I used to buy cheap patio tables from local discount stores. However, I had to constantly keep buying these due to the fact that they invariably rust or fall apart in a only a few years. Another problem is that these cheesy tables are so light… a strong wind will occasionally tip them over (even if the umbrella is down). So, I was looking for something “built to last” that would be heavy enough to resist tipping in a strong breeze. I finally gave up and had to build my own out of PT lumber. I built my first table in 2003, out of ACQ lumber and “DeckMate” lifetime screws (both purchased at Home Depot).
Since I was lazy, I just stained this table and left it outside all year ‘round. However, by 2014, this table had significantly deteriorated. I figured PT wood and “lifetime screws” would last a long time. I guess I was wrong…. This rotted out in a bit more than a decade.
Curiously its twin table (also built in 2003) still seems to be in relatively good shape. Maybe I got a bad batch of PT lumber? Also, I was a little pissed that many of my “lifetime” DeckMate screws dissolved in only 10 years. Some of them did seem in good shape, some okay, and some just literally dissolved in the wood and broke apart when I tried to unscrew them. I contacted Home Depot (via the website) and despite the fact I had no receipt, and purchased them 10 years ago… they gave me a new box with no questions asked! ( I did bring in a sample of my severely rusted screws as “proof” though). The clerk at Home Depot said he has never seen these screws rust before. Hmmm, I can tell you, I have seen these rust quite a bit, but only in PT lumber.
Well at any rate, I decided to rebuild my table with micronized copper azole PT (which is reported to be less corrosive to fasteners and longer lasting than ACQ PT), and stainless steel screws this time. While at Home Depot I picked up a few boxes of “Grip Rite” stainless steel screws. They were about $14 a pound if you buy by the pound, but if you buy a 5 pound box, it come out to $12 a pound. Not too bad for stainless steel I suppose. However, I think Home Depot needs to tell the Chinese factory that makes these to increase the quality control a bit. One box had an empty bag where the “free” drive bit was supposed to be, this one also had a piece of a Chinese newspaper in it. Another box had a big paper clip in addition to the screws… oh well… you get what you pay for.
First step in the new table was to cut 4×4 legs. In order to match the other table, I made these 27” tall. If you are going to make one, make sure you can push your existing chairs underneath (i.e. the arms of your deck chairs can clear this height!). Next, I cut some 2X4s about 24” long to frame the table. I screwed these in at an angle, not very strong, but the table “decking” will stiffen this up considerably.
The completed table is heavy and awkward to carry… with wet PT, I don’t even think I can lift it. As such, I moved the project outside at this point. I cut 2X6 lumber to make the “decking”. I decided to cut the boards straight instead of at an angle (as with the original table). Although not as decorative, I was hoping that it would help keep water from seeping into the corners of the table (where the other one rotted profusely), and it was easier to cut to boot.
Next, I cut some 2X6s for the sides and mitered these together. I held the whole thing together with the stainless steel screws (carefully pre-drilling holes for the decking part to avoid splitting as they are close to the edge).
Here we have the completed table, ready to go.
If this one rots out, I will report back, but I am hoping this is the last time I need to rebuild this.