A rustic-looking country-style deck is possible using pallet wood.
This patchwork of rough wooden planks offering varying degrees of patina make for a no-worry, easy-to-care-for deck.
When choosing pallets to build a wood deck, it is best to choose those used to stock goods.
Designed for outdoor use, they are often pretreated, sturdy and thick,
and can be easily sourced from building sites or home improvement stores.
Merchandise pallets (made of resinous wood, pine or fir) age quite well; they come in various widths and shades.
By reusing these resinous woods, which are perfectly adapted to outdoor use, we are making the most of our local resources,
without encouraging the deforestation in Latin American.
How to recognize pine or fir. Pine wood is hard, reddish and typically smells of resin.
Fir is softer and white, with a darker grain and knots.
The foundation for the deck is a layer of very thick pallets laid on top of gravel.
If the ground is not level, even it out using bricks or ceramic tiles.
The foundation should be made with pallets of identical proportions to ensure a perfectly level surface.
Pallets with closely spaced boards are ideal, since they will make it easier to nail down the deck surface later.
After laying down each pallet, use a spirit level, placed on the pallet in different positions,
to check that it is perfectly horizontal. For a higher deck, simply add an extra layer of pallets.
The floorboards for the deck are cut using a jigsaw. This is the fastest and simplest way to proceed.
You can also use the hacksaw technique to cut through the nails.
This last method is more time-consuming but you can get longer boards from the pallet.
Sort the boards into different stacks based on width, if there are different widths, and then nail them one after the other, end to end.
The boards can be either nailed or screwed to the foundation. In all cases,
make sure they have zinc-plated heads for rust resistance.
Extra special care must be taken when aligning the first row of boards,
to provide a perfectly straight guide for the following rows.
Lay down each row of boards, one after the other. It is possible to alternate widths.
You can use a nail set to drive in nail heads.
Cut the protruding board ends with the jigsaw, rounding any indented cutouts.
Nail a few boards around the deck to finish the edges.
Sand the deck and treat the wood with a mixture of 4 parts linseed oil to 1 part turpentine.
For information, for the 14-square-meter deck pictured here, 5 liters of linseed oil were used.
To keep the wood from yellowing too much, a little titanium white was added to the oil.
If a darker color is desired, try walnut stain instead.
Apply three coats of the mixture with a brush and allow to dry at least 24 hours in between each coat.