Last fall a homeowner asked me to prepare a quote for replacing some worn-out decking. The 15-year-old deck faced west and was exposed both to full sun and to heavy squalls that blow off Lake Champlain in this northwest corner of Vermont. The owners opted for the same wood species - 5/4x4 red meranti - but they wanted to preserve the natural finish more carefully this time around. They also wanted to avoid the nail pops that were common on the original deck. I did some hasty research on finishes and fasteners; my own concern was how to complete the...

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