rear deck. There is dry rot on at least one beam, and the wood has generally deteriorated. This is going to be a major project, as I lack well-developed handyman skills. Fortunately, some confidence has been gained by rebuilding the front deck this summer. Also on the plus side is the fact that my brother does have the skills and knowledge I lack. We are using iPhone technology — I text him a picture and he tells me what should be done. It works pretty well.
Here is a picture of the rear deck from 2002. Note the balusters are not up to code - there should be no more than 4 inches between them. In 1995 when moving into the house I lined the railing with hardware cloth to keep the kids (1 and 3) from falling through the railing.
The previous owner built the house himself, and used untreated wood nailed together for the deck. In the ensuing 28 years the wood has deteriorated enough that the nails were not holding well and the structure was getting unstable. So the railings had to come down and be replaced.
The deck floor was untreated pine, and was severely warped. The floor had been installed with 16d finish nails. I put in deck screws and that slowed the warping but did not stop it. The floor is going to be replaced.
This beam has the most extensive dry rot. The plan is to repair it. After removing the loose wood, the rest is treated with ethylene glycol to kill the dry rot organism. Then the cosmetic defects are repaired. At first, I believed the beam could be repaired without compromising structural integrity.
After the decking had been removed, the extent of damage to the beam became evident. The beam has already been repaired once. Three inches had been cut out of the top of the beam and the wood replaced with two 2x6. Evidently the beam had not been treated, because dry rot continued below the repair.
Another beam had also been repaired. In this case, the repair succeeded in arresting the dry rot. No further deterioration is evident.
Here we see the other two major repairs to be made. The top left shows a beam that is extensively rotted. There's no way to save it and it will have to be replaced. Fortunately, this beam does not carry any structural weight, and should be fairly easy to replace. Note how the two lower beams have pulled apart. Somehow those will have to be pulled back together. I have to think about how to do that.