Monday, March 4, 2013

The Deck Continued

Let's see, when we last discussed the deck construction, we were left with something like this:

Deck Remodel Part 1

The old wood was gone but we did have this broken up concrete slab to deal with.  We knew that we wanted to accomplish two things when building the new deck (other than making it look nice, be to code and have it be structurally sound, of course):

1.  The deck should be the same height as our sliding glass door when we step out onto it.  This was very different from our previous deck because before, we walked out the back door and down three steps to the deck level.
2.  We noticed that the gravel under the deck was not properly graded.  The dirt was actually slopped so that water pored toward our house instead of away.  Fun times.

After some brainstorming, we decided upon our course of action- we would need to install a French drain under the deck.  For those that do not know what a French drain is, it is basically a long drain pipe with holes in it that you place under ground.  The pipe collects water and diverts it away to wherever you chose to drain the pipe to.  If that sounds confusing, this may help:
 We would also need to bring in a couple of yards of dirt, lay some plastic sheeting, and then cover all of that with rock.  It seems like a lot of unplanned work, but I actually had no issue with this plan.  I figured that in doing this, we would also eliminate our snake issue under the deck.  No snake in its right mind would want to hang out on a black plastic sheet in the middle of summer, right?  I have snake issues, it is true, but I digress...

Anyway, this plan was great until we realized that in order to install this drain, we would have to cut through the entire concrete slab.  Talk about a set back... But we are all about doing things correctly so we drove over to our local Resource and rented a concrete cutter (ReSource is a non-profit organization that takes and resells used household items- doors, windows, paver stones, you name it.  They also rent out tools at about a quarter the cost of Home Depot-Resource).  For the next 8 hours, this is all we did- ouch:

Something to note- we found that the average concrete cutting blade was pretty useless.  We ended up buying a diamond blade and it made life MUCH easier.

 The grading of dirt, black plastic and rock laying stage came right after this, but I unfortunately do not have a great picture of this until we almost had the deck built.

You can see that we had also used an auger to dig all of our post holes and then poured the concrete and set out posts.  After 36 hours of drying time, we were good to start building!

First up, the VERY long ledger board, which stretched the entire length of the deck.  We did three sections of this so the deck was its own structure rather than it being attached to our house.

You can see the french dain hold pretty well in both these photos.

Next, we started putting the joists in.

Joists are quite time consuming because (a) you have to put in so dang many of them, and (b) because the process of moving around became quite difficult.  It's funny in all the demo work, rock hauling and concrete cutting that we did, we never got hurt.  However, while tight rope walking the joists we took many a tumble.  By the end of this stage, I was starting to think that my chin bones would never look the same again.

Poor Chloe was also quite confused by how to get out to her yard.  Luckily, the agility dog side of her took over though and she found ways to jump over and crawl under to get to her yard.

One final step before starting with the decking was to frame out a window well that would be under the deck and goes to a guest bedroom in the basement.

We wanted to make a trap door so that we could prop it open when guests visit to get a bit of extra sunlight into the room. 
With the trap door done and spacers between the joists, we were ready to start decking.  Thank goodness.

A full day of work later and we were done!

Chloe was extremely happy to have her deck back as well.

We will give an update this summer with how we stained, decorated, landscaped, etc...  As of now, this deck is covered in snow.  But, we LOVE having it and cannot wait to do some decorating this summer!

I should mention that it took us one week of straight work to get this deck from a concrete slab to built.  It was grueling and I do not necessarily recommend this tight timetable, but this is how this Baltz family works.  We get started on a project and nothing short of mojitos and fresh guacamole will even begin to make us think about taking a break. 

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