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Deck overview
Once the seating, steps, handrails and pergola were ripped out, the edges of the deck needed to be smartened up. For this I nailed some new decking timber along the edges. The deck itself was in good shape and I only had to cut out and replace a few damaged pieces. Fortunately no rot was found in the deck, only in the steps, which were demolished anyway.

All decks higher than one metre off the ground require a building consent and a council approved handrail. Handrails must be at least 1000mm in height from the deck with no gaps greater than 100mm.

Our deck was approximately 800mm from the ground so we did not need a handrail around the deck, but we did need at least one handrail for the steps because we had more than three risers. This also is required for building consent. Our weatherboard handrail also needed a 'grip' rail, such as a metal rod or wooden rail.
The handrail was set beside the tri-fold door and a small matching 'wall' was built to connect the handrail to. This small wall beside the tri-folds enabled a keep to be fixed so that when the door was opened it could be latched back.
Tip: When ripping out timbers take time to either bend or pull out all the nails as you go. It really hurts when you tread on one!

Steve's decking tips
- For a great finish, make sure your nails are in a straight line and equally spaced. Use a string line, chalk line or straight edge.
- Pre drill nail holes to avoid splitting timber
- Leave the nail head proud and finish driving with a nail punch
- Holes for posts should be 350mm x 350mm x 450mm deep.
Please make note that if the deck requires bracing these dimensions may change

Step rules
- Treads must be at least 280mm deep.
- Risers must be a maximum of 185mm high.
-  Front of tread must overlap the back of tread below by between 15mm to 25mm.
- There can be no gap more than 100mm between the vertical distance of treads, therefore riser boards will be needed to close any gaps.

Getting started
Working out steps involves a fair bit of calculating and adjustments and can be complicated for the novice.
First of all you have to determine where the steps will land and calculate the total rise from there in a level line. Remember that the ground coming away from the deck might not necessarily be level and the slope of the ground will affect the overall height of the steps. Consider:  total run, the tread, total rise and the unit rise.

The total rise for our deck was 800mm max.
Step tread 310mm minimum
Riser 180mm max.

So if we start with 180 (max. height for a riser) divided by 800 (height of the deck)  = 4.44 steps, we discover that we need 5 steps. Always round up your calculation. So we need 5 risers at 160mm each (800 divided by 5) that way all the steps will be the same.

BBQ steps

With 5 risers we have to make 4 steps. We wanted a tread of 320mm. So 4 steps at 320mm tread each gives a total run of 1280mm

The timbers we used
Stringer - 300 x 50
Treads - new decking (pine) 
Riser boards - new decking (pine)
Under-frames - 100 x 50
Posts - 100 x 75 concreted into the ground.

All timbers were H3, except the posts, which must be H4 or higher because of the contact with the ground.

By sanding and staining the deck we have given it a "Hardwood look" at a fraction of the cost of expensive hardwoods.