email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Well, I had a deck builder come by yesterday to discuss replacing the old deck.

When I moved here 27 years ago, one of the first major things I did was build a 2-level deck.  The main floor had sliding glass doors 10" above ground level and a pre-made fence section nailed across the outside so that no one could accidently open the doors and fall out.

But below that was a sunken patio with a cinder block wall around it.  So it seemed like a good idea to use the cinder block wall to support deck posts, and I sort of wanted to use the sliding glass doors for "something".  I bought a book on building decks, designed one, ordered the lumber for delivery, and recruited a friend and a friend-of-that-friend to help.  I'm a by-the-book builder.  I follow "the rules" (Dad was an engineer, and certain habits get passed along).  Like bracing posts using small boards to anchor the posts.  The friend had the carpentry skills of a hippo (zero) and his friend was a "just do it fast" type.  It was not a good combination.

But it worked out OK.  They did the initial cutting away of some vinyl siding (I couldn't watch that part)  and heavy lifting to get the ledger board attached to the house.  I did all the rest myself so I could do it "my way").  Even today, the deck guy pounded and jumped on the deck and said it was still "damn solid".  But even pressure-treated wood does not last forever, the deck was never build "to code" (I had no idea there were codes at the time), and it is ugly as hell.  You can build something to engineering specifications and still have it "ugly".  My artistic skills are not outstanding.  If I had design physical things for a living, I would starve to death.  Let's just say that if life was a ballet, I would be a hippo!  My constructions are very functional, but that that's about it.

Plus, it is a 2-level deck.  The higher level is 12'x12' and the lower level 12'x16'.  I had in mind throwing parties in my new house.  I learned I couldn't fill a closet with "friends" and I'm am not a party-thrower...

So the new deck will be a slightly larger upper one and no lower deck.  The new 16'x16' deck will have very sturdy composite flooring (it used to be cheap and flimsy, but the current stuff is as solid as real '2" by 'wood, and will last longer than I will.  And it is colored right through, so no staining required. 

It will take a several weeks for the deck guy to get the building permit, which is good because it gets me past my dental work next week and also into the drier time on the year (the front yard is muddy in April/May and it is a LOT easier for him to bring the lumber into the back yard by small truck).  I can't wait.

BTW, I mentioned only one builder.  I'm good about competitive bids.  I had 4 estimates last Fall.  So I took the one I preferred among those and asked him for a revised estimate.  Since the revised estimate was so close to the previous one (even with a couple of changes) I just accepted that one.


Fuzzy Tales said...

Good luck with it! I'm not a DIYer, as I've discovered, which is why half the house has been torn apart in one way or another for a decade or so. But I love to watch design shows, home repair/reno shows....Maybe you'll post pics of the process and the finished deck? I love to see transformation. I hope it goes well and is done quickly and properly. :-)

Megan said...

Yaaaay you. I agree with Fuzzy Tales: perhaps pics of the before and after? (Besides, taking pics of other people doing the hard work is always fun!)

Sydney, Australia

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

I ALWAYS take pictures of projects, whether I do them myself of not. And I think I will attach an old (slightly damaged) digital camera to a tree for "same spot" pictures, whle usig the newer one for different angle shots.

Megan said...

Looking forward to seeing them. Had you given any thought to before, during and after shots of the dental work?? LOL

Sydney, Australia

PS. And no, I wasn't serious about the dentist, and no, it's not funny.