Repair, Reuse, Relax – DEQ staff protects the environment one foot of lumber at a time

“It started innocently enough with pressure washing the deck. This seemingly benign activity showed that the deck needed a lot of repair.”

-Rebecca Wells-Albers

My husband and I have been working on a deck rebuild at our house in the evenings and weekends since April (note that we are reluctant but willing Do-It-Yourselfers). We usually get out of town for at least day trips on the weekends, but due to the pandemic, we’ve stayed close to home since March.

It started innocently enough with pressure washing the deck. This seemingly benign activity showed that the deck needed a lot of repair. After ripping up the decking boards of painted wood, we were relieved to find the joists and posts in great condition. At that point we decided to shrink the footprint of the existing deck and reuse all of the joists and posts, buying only new decking. We decided to go with Trex decking because its durable and it contains 95% recycled products. We are also using clips instead of screws to hold down the boards. This ensures the decking can be reused.

“With a smaller deck footprint, we were able to install a rain garden in our backyard that will take all of the rainwater from half of our roof.”

— Rebecca Wells-Albers

Many weeks and DIY YouTube videos later, we made it to the home stretch. With a smaller deck footprint, we were able to install a rain garden in our backyard that diverts all of the rainwater from half of our roof. We installed a rain garden in our front yard years ago to address some water issues in our basement and it has been great – less mowing/weeding and a great way to manage stormwater on our Northeast Portland property.

I kept a tally of all of the reused material, and at last count, we were at over 220 linear feet of reused lumber. All materials that we don’t use (and are in good shape) will be donated to the Rebuilding Center and the Habitat for Humanity Restore.

We look forward to breaking in the deck this summer during a social distancing visit with friends and face-coverings.

— Rebecca Wells-Albers, Brownfields Coordinator, DEQ Northwest Region Cleanup Section

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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