One of the biggest problems with this house that existed when I moved in was the deck. I knew this going in so it wasn't a surprise. That being said I think anyone that stood on the old one would agree it was pretty scary. It was a small deck of about 4'x10' and had a floor made of plywood and held together with some sort of carpet or astro-turf like stuff. It took a long while but about 18 months after moving in I finally tore down the old one last fall. It was almost too easy to pull down. When we took the carpet of the stairs they literally disintegrated. We threw out the deck in a dumpster I had at the time. Since the old one was torn down it was about a 10' drop out the back door of the kitchen down to the back door of the basement. Not really useful as an exit.
On Easter weekend my parents came down to help build a new deck. My dad didn't have any direct experience building a deck and nor did I, but I that didn't stop us in the basement. Kelly got several books from the library on deck building, I would recommend the Home Depot one as it was most up to date and very helpful. My parents arrived Thursday afternoon. My dad and I spent several hours going over my plans and doing some measuring. The plan was to build a small exit deck of 4'x6' and stairs to get down. We went out that night and bought all the supplies we would need to build everything except the stairs. This included boards of such sizes as 4"x4"x10', 2"x6"x8', 5/4"x6"x8', some pre-built railing and lots of bolts.
Friday morning we got up and first attached some boards to the house to fill the gap left by the old deck in the siding. Then we built the frame of the deck. We put the frame in place with the posts. After we had things in place for the most part we went back and used the bolts and some deck screws to firmly hold the frame in place. The next step was to put the decking in place. It was interesting doing while standing on un-secured boards. We got them in place with a few screws and then went back and put in lots more. The last step for the day was attaching the railings to the posts. That night we went to get the pieces for the stairs. This was some pre-made treads, stringers and the outer frame for the stairs.
Saturday morning we started on the stairs. This was lots of measuring, little wood trimming, more measuring, angle checking and hoping it fits right. One of the complications with the stairs was that the ground at the bottom of stairs is not what you would call level. We ended up getting it almost perfect though with each stair fitting and being level. After getting the stairs in place we added a railing for the steps and toped the railing around the rest of the deck. The new deck while smaller is much sturdier than the old one. I am sure it can hold the 3-4 people that could potentially fit on the deck. Also now Narnia can go out the back door to the back yard with less concern of being distracted instead of the front yard.
Lots of pictures of the process and the finished project are available at this link.