Award Winning Project, Landscape Design / Outdoor Living $60,000 and Over
We were very fortunate to have a client ask for help in repairing the railings and decks on their existing log cabin. The cabin was set atop a hill, overlooking a beautiful valley. They loved the cabin and the surrounding property but were afraid to take their children and friends on the decks, as the rustic wood railings and cedar decking had been neglected for many years. Our project began with simply replacing the old log railings with new ones, building new railings where they were missing and replacing a few of the rotten deck boards. The railing wrapped five different tiers of decks around the cabin and was built to follow the surrounding landscape.
The owner had the following requests:
• Remove the old, rotting railings and posts and replace with new ones
• Add new log railings and posts to the decks where they were completely missing
• Replace the deck boards where necessary
The existing railings were weathered, decaying and even completely missing on multiple deck areas. As we removed the railings and the decorative light fixtures, we quickly found that the damage was more than superficial. There were multiple areas where the decking could not be saved or salvaged. Our clients decided to have us remove and replace all of the decking while we were there instead of just replacing a few as previously planned.
Attention to detail
As the demolition stage changed into the installation of the new products, it was important that we maintained the stability of the deck. We left certain rows of decking in place to hold the structure’s shape while we replaced the decking boards and railings.
Obstacles to Overcome
It seemed that the further into this project we went, the more problems we encountered. With the deck boards off, we noticed that multiple parts of the structure were undersized, missing screws and even spliced at the exact same locations. This weakened the entire structure of the deck. After adding a few new supports, joist hangers, screws, and bolts, we were able to fix those problems and tie together the different levels of the decks that were previously independent of each other. Together they form one stronger structure.
Our client had the original railings made by a handyman years ago, and they were not very consistent in size and spacing. Our clients were shocked to learn that the spacing of many of the balusters would not pass today’s building codes. To keep the same style, but meet code, we were able to custom order the exact sizes we needed for each railing section. We were even able to keep the irregular balusters design. Since the new railings were made in a controlled environment, they could be assembled correctly and would be stronger than a site-built product. As seen above, the company that delivered the railings accidently gave railing #09 a strength test with their forklift. It didn’t quite pass. This could have been a major delay, but the manufacturer had sent one extra rail and a handful of extra balusters, so our carpenters were able to repair railing #09 on-site and install it without any delay to the schedule.
The staircase stringers also needed some repair work as shown above. Our simple railing replacement job continued to grow into a larger repair job.
Attention to details
We were able to reinforce the existing stringers with available materials, so we did not need to remove and replace even more of the decking areas.
Because the old wooden posts and railings had not been properly sealed and maintained, they were rotting from the inside out. They also had become home to carpenter ants that were eating the wood. The old posts were removed, and new posts were treated with a brand new Sikkins product that will not only protect against rot and decay but will also help deter carpenter ants from moving in.
As we installed the new posts and railings that were missing from the lower decks, we took extra time fitting the posts to make it look like they were growing out of the deck. This mimics the actual tree growing out of the middle of the main deck and adds a level of detail that previously was missing.
With the scope of this project changing to be much more work than previously planned, our client decided that next year the entire cabin would be looked at and repaired as necessary. Knowing this, they chose to use a lighter color stain on all the new materials that we had installed and repaired. As part of next year’s project, the old posts, and other logs will be power washed, repaired, sanded and refinished in this same lighter color. It may look a little out of place this year, but it is the right call knowing their long term plan.
After the new railings were installed, we reinstalled the original lighting on the steps, and the decorative lighting along the outside edges of the deck.
The existing deck was missing railings in multiple areas. We added new railings and posts to match the existing railings and posts, making it safe and aesthetically pleasing.
After removing and replacing the old, rotting railings and installing railings where they were previously missing, this deck is once again safe for our client’s family and friends to enjoy. We are happy to have been able to fix the issues that arose. Now our clients can stop worrying, and start enjoying their log cabin and the beautiful views. The end result is a gorgeous, safe and updated outdoor living area.