New posts, a cable-rail system, and an applied rim board breathe new life into a weathered deck.
When a home needs repairs, there sometimes is also an opportunity to make significant visual or structural upgrades. Such was the case with this deck. The framing was sound, and the pressure-treated decking could wait a few more years until it had to be replaced, but the painted rim and railing were in bad shape. Besides the peeling paint, the railing wasn’t too sturdy. The homeowners could have added some fasteners and hardware to strengthen the railing, then scraped, primed, and repainted it. Instead, they decided to take the opportunity to dress up the deck with new ipé posts and rails, cable infill, and ipé trim around the rim. Their decision not only opened the deck to a better view, but it also transformed the whole exterior.
The original railing posts were mounted inside the deck frame and weren’t centered on the structural posts beneath. To improve the appearance from the yard, my crew and I mounted the new posts outside the frame and positioned them above the structural columns, roughly 8 ft. apart. Intermediate cable spacers were needed, so we installed 2x4s on edge between the structural posts. To dress up the painted rim joist, we added layered bands of ipé between the posts and cable spacers. Because the homeowners have young children, we kept the old railing system in place for as long as possible.
The detail that had the greatest visual impact and took the most planning, however, was the cable rail system. Thankfully, these systems have come a long way since I started in this business.
Ideal system for retrofits
Twenty years ago, I cobbled together a cable-rail system from sail boat rigging hardware. It was functional, had an airy feel, and opened the deck to the backyard; however, installing the shackles, cleats, and…