My wife and I recently welcomed our second baby, which highlighted that the area outside our front door wasn't safe. There was no landing at the top, meaning that you had to step backwards down the stairs to open the screen door. We also have a scenic view from the front of the house, and so the most obvious solution to make the space safe and make the most of the view was to build a deck.
I didn't want to make the deck too big because of the cost as well as not wanting it to appear too overbearing. As the area is only small, it also meant that I could splash out on nice hardwood decking, posts and handrails (more expensive than Pine) and only use Pine for the structural framing to keep costs down.
I've left the existing stairs in place and built over the top. I'll probably put a garden bed at the left of the stairs, and a path from the driveway to the bottom of the stairs.
Before and after
Tips for achieving a smooth decking finish
Jamie asked the Bunnings Workshop community whether it's standard practice to sand Spotted Gum before oiling. He found that some parts of the timber was a bit rough and "splintery" on the decking, handrails and around the screw heads and wondered if he could sand around the screw heads or if he needed to sand the whole deck.
Workshop member Brad shared: "In my experience, spot sanding shows up in the finished product. You can deburr the screw holes using a Stanley knife, paint scrapper, or Dremel bit, but you can only do a quarter of the hole before you have to move on, and doing this gets old quickly."
Wayne said he shouldn't be "overly concerned with the end finish of deck oiling. In 12 months you'll question why you bothered. You could sand through the various grits and get a super smooth finish but then that could create a slipping hazard when it is wet. I often get burrs after routing some timbers and find a stiff nylon hand brush cleans it up nicely."
Daryl agreed that he wouldn't sand the whole deck, "maybe you could get a Dremel sanding bit that you could put into a cordless drill if you're overly concerned with splinters."