Sunday, August 31, 2008

Deck - Joists Started

Sunday, August 31

Today was another good working day for working on the deck. In the morning we hung all the joist hangers on all of the decks. In the afternoon Tim's parents came for a visit to check out the progress.

While Tim's parents were visiting, his Dad helped me aline things for the joists for the Main deck. My parents cut the boards and it was a collaborative even getting these big joist boards in place. Especially the first joist board, which was the middle joists and had to be cut into a point, to fit in place. We measured perfectly and fit freakn awesome.

Tim screwed each joist into the joist hangers with a new close quarter drill, that my Dad bought for the job. The other main deck joists were cut on one end at a 45 degree angle in which we used my Uncle's sliding compound saw. My Dad was the best out of us, so he cut the boards for us.

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Deck - Framework Done

Saturday, August 30

What a freakn awesome day! Mid 70's, sunny, blue skies and a nice breeze. It was such a perfect day to work on the deck! We had gotten soooo much accomplished today.

We constructed and finished all of the outside joists for the rest of the decks. I feel so good right now because of all the work we accomplished today.

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

About the only thing that didn't go smoothly was the position of some of the brackets. What looks good on paper obviously doesn't necessarily always work out in reality. Poor Tim... it seemed like every bracket he just had finished nailing on, we had him removed it, due to design change. All the decks are connected and supporting each other. Some of the brackets needed to be changed, once we had seen what was really needed to do the job.

From Deck

We also decided, once things were getting assembled, not to have a double joist upfront on the main deck. The 2 decks below it have double joists that it sits on. My Dad came up with a great idea, which was to only have 1 outside joist, therefore there will be a lip for the inside joists to sit on. Originally we were just going to use 13 angled brackets, but now we don't need them and it'll save us 80 bucks. Yay Dad!

From Deck

Friday, August 29, 2008

Deck - Level 2 - Frame

Friday, August 29

It was another hot and humid day as we constructed the double joist support header for the left Level 2 Deck. We cut the boards, set them in place, screwed and bolted them together. Tomorrow we're planing on getting the rest of the outside joist frame done. It's suppose to be a nice day in the 70's. I can't wait... humid mid 80's is NOT fun to work in.

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Deck - Level 3 - Frame

Thursday, August 28

We constructed the outside joist framework for the 3rd level deck tonight. The first thing I had to do though, was cut a custom post base out of composite board, due to the way things were lining up on the concrete pier. We couldn't use the post base, cause it didn't line up, so I made one that did... and fortunately, the composite board was coincidentally the right height.

My Dad came over to check it out and wound up helping me bolt and screw the first deck frame together.
From Deck

From Deck

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Deck - Level 3 - Cut Lumber

Wednesday, August 27

Tim and I didn't have too much time to work on the deck tonight after work. We were able to squeeze in cutting the lumber for the outside joists to frame the lowest level deck aka Level 3.

Here's the problem, when we put the piece in place, everything line up except for the front most pier. We figure that the tape on the masonry string must have moved and thus the j-bolt for the post base was off a couple of inches. This threw the square out of line.

From Deck

From Deck

My Dad stopped by and offered some advice. First, don't spaz... second... everything is fixable. His solution is not to use the post base bracket, that the joist would sit on, but to use a piece of Trex. It won't rot, would keep the lumber off the concrete and could be placed anywhere on the pier. So... that's what we'll do.

Also... earlier, when I was a work, my parents stopped by and chiseled out one of the main double support beams, as it a bit higher than the other one and throwing the level of the joists off a bit. Rather than plaining the entire board, it just needed to be lower where the joist was. Then I painted over the chiseled areas with a waterproofing sealer.

From Deck

Monday, August 25, 2008

Deck - Last 2 Piers Done, Constructed Main Level Supports

Monday, August 25

I had another day off today to work on the deck project. Before my Dad got to our house, I had taken the opportunity to mount up the rest of the joist hangers on the ledger, that I hadn't finished doing from yesterday. I cut myself a small piece of joist and used that to aline where to screw in the hangers.
From Deck

Tim came outside and was looking around. He mentioned how much water had collected in the holes that we hadn't filled with concrete yet. I hadn't looked at it yet.... then I did. He wasn't kidding.... there had to have been 3 feet of water in both of them. So after I was done with the hangers, the next job was siphoning those babies out. It was no biggy since we actually have small pump that pumped the water out in under 5 min.

After my Dad got to our house, we finished pouring the last 2 concrete piers. Once that was done, we could start on the more visible labor of this project.... the support beams. It's funny... looking at the holes and piers, since most of the work was underground, it's hard to tell that we even did that much work.

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

The support beams of a deck are usually double 2x8's Ours actually required double 2x10's, due to the deck only being 24" high. Everything I read said that it's better to either have a taller pier or taller support beams, instead of a short post (If the post is too short, in time the weight of the deck will split the post).

We measured 3 times with these babies, cause we only had 1 extra 2x10 for an oops. We bolted them together and screwed everything into place.

From Deck

The last thing we had done for the day was to cut one of the outside joist for the frame structure.

From Deck

From Deck

From Deck

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Deck - Last 2 Holes Dug, 4 More Piers Poured

Sunday, August 24

Today we dug out the last two post holes for the deck. It was not fun because these last 2 holes had tree trunks or roots or something from the house construction halfway down. We tried chopping through for an hour or so and gave up. We decided if we couldn't go deeper, we'd give them a larger base instead. My Dad dug out a wider hole base with a heavy-duty ice scraper, which actually worked very well.

After those were dug, Tim, my Dad and wanted to try to pour at least 2 piers. As we were pouring the last 2 if started to really thunder. We could tell it was getting closer and tried to hurry before it rained.

The original plan was to pour 2, but just when we thought we were done, my Dad would say "one more-one more". In the 3rd one we poured, which will be for the level 3 deck, I carved a 2008 in concrete. We just finished the fourth, heard a huge thunder, all looked at each other and scrambled to clean up before the rain came.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Deck - Measure & Dig Post Holes

Saturday, August 23

It's had been another scorcher of a day, in the mid 80's and humid, during our post digging day.

The most important part of this deck will be getting everything to line up. To do this we had to pound in batter boards (3 stakes in an H shape) and run masonry string level from the ledger board and line up where the post would be dug.

Once we marked, with tape on the string, where all the posts would go, we started digging our 13 holes. We didn't use just any tools though... we used 2 old-fasioned manual auger tools. We had 2, one my Dad had (from my Great Aunt Frances) and the other my Uncle Andrew borrowed.

The one Andrew had was a better design and worked faster, but both were soooo much more superior to what a newer post hole digger could do. It's like a giant cork screw by spinning it. It works extremely well in clay soil. The only problem was that we hit a lot of pieces of gravel and tree parts, from when they cleared the land. Once we got into the untouched earth, it worked fantastically well.

With MANY breaks, on this freakn hot day, we still managed to dig 11 full holes and start on the 12th & 13th. Tim led the way, using the better auger tool. Andrew and I were switching off using the other one with a post digger, while my Dad either relieved us or was trying to cut through tree roots. Needless to say, we were all exhausted.

This proved interesting. We found out that dumping the concrete in the holes, adding water and mixing it in the hole, like they do on the HGTV shows, isn't as easy as it looks. We decided to do it the traditional way and mix it up, then pour it in the hole.

The tricky part was getting the j-bolt in the right spot (J shaped bolt imbedded in the concrete and later used to anchor a post to the pier). We also had to make sure the piers were at the right height as well, which we measured from the masonry strings.

We finished off pouring 6 concrete piers before calling it a day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Deck - Mounted Ledger

Friday, August 22

Anyone that knows me knows that I am sooo not a morning person and somehow I actually managed to get my butt out of bed at 6:30 am, so that we could start work on our deck project at 7.

"And here we go..."

The morning started with Tim, my Dad, uncle Andrew and myself demoing off the siding, in the area that the ledger board will go. This was very disconcerting to watch as a homeowner never wants to see their siding ripped off their home.

In order to protect the house, we installed a 20" tall aluminum flashing, where the ledger would go and slip it underneath the siding. This proved to be not fun, considering by this time it was a hot and humid 86 degrees. The flashing kept getting caught on stuff, like nails under the siding, so we kept having to take it down and cut notches for it to go around. At one point, Tim and I were so frustrated we threw it down and went in for lunch to cool off.... physically and mentally.

After a break Tim and I managed to get it in place and tack it up with aluminum nails. We then calked it with adhesive caulk, for even more protection.

When we cut the ledger board we had to cut out an area for the stupid vent that's right smack in the way of it. That was hardest part... the rest was fairly easy. We leveled it, then temporally screwed it in place while we bolted it up. We had a little assembly line going.... Tim handed off the hardware, my Dad drilled the holes, I countersunk the holes with a spade bit and Andrew ratcheted them in.

After lag bolting the ledger board up, Tim and I caulked it on top and we were done for the day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Deck - Lumber & Material Delivery

Thursday, August 21

We've been waiting an agony to see of the lumber, for our deck, gets delivered today. They said either Thursday or Friday. We were hoping today, cause I'm taking off tomorrow and didn't want to waste it.

A bit after 5pm Tim called and said that the delivery truck did come and our pressure treated lumber, Trex decking and other supplies were there. He had taken pics and emailed them to me. I wish I was there to watch.

The truck comes with a fork lift attached to the back. It forked the lumber off the truck and placed it on our driveway, by our garage.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Deck - Ordered Material List

Tuesday, August 19

Since we were happy with the quote that the Home Depot gave us for the deck materials, Tim had gone to accept the order. Unfortunately he ran into some issues. First off the pro-desk being understaffed. So he waited in line a looooong time.

While having the time waiting, he checked over the order and he discovered they changed out what screw type we had on the list. We had on the list 1 1/4" screw (for screwing into the 2x8 joists). They thought those were meant for the decking and changed it to 2 1/2" screw.

We understood, they thought they were helping by giving us by giving us longer screws, but it screwed up the order. It wasn't a simple fix either. It would either have to be resubmitted if we changed it back. The guy at the pro-desk was nice about it though, knowing that it was their fault, took the screws off the list, then rang op the correct screws separately and gave a 10% discount.

After that issue was fixed, Tim did order the materials. The bill was payed for by a variety of different payment methods, including our cash deck fund, gift cards and saved money. Thanks to our family & friends that contributed over the last couple of years!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Deck - Quote from Home Depot

Monday, August 18

Tim called me this afternoon to tell me he heard from the Home Depot about our quote for the deck materials. They gave us a great deal... over $400 discount and shipping. I'm very excited about this.... that takes care of the taxes right there.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deck - Material List for Quote

Saturday, August 16

This morning Tim and I had taken a trip over to the Home Depot to talk to someone at the pro-desk for a quote. We were told, by the lumber dept, that if your bill goes beyond 2,000 you can put your request in for a bid and get a discount. And since our bill was beyond that, eps because of the Trex decking, it was worth it to go for whatever discount they could give.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deck - Ordered Hidden Deck Fasterners

Wednesday, August 13

I've been doing a lot of research on deck fasteners. There's basically 2 ways to fasten your deck boards.... traditional top down screwing them in... or the newer trend, hidden deck fasteners. Both have their pros and cons.

Top down...
The pro is it is the strongest way. The con is they are unsightly if not done in a "design", and eventually that's where the (wood) decking starts to rot.

Hidden Deck Fasteners
The new trend for decking is hidden fasteners, esp for composite board. It's more about ascetics than anything. Personally, I just don't feel like looking at screws, if I don't have too.

There are many different types of fasteners out there. Today I ordered 2 different brands. We're using Invisi-Fast for the main deck because they're made for running the decking on a diagonal. It's made out of the same material as safety googles and supposedly easy to install.... or so we'll find out :)

The 2nd is one that can be screwed to the board then flipped over and screwed in to the joist. It has to be done that way for the lower levels cause we won't be able to fit the cordless drill underneath due to the deck height.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Deck - Plan Approved

Monday, August 11

Tim got word that out deck plans were approved by the Town Hall and they'll have a permit ready for us in a few days.... yay!!!!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Patio Set

Saturday, August 9

I found this awesome July 4th sale for a patio set at a website called The patio set is as close as one can get to the patio sling chairs Tim's parents gave us, when they moved. They're sling style chairs that rock. The best part is that both of the sets match the house. The tan nylon material has the same tone as the siding and the black matches our house accents.

The patio set was purchased with 3 weeks vacation time I had to use or loose. Yay!... I love when things like that work out. Anyways.... Tim and I put together the chairs last night, along with a little help from my Dad, who stopped by, to watch a TV show with us on Friday night. And this afternoon I put the table together.