Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Deck Building Extravaganza!

We worked very hard this week to be ready for doing some major deck building over the weekend.  At the beginning of the week all we had was some holes in the ground and lumber in a pile.

Earlier in the week we got fill dirt and gravel delivered. 

The first thing we did was to install the posts in the ground.  We used braces to make sure they were level and plumb before we tamped down the soil. 

Once the posts were in place we needed to grade so that water will flow away from the house.  We started by adding some of the rubble from the old porch to the large depressions.  Then we added a lot of fill dirt and tamped it down so there is a nice gentle slope. We covered this with a sheet of thick plastic (cutting out for the posts).  Then we were ready for help!

My parents and our brother-in-law Todd came over to help us with the framing of the deck.  It took most of the day to cut and notch the posts, install the beams and braces, and install half of the inner joists. 

Of course we made a couple mistakes - and if you're building a deck, hopefully you can learn from them.  The first mistake was that we put all four outer joists in place before installing the inner joists. 

We are building a freestanding deck so there is no ledger board attached to the house.  Normally you would attach the joists to the ledger board and then cut them to length in place before installing the outer joist.  Since we didn't do that, we ended up with a very bad bow at the end of the day Saturday. 

So on Sunday we removed the nails that were holding the joists in place and removed the outer joist.  We then installed the rest of the inner joists, cut them all to the right length, and re-installed the outer joist.  Now there is no more bow and it looks much better!

One other big mistake is that we didn't install the hurricane ties on properly.  None of us had ever used them and didn't think too much about it before installation.  We got about 20 of these in place before we realized our mistake.  So my mom and dad removed and repositioned over 200 nails to put them right.  This took a lot of time but it's finally all correct and we learned a valuable lesson - look up the installation instructions for all hardware prior to installation!

Throughout the weekend my mom watched Samantha which was a huge help.  Of course sometimes she was able to play supervisor.

Once my parents left on Sunday, we placed all the remaining lumber on the framed deck so that they could dry out (and stop killing our grass).  

Our next steps for the deck build are: 
     1.  Install railing posts
     2.  Install deck boards
     3.  Install railing sides and ballusters
     4.  Install railing top
     5.  Pour concrete pad for stairs
     6.  Install stringers for stairs
     7.  Install toe kick and tread for stairs
     8.  Install railing for stairs
     9.  Set up deck furniture
     10.  Relax on our new deck with a delicious beer!

Our food basket for the week included chicken, roast, sausage, rolls, yogurt, green beans, eggs, cucumber, corn, tomatoes, yellow squash, pears, and apples.  Yummy!

Samantha is crawling so fast and getting into so much.  She loves paper so the crate of magazines is a favorite.  She crawls over to it and stands up so she can get a better angle.


She loves helping me with laundry.  I just can't wait until she can sort the socks!

Her weekly pictures are getting so much harder to take:

Hopefully next week we'll have finished deck pictures (or at least a lot closer!).

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