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Friday, April 13, 2012

Pallet Wood Front Porch

When we bought this house, it was move-in ready - everything was in working order - but there were many things about this house that had not been updated since it was built, back in the late 50's. The front porch is a good example of this: It functioned, but it was a bit worse for wear, if'n you know what I mean! The concrete slab was cracked in the middle and sagged so that the porch was not level. The storm door was original to the house - aluminum and worn-looking.
The first thing we did, early on, was to replace the storm door. I found it through a radio program called Tradio - bought if from someone who was advertising that they had a storm door to sell. We brought it home and it was soon installed....

The planning stage is my favorite part of any project, and this porch was no exception: I thought about an upgrade for some years before we finally decided how we wanted to fix it. When someone gave us a slue of pallets, we had our solution: Fix the porch with pallet wood. Most folks, when they first see our pallet-wood porch, think we just laid whole pallets on the porch. Well, no, that's not how it happened: My husband laboriously and patiently took the pallets apart and de-nailed the boards. Then he planed them. 

The planing process revealed beautiful wood of all kinds - all hard woods, some of them exotic; we certainly had never seen some of those types of woods before. 

Bill had to pre-drill every screw hole before he could screw those boards together; they were that tough. Oh, yes, he broke many a drill bit in the making of this porch. The first thing we did was build a 'jig' - a frame to help us get every one of the 36" squares exactly the same size. We put together 18 36" squares using that jig, then added support boards to each one, then attached the resultant squares to the porch - leveling as we went. 

Once the top boards were in place, the porch was almost complete. 


We opted to finish the wood with a dark walnut stain. 

There was an area at the south end of the porch that was uuuuggly - it was part of the driveway and had concrete on it. It looked  like someone had patched a hole there at one time. There was more concrete next to the house, an obvious attempt to keep rain water out of the basement. It really was ugly!

So, with leftover pallet wood, we built a small deck/step leading up to the front porch.....

By this stage of the project, neighbors were making favorable comments - they liked what they were seeing happen to our porch...
Then we added a railing. The porch was almost done! This was a long process, a difficult project, but we loved working on it, and we now have a lovely front porch. Er, at least we think it's lovely!!!

This photo shows Bill, my husband, adding some stairs to the newly-finished front porch. That man! He is such a hard working guy . . . .


We eventually covered that old white metal post with nice wood.


97 comments:

  1. Well done! Can we get a photo of the front with the railing? This would be great for my backyard which has ugly broken concrete.

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  2. Nice that you have documented this also in your post. I remember this well because at the same time you shared these by e-mail, we were discussing about wind chimes! I saw them there. Does Bill bill you for the work he does for you? :)

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  3. Thanks, Monika, for your kind words. I added another photo - this time from the front, sort of! If that doesn't serve your purposes, I can insert another, more recent pic.....

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  4. Dinu: Hey, hey, hey! I help too, ya know. I am the idea person and the gofer - a role I hate, actually - and of course I supervise!!!!
    Wind chimes: Good idea. I was looking for a short post for this morning.....
    Susan

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  5. What a fabulous idea and what a fabulous look! Clever and recycling! What is better than that? (I'm a supervisor too. I'm good at it. LOL)

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    1. Oh, yes! Supervising is hard work! I find that if one starts a directive with 'Honey....' or 'Dear...' things go a lot more smoothly!
      It's funny: For some years, we used barn wood and pallet wood, etc, but I never, ever thought of it as recycling. No! I thought of it as 'making-do.' Then someone used the word 'recycling' in re to some of our projects, and suddenly I realized that we were not only having a grand time, but we were being PC, too! Who knew?

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    2. Now the new PC buzz word is "reclaimed" or the fashionable word is "upcycled".. Ha!! :D Love your project!!!!

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    3. It's funny: We did so many projects with old reclaimed wood, and never once thought of it as recycling. Not until someone suggested we were doing it as recycling did that occur to me. No, we use(d) old wood because it's . . . . free!!
      We are sooooo cheap!
      Thanks you for the lovely comments. I appreciate it....
      Susan

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  6. Excellent idea and great job! We have been talking about collecting pallets to make a shed from but this is a great idea also.

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  7. Thanks, Michele! Hey did you look at some of my other blog posts? There's a blog entry about our bathroom, for example; we used pallet wood in there too. Let me know if you find anything else you're interested in. Thanks. Did you, by the way, see the blog post about the workshop?
    Thanks again.
    Susan

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  8. Must be wood pallets are made differently in different areas. The ones in my area are all shabby and made of rough wood, nothing as thick as the pallets you found :)

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  9. Indeed... where did you find pallets made of quality wood? I've seen a LOT of pallets in my day and not one of them would I trust not to rot out from under me if used as a porch floor.

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  11. This is Great! Got me thinking about my back porch! ..hummmmm

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  12. Wow what a great ideal it looks so nice congrats :)

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  13. Note: Before I forget: Please check out the kitchen counter top redo post; we used barn wood for that. And there's a post on this blog that shows the pallet wood we put in the bathroom - I think that post was done in April...

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  14. Thanks, everyone!! I'll pass your kind comments onto my dear husband....
    Those pallets came from a factory that makes industrial-sized doors, so the pallets have to be sturdy, hence the hard wood. Some of that wood was not familiar to us. We surmised that perhaps some of the wood came from S. America, or even Africa. We have no way of knowing.

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  15. By the way (PS): Pinterest is awesome. I have to give a plug to that great website. After most of the remodel was done, I decided to blog about some of the projects. (And please note: Take photos of your projects, before during and after. OK? OK? OK?If I hadn't done that, there would have been no blog.....)
    Now, where was I? Oh, yes: Pinterest....
    After I would finish a blog entry, I would post a link to it on FB, and I sent links in private emails to family and friends, etc. Of course family and friends reacted with, 'Ho, hum, it's only Sue mouthing off again,' and I got little interest from those sources. But I also posted pics to pinterest, and that's what caused people to sit up and take notice. I have had thousands of hits on my blog because of Pinterest, folks...
    So please consider blogging about your own projects - I'd love to read about them - and don't forget to post photos to Pinterest.
    I'm just sayin'.....
    Thanks again. Susan

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  16. I need to add one more thing . . . because I can!!!!
    One of my favorite things about these old-wood projects was watching them come out of the planer as my husband worked on those boards. What a treat!! We never knew what to expect, and it was thrilling to see those old, ratty boards come to life. The grain! The color! Well, you get the idea....
    I quit. No, don't try to talk me out of it, I really do quit....at least for now!!!
    Sue

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  17. Hi there! What a great idea!!!I'm interesting of fixing my back porch but there is a problem!There is no roof on top!Are the pallet's wood gonna have a problem with the rain water etc?

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    1. put wood sealer paint or spray on each piece before use to get it all covered. it should be ok then. i want to do this in back of my house and i don't have a roof either. will it work everyone? answer back so we will know. thank to all very much.

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  18. Beautiful... it's amazing what you can do with pallets. Any ideas for finding free ones?

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  19. First of all, I have to say that the pallet wood was free. So our initial investment was small - screws, drill bits (plenty of drill bits because each hole had to be pre-drilled), planer blades, and so on. So that, we were able to invest in plenty of stain, to protect the wood. Secondarily, there are gaps between the boards, so stain ran down the sides of the boards, too, if you see what I mean. They make bathtubs out of wood, actually; with bathtubs, there have to be very closed joints, obviously. But used as decking? I'd say the gaps become important, so the wood can dry between exposures to rain and snow.
    And please note that the pallet wood porch we added extends beyond the eaves, so water and snow does get on part of the wood; it has held up fine so far.....

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  20. Our pallets came from a company that makes huge doors - they use it for shipping and such. So I would ask around at companies that make huge things; maybe they have pallet wood that is also hard wood. This particular company has a deal with their employees: They are allowed to take as much pallet wood as they want to but cannot sell it, cannot make money off of it.....
    Yes, most pallets are not made of hard wood, and most pallets, let's face it, are used till they are ratty looking and falling apart. Hope you find some you like....
    And please check out the blog entries about the wooden counter tops we installed - those are made from barn wood. And the wood in our bathroom - also a blog entry - is pallet wood. For the counter tops and bathroom floor, we used tung oil to protect it. The dining room/kitchen floors is barn wood protected with polyurethane, also a blog entry....
    Hope this helps. Hope you have as much success with these wood projects as we have had...
    Susan

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  21. Excelente idea, ya estoy buscando mas tarimas para hacerla realidad

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  22. fulldollar: I hope you find just the right pallets. Or perhaps you could find another source of wood, then share you new idea with the rest of us.....
    PS: I email in the Microsoft Outlook format. So I was able to hit 'Reply,' then highlight your message, then right click on it and hit 'Translate' in the drop box. In that way, your wonderful message became readable to me.
    Thanks for the comment.....
    Susan

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  23. Elbow grease and good old American ingenuity!

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  24. Hi, Kathy!!
    Thanks for reading the blog entry about the front porch. We did the porch, oh, about 5 years ago, so it's fun to look back and comment about it all these years later....
    Most of the elbow grease was my husband's. I could barely drive one of those screws into that hard wood, so he did most of the drilling and screwing. The ingenuity came into play when I was trying to figure out what to do with all those lovely boards that were piling up in the garage. They were only @ 4 feet long, and of course porch boards would have to be longer. Then it occurred to me (inspiration!!) that we could put the boards together in 3' square units. Once that was decided - to make a sort of checkerboard - the rest fell into place.
    Thanks again for your comment, Kathy. I appreciate it......Susan

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  25. It doesnt look like wood from wooden pallets. It looks thicker and better quality. Wood pallets are much thinner.. your deck looks quality, like 2x4's. What kind of wood pallets did you get ahold of?

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  26. Hi, Mandylou! The wood is from a factory that moves very heavy objects. I believe the wood we got was used for packaging, shipping, and used within the plant to move large, heavy materials. Hence the hard wood. That's my guess. They were given to us, to I didn't ask many questions. I am just grateful for the wood.....
    I know the type pallets you are thinking of - ratty ones that are re-used so often they are a hazard. The ones we got are not re-used more than for one shipping/packing, apparently. Hope this answers your questions.
    Susan

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  28. For many years I have wanted to build a free standing portable deck out on my lawn and I have always envisioned this deck to be made from wood pallets... A portable patio is the perfect solution for a renter like me as I don't want to invest the money to build something permanent that I would eventually have to move away from.. The trouble is that I no longer have access to the good grade pallets that I used to have access to ... Mmmmm ... This article inspires me to get the lead out and start looking for a good source of pallets ... I would love to hear if anyone has any suggestions as to design .. etc

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  30. Kimmy: I must tell that those pallets were made of hardwood. They were not the scruffy-looking pallets most of us are used to. But I say: Go for it.
    It's not so important how you do something as it is that you do it!!!!
    Susan

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  32. You and your husband are doing a really great job in updating the old house. The front porch looks simple yet beautiful and unique. The house is looking good; what part of it are you going to work on next?

    Barrett Elmore

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    1. I think I missed this comment, when you made it last March, Barrett!
      Yes, that is the BIG question around here: What will we get into next!
      Here's how it goes around here. This story is illustrative of how things work: After having darkish paint for years in the ping pong room side of the basement, my husband talked me into painting it a lighter shade. So we did that. Then we had to paint the floor, didn't we?! I'd always wanted to paint the trim boards black, so we did that too!
      We're just wrapping up another yard-saling season. I mention this because many of our projects involve materials we find at yard sales. Sometimes, too, people off us free stuff - see post titled How To Make a Workshop with Three Telephone Poles and An Old Boot.
      Thanks for your comments!
      Susan
      PS: How I do run on!

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  33. Thanks, Barrett.
    That is always the question, isn't it? What fun will we have next? We recently re-painted the basement; that can be seen on my Year in Pictures Blog. I don't know if I can add a link here, but I'll try....
    https://faywray2.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/march-18-2013/
    Thanks again for your kind comments. We press on....
    PS: Do you do projects, too, that you can share with others?

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  34. What a great looking porch, Ive been trying to come up with ideas for mine and I think I found it.

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  35. I hope it works out for you. There comes a time in every project when I ask myself, 'Would I do anything differently if I had it to do over again?' I think I would not put a railing on, for one thing. The law says if the decking is 24 inches off the ground it needs a rail, but ours is not that high. And I think I would stain it a lighter color, too. Just some thoughts. Thanks for your comment. Susan

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  36. I really like what you did with the floors. The pattern was simple, yet looked great when you implemented it. Being a fan of the natural look, I approve that you used wood stain rather than painting it. For me, if it’s outside, gotta use stain. :)

    Angelina Garcia

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  37. Thanks, Angelina. To keep the pattern simple, we used a jig to fit the boards together. Each board was cut to size and fit into the jig. That way we were able to get the right size (36") for each of the 18 squares without too much hassle. The boards were all different thicknesses, and without that jig, well, I would've lost my mind!

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  38. This is really cool! I work in solid waste management, recycling area for City of Houston. We applaud your efforts to build something beautiful and to save space in the landfills with great pieces that make for a very enjoyable porch. Kuddos to the skills and effort. Jennifer

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  39. I love that we used the wood from downed trees, Jennifer. A tree takes so many years to grow but can be burnt up in minutes. Thanks for your wonderful comment.....
    Susan

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  40. I can only imagine the amount of effort in planing every single one of those pallets. And it really does look like it was already put in there in one piece, what with the smooth fit and minimal spacing in it. Question though: did you plan on raising the porch, or was just a happy coincidence of putting the frames for the pallets to get attached to?

    Sol Hendricks

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  41. As soon as we thought in terms of a deck covering the old cracked concrete, the next consideration was whether we had room to set the joist boards in place, with boards atop them . . . and still be able to use the door! In the end, we had to raise the door sweep just a hair, so it worked out OK. The alternative to all this - and if I'd known, as you indicate, how much work this pallet porch would be we might have gone with that alternative: poured concrete over the existing slab. These were all considerations, for sure. In the end, my main concern became an asthetic one: Would it be weird to have the porch ceiling so close to our heads after we raised the porch! But I got around my concerns soon enough. (This surely makes it easier to change the light bulb!)
    Thanks for your comments. It would seem you've had experience with planing and such. My husband put in a lot of hours with the planing, yes, but he seems to enjoy it, for which I am grateful. I'm not sure the neighbors appreciated his early-morning planing habits, though! I do a great imitation of a planer in action, by the way; I do this imitation when I want to stress to listeners what our neighbors heard at 7am some mornings!
    Thanks again, Sol.
    Susan

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  42. Just wondering I need lots of pallets here in Georgia and love this idea but how did you get them to your house if you do not have a car? :( any ideas

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  43. Hm. You don't have a car? Did I get that right, EmBee? Could you put out the word to family and friends that you need pallets transported to your home?
    I admit that we have the ideal situation here, for projects: We have two trucks, and our grown sons have trucks too. We also have a burn pile and can burn any unwanted parts of the pallets. But this was no always so, this ideal situation. We did not even own a home until 8 1/2 years ago. We rented for all the years before that. I think I was 50 years old when we bought this house. We lived in rentals for the first, oh, 22 years of our marriage. So my answer to your questions is: Wait till the time is right. In the meantime, plan for the future. Plan, plan, plan. The planning stage is the most important part of any project anyway, and it's also the most fun part of any project, so you are in a good place.....
    Hope it all works out for you.
    Jesus, please give EmBee the desires of her heart.....
    Susan

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  44. I would have never thought to do that! It's funny how much of a difference decks can make on a house.

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    1. So true! I don't know if you noticed the blog entry about the deck we put up? I mention that because I had wanted a deck in that spot for years, and when I finally saw it happen, I asked myself, and everyone around me too, 'What is it about a deck?' You are so right: Decks are . . . . just . . . . different. Why, I still am not sure!

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  45. It's a lovely porch, thanks for the idea!
    we have so many pallets lying around and are always looking for good ideas to re-use the wood!
    Samantha

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    1. If they are hardwood pallets, you're good to go, Samantha. Though it would be fun to take on the challenge of finding ways to use other types of pallets....
      Oh, and please share any ideas you come up with; I'd love to see your pallet projects....
      Susan

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  46. Thanks for the information. I am currently in the planning stage of a very ambitious remodeling and re landscaping project for my back yard. I have a grand vision of a deck that connects to the 2nd floor of my house and has an outdoor spiral staircase leading to the ground level. Anyway, I'm researching some building material and methods online in order to plan my starting point. Do you suggest real wood, or some other material?

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    1. With planter boxes attached to the spiral staircase as it goes up and up! Flowers dripping over the edge! Oh, yes, I like that idea!
      Your comment reminds me of a recent email: A friend's hubby does not like pressure-treated wood! From what I gather, some arguments ensued when they went to add new decking to their back yard!
      I don't like [plastic] composite woods for one reason: People donate their milk containers . . . . then 'wood' is made from them . . . and they charge sooo much for that product. The plastic is essentially free, yet they charge so much! It's the principle of the thing!
      Beyond that, I have no opinion yea or nay in re to wood choices.
      I would love to see your finished outdoor projects. Please inform when done. Thanks. Susan

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  47. Susan, I want a deck so bad and can't afford the wood. I got estimates and it was over $2,000 for the deck I want. We have a pallet company up the road from where we live so I can get the wood there, just wondering if I can use this Idea on a floating deck at least two feet off the ground. Thanks for your blog.

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    1. Hello! Have you checked out any ideas on pinterest, for different options for decks? You might also check to see what the building codes in your town say about railings: Where we live, if the deck is 24" or higher, you have to have railings!
      beyond that, I'm sure someone will come up with a way to make a deck with whole pallets, maybe just piling them up on the ground. With enough plantings around it, that might look really nice. I love a challenge, so your question is a provocative one for me! Thanks for the comment. Hope you have a deck soon, and I pray that it works out for you. Susan

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    2. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  48. So creative and beautiful! I absolutely LOVE it!

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    1. Hey, you! Thanks!
      I just checked out your 2-Create blog, Mindi! I love it! I signed up to get bulletins in emails.
      Did you happen to see the post about our pallet wood bathroom? It's in the list for May, 'Pallet Wood .....in the bathroom.'

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  49. That is awesome! I have been trying to find a good way to put a front deck in for my home, here in Kitchener. I think that it would be nice, and have a sweet look to it!

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    1. Our pallet wood front porch is definitely unique. Some people, I know, eschew 'unique' at every turn, though. But we have had many compliments on the porch. In fact, it is the most popular post out of all the blog entries in Redo Redux.
      Thanks for your comments, Jason. Hope it all works out for you. Perhaps you can find materials to use for your deck that are unique to your needs.
      Susan

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  50. This is such a great idea!! your porch is beautiful!! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I have to admit that I wrote all of the posts for Redo Redux for myself - so I could have fun reliving past projects. So it's always a pleasant surprise when others enjoy those posts, Brenda! Thank you for your lovely comments. So glad you like the porch, so glad to have met you! Hugs. Susan

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  51. It’s a blog with full of latest and spectacular information’s – This blog has helped me to gain much more information.


    Fences tampa  bay florida

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    1. I did not hit the right button to 'reply,' so I'm not sure you got notice that I replied, all those months ago. I did reply, though, but not the right way, apparently. So sorry. Please read the comments I did make about your comments. Thanks.

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  52. Thanks, Joseph! I've said it before, I'll say it again: We enjoyed all of these projects tremendously, so if anyone else enjoys them, well, that's icing on the cake!

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  53. Hi
    Hi, I was simply checking out this blog and I really admire the premise of the article this is regarding and this is really informative dave burke

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    1. Dave: Thanks for taking time to comment. I really appreciate it. If there is a premise to this blog - and now you've got me thinking about that - it's this: Have fun and take pics along the way so you can share with others the fun you've had.
      Thanks again for your comments. You made my day! Susan

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  55. This is fabulous! You did an impressive job!

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    1. Thanks, Brenda! I look forward to warmer weather so we can actually use our front porch again. Cold winter here this year!

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  56. GREAT JOB! I WAS JUST WONDERING IF YOU COULD MAKE A WOOD COVER TO GO OVER THAT UGLY WHITE RAIL GOING FROM THE DECK TO THE ROOF? IT YOU COULD JUST TAKE SOME 2X4'S OR 2X6'S WHATEVER IT TAKES JUST TO COVER IT UP. THAT WOULD FINISH OFF THE PROJECT. IT WOULD LOOK SO MUCH TIDIER THAT WAY. MORE FINISHED OFF! YOU HAVE SUCH A WONDERFUL HUSBAND FOR DOING THESE THINGS FOR YOU! HOW WONDERFUL OF A PROJECT!

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    1. Oh, oh! We added a wooden sheath around that metal thingie a long time ago and I never added a photo of it! Thank you for reminding me. Your mind works like mine. You might be a bit concerned about that! Just kidding. Thanks for your comments. PS: We had to wait till we found just the right wood to cover that metal post.

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    2. I just added a photo of that post. Thanks again! Susan

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  57. This is by far THEEEE best pallet up-do I've ever seen...

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    1. Well, thank you, Jamala! If you ever try something like this, please read the comments and my replies to them. I have tried to explain some of the ins adn outs of this project so that others can try it.
      The key, I think, to this project was the inspiration about how to use boards that were @ 42" long. How to use those to make a huge deck/porch? Once that problem was addressed, the rest fell into place without a hitch. Happy creating to you! Susan

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