I wanted to do pavers or a deck next to my front entry into my backyard. I wanted to do something that was inexpensive and that could be repurposed. I came up with this idea when I was driving by the loading dock at the hospital and saw towers of pallets. I asked one of the guys I know that does the shipping and handling what they do with all the pallets. He told me they have to call someone to take them away. So I asked if I could grab a few and he said "take as many as you want to take." Boom I had my repurposed wood.
- Pallets and pallets and pallets (Free)
- Reciprocating saw (optional)
- Chop Saw (miter saw)
- Paver sand (Free)
- Pavers or bricks (free)
- Shovel and rake
- Deckmate (red) screws or other deck screws (10 to 30 dollars)
- Galvanized screws (10 dollars give or take)
- Large Level
- Drill bits: masonry, wood, Counter sink drill bit with quick change Phillips #2
- Galvanized steel angles and tie plates (30 to 75 cents per)
- Concrete anchors or nail in concrete anchors (Red Heads 10 dollars give or take)
- Belt sander or palm sander (quicker with belt sander)
- Stain color or transparent sealant, weather proofing tar or rubber (40 dollars or more)
total cost: $100 - $400 depending on how big and quality of supplies bought.
Step 1: Collecting Pallets and Cutting Them Up.
When collecting pallets you want (NEED) to be selective. Weak or poor quality pallets will give you headaches (my foot has gone through one or two boards). Collect pallets that have thicker and new boards should be selected. Avoid split wood and beaten up pallets. I found that 17 inches is approximately the working area of wood that is untouched and split by nails when the pallets are Instructed. Instead of taking apart the pallets which is a job in it self I used a reciprocating saw to cut them at the rungs. After cutting up 20 or so pallets I had around 200 boards that had uneven ends. To make the boards neat I used a chop saw to cut the ends which made my boards 16 inches long. The area I wanted the deck to cover is 13' by 6' but with each square 16" by 16" gave me 4 rows by 9 rows or 5'4" by 12'6". This left a gap in the back (as seen in the picture) this allowed me to run my drip line behind and the left over 6 inches. With the other direction I just moved it back toward the gate. No Problem!
Step 2: Sanding! (Some Hate It, Some Love It) I Love It
Next, sand the boards down on a belt sander or palm sander (which might take sometime) with a medium to coarse grit. Make sure to sand the same way for the grain. Finish the boards with a fine girt making the board smooth to the touch. I used a 80 grit to start because some of the boards had notches and groves caused by what ever was dropped on the pallet. To finish it off I went with 160 grit which made the wood nice and smooth. You will not get splinters in your feet from walking on it.
Step 3: Staining and Weather Proofing.
Staining the boards adds a nice touch to the wood but is not necessary but some kind of sealant is needed. I went with a Mahogany as shown in the picture. Home Depot and Lowes carries a line of staining products. Avoid the cheaper products and spend the money for a good weather proof product. I also weather proofed the bottom of the board by applying Henry rubber roofing patch which maybe a little over kill but I wanted this to last and it was cheap.
Step 4: Prep the Ground, Add Rungs, and Decking.
Level the ground out where your deck is going to be placed. I used a large level, 2' by 2', and rake sand to level it out the surface. Use paver/bricks buried in the sand, drill holes for concrete anchors and anchor the 18-gauge galvanized steel angle to mount the rungs. I used the rungs from the pallets to make a 4" by 4" rung as a base and coated them with Henry rubber roofing patch knowing that these are going to be soaked from the rain. Knowing that the deck boards are 16 inches I placed the rungs at 15 inches from each other leaving one inch for the Deckmate screws which I bought from Home Depot. I made a template for the screw hole out of the 18 gauge steel with a 90 degree bend, a pilot hole to drill at half inch each time and then counter sink the Deckmate screws. Tile spacers were used to put the gaps between the next board. Each section has different number of boards to make 16" by 16" section. Cross members are placed between rungs to change direction of boards angled steel is used to hold them in place.
Step 5: Finish Putting on the Decking.
Finish putting on the rest of the boards and clean up.
Add some plants, lights, bench and a little water fountain.