Step 5: Brace the boards at each end by installing 2X4 cleats along the inside faces of the joists at the sides of the hole. Cut a piece of 2X4 as long as the hole for each joist. Paint all of the patching materials with wood preservative before installation, covering all surfaces. Let the preservative dry as directed, then nail the 2X4 cleats flat to the side joists, with their top edges exactly flush.
Step 6: If the old boards were rotten, you should take steps to prevent further decay. Cover the ground under the porch with heavy plastic, lapping the plastic about six inches up at the sides. Set a few stones or bricks on the plastic to hold it in place. For the most effective rot prevention, paint all exposed wood under the porch with a coat of wood preservative. These preventive measures will keep your porch strong and healthy for years to come.
Step 7: With the cleats in place, set the new floorboards into the opening, one by one, with their ends resting on the cleats along the joists. Set the first board in tongue first, and insert each board to lock its tongue into the groove of the previous board. Nail each end of each board to the cleat with two or three 16d finishing nails. At the last board, lock the tongue in and set the groove side flat over the tongue of the adjoining board. It won't lock to the joining board, but with the bottom of the groove removed, it will fit into place. When all the nails are in place, countersink them with a nail set, and fill the cracks and cover the nail heads with water putty. Do not use wood plastic; it isn't strong enough. Water putty dries rock-hard.
Step 8: To finish the job, let the water putty dry and then sand the patch lightly. Paint the patched area with a primer coat of porch and floor enamel, and let the paint dry. Then repaint the porch as needed.
If you want to spend your weekends lounging on your deck -- instead of sanding and applying varnish -- follow these simple guidelines to keep your deck looking beautiful.
©Publications International, Ltd.