Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Deck - Completed Trex Decking Photos

2008
Tuesday, September 16

Since we finished the decking of our deck at night I wanted to post some daytime photos of the completed decking.

From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


We still want to build benches, install darker trim and planter boxes with Japanese Maples next year. I also want to add a triangular shade sail above it to fit in with the contemporary look. Shade sails are a fairly new trend. They're basically a large canvas draped above for shade, instead of using an umbrella or pergola.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Deck - Deck is Done!

2008
Thursday, September 11

In the morning I finished off installing the last 2 boards I could on the Level 2 (Left) Deck. The last board my Dad had to go home and rip in half on his table saw.

I started on the Level 2 (right) after that. Tim helped me finish off the rest of the deck up to the point that we needed the last board. Since the level 2 decks were the same sized we needed the same size for the last board..... which happened to be an exact half a board.


My Uncle Andrew came over and helped Dad cut the boards for the Level 3 deck, while I was underneath the deck screwing in the last boards on the level 2 decks. After I was done with that, my Mom and I started the decking on the level 3 Deck. After my Mom had taken a break, my Dad took over for her and helped me with the rest of the boards.

My Dad and I actually wiggled ourselves underneath to screw in the last 2 boards. There wasn't any play room, as my nose was an inch away from the joist. Unfortunately the last board my Dad had to rip smaller and go home to do. My Mom stayed with me as I stayed underneath.... cause if I came out, there's no way I'd go back under there after seeing the spider I had.... eeeee.

Tim came home at about the same time my Dad got back. He was surprised to find that we were almost done... and even more so to find that his wife was under the deck at 10pm. It was a relief to screw in that last screw and get the heck out from underneath the deck, where I had been for the last half hour.

It felt so good to have the decking done. Well... for now.... to be continued next year when we build benches and planters :)


From Deck


From Deck


From Deck

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Deck - Level 2 (Left) - Trex Decking

2008
Tuesday, September 9

Since we decided the Aphano Hidden Deck Fasteners weren't the hidden fasteners we wanted to go with, I unscrewed the 3 boards we had started on the Level 2 (left) deck. I re-installed them using the Invisi-Fast Hidden Deck Fasteners.

It had gone much faster and smoother with the Invisi-Fast system. I was averaging about 10 min a board (including measuring and cutting) and installed 8 boards before my parents and my uncle came over. The rest of the deck my Mom and I had done together.... and we kicked butt installing almost all the Trex boards on the level 2 (left) deck.

From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


While we were doing that, my Dad and Uncle Andrew was fixing an issue with the right level 2 deck. After looking at it, we realized it wasn't as square as we thought. They unscrewed all the joists, trimmed them up a bit and screwed them back into place.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Deck - Main Deck - Trex done

2008
Monday, September 8

Today starts my vacation week. The original goal was to have the deck done last week so I could enjoy sitting on the deck during my vacation. For some reason I didn't calculate into that equation 90 degree icky weather and waiting for shipments.

Today my goal was to finish the Trex decking on the main level deck before my best friend came over. I achieved my goal and got to show it off to her.

From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


Today was also the first time in 2 years that we actually opened the sliding glass door. There was never a reason to open it before due to the 2 foot drop. Today we actually used it.... and got to walk out onto a deck.... yay!

From Deck

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Deck - Philips Aurelle Deck Lighting Kit

2008
Sunday, September 7

Before anymore Trex boards had been installed on the deck I wanted to install the Philips Aurelle deck lights as step lighting. I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner. I wouldn't have had to go underneath the deck to install the wiring, but a least the underneath view was cool.

From Deck


First though I needed to go to Home Depot and buy a 1-1/8 size spade bit as it was a size I didn't have. Then I drilled holes in the outside joists, which really are steps, and go underneath to run wiring.

I installed 6 of the Philips Aurelle lights on the main deck. They were so freakn easy to install. No stripping wires, just insert them into cool splicing connectors and presto!

From Deck


From Deck



In the afternoon my parents came over and helped out with installing more Trex on the main level deck. We were kicking butt and got all the way up to the corner of the main deck.

From Deck


From Deck


From Deck

From Deck

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Deck - Board exchange, More Trex Done

2008
Saturday, September 6

This morning We had gotten a new delivery of Trex boards, from the Home Depot, to exchange the damaged ones we had gotten in the first shipment. There were many that had been damaged, probably due to being the last that they had in stock at the time. The new boards look really nice and they're in great condition. We wished that the first batch was like this shipment.

From Deck

From Deck


We had gotten another delivery today.... the deck lights I had purchased. I had been looking around for step lights and found the Philips Aurelle LED Deck light kit. They're basically little tiny recessed lights.

From Deck


In the morning I had also had gotten an early start and installed more boards on the main deck on my own, which reassured me that I made the right choice to get more invisi-fast fasteners for the lower decks. I really like the system and installing the Trex boards has been going very nicely.

From Deck

From Deck

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Deck - Main Level - More Trex

2008
Thursday, September 4

After I had gotten home from work, I had gone straight outside to work on the deck. Working on the deck after work has been really hard. By the time we get everything set up and get to work, the sun is already starting to set. I did managed to install 2 more Trex boards on the main deck using the Invisi-Fast Hidden Deck Fastener system, before sunset though.

Wow... what a great fastening system. I installed some, when we first started, but my Mom has really been the one installing the decking on the main deck level. They were easy to install. I couldn't believe the difference in experience between the other fasteners we used and the Invisi-Fast. The Invisi-Fast actually made it enjoyable to install the decking. It was fast, easy and felt very solid when I stood on the installed boards.

From Deck


From Deck


From Deck

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Deck - Level 2 (Left) & Hidden Deck Fasteners

2008
Wednesday, September 3

Last night we had installed the first Trex board onto the lower left deck. We had gotten frustrated while using the Aphano Fasteners and called it a night. Today I wanted to give the Aphano Fasteners another go.

I installed 2 more Trex deck boards with the Aphano Fasteners. After the 3rd board was down, and numerous swear words had been used, I decided to get Tim and my Dad's opinion.

Here's the things that I was unhappy with... the whole process of having to screw the fastener to the bottom of the decking board, flip it over, then screw it into the joist. This made for no give if things weren't lining up or if your pencil line was off. There was a bounce to it that wasn't thrilled about too. I understand that composite board has some give, after all, it is a plastic material, but this bounce was disconcerting.... like it wasn't fastened down enough. I even had put the (optional) 2nd screw in the fastener, and the boards still had a huge amount of give to it. I dono.... maybe it's me, but I want my deck to feel solid.
From Deck


Tim and my Dad had the same opinion that I had too. My Dad immediately knew after walked on both decks, just as I had, which system to go with. And thus.... we decided to return the Aphano Fasteners.

We had gone online right after my Dad left and bought an Invisi-Fast kit for straight decking and accessory clips that will make the system easier to install, if we can't get underneath. We ordered the kits tonight and hopefully they'll come in by next week.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Deck - Level 2 (Left) Decking Started

2008
Tuesday, September 2

My parents came over, when I got home from work, and we started working on the Trex decking for the left level 2 deck. Instead of using the Invisi-Fast Hidden Deck Fasteners we were going to try the Aphano Fasteners. The Invisi-Fast system is easier to do when you can see what you're doing from below the deck.... or at least get your head below for visibility. The Aphano Fasteners are stated to be a total above system. The main deck has space to get below, but the other 3 decks are fairly close to the ground so we decided go with the Invisi-Fast on the main deck and the Aphano Fasteners on the other 3.

Invisi-Fast Hidden Deck Fasteners...
While Dad and I started using the Aphano Fasteners on the Level 2 decking, my Mom was working on the main level. She was working on it alone and wasn't having any issues. And that's really saying something about the Invisi-Fast Fasteners as my Mom has rheumatoid arthritis. The only time she asked for help was when she needed another board cut, so I knew it was good system.

From Deck


From Deck



Aphano Fasteners...
On the other had, Dad and I were having issues with the Aphano Fasteners. We screwed them in, the way the directions stated, but it was really hard fitting the drill in the space we had to screw. The hex screws, they gave, were awkward to use and we kept splitting the fasteners as you had to be very easy on the pressure. The system requires you to put the board in place, draw a line where the joist is, flip it over, screw the fastener to the board, flip it back over and screw it to the joist.

From Deck


From Deck


From Deck



It wasn't as easy as they made it seem on the website and we were all getting frustrated and crabby... esp me. I really wanted this system to work. We gave up for the day and I will try some more boards tomorrow for a better evaluation.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Deck - Finished Joists, Trex Decking Started

2008
Monday, September 1

Main level
The first thing on the agenda this morning was to finish up the joists for the main level deck. My Dad, Mom and I measured and cut rest of the main level joists and put them in place. These were some big boards to move around as some of them were 16 foot 2x8's. And on top of that, they had to have a 45 degree angle cut on one end. While we were doing that Tim came along, with a close quarter drill, and screwed them into the joist hangers. After we finished the rest of the main deck joists, we started Installing the rest of joist hangers for the other decks.

Level 2R
We cut and installed the joists for the left 2nd level deck after installing the joist hangers. These were a lot easier to do than the main level deck joists because they were just straight cuts. We had to chisel away a little wood on some of the joists as some of them were a little sitting a little too tall.

Level 3
The right 3rd level deck was next. Even though it was a smaller deck, it was actually a bit harder to install the joists because there wasn't a lot of room to maneuver the drill around and screw them in.

Level 2L
The right 2nd level deck was the last to have joists installed. My Dad and my uncle Andrew cut joists, then my Mom and I shimmed them to level them, due to them being the last of our boards and not the best pickings anymore.

From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


From Deck


Trex Decking and Invisi-Fast Hidden Deck Fasteners
Well... since the joists were all in place that meant that we could actually start on the Trex decking boards. After Andrew cut the first board it was demo time. Instead of the traditional way of screwing the deck boards from the top, we decided to go with Invisi-Fast Angle hidden deck fasteners for the main deck. They are made specifically for installing decking on angles.

They're made from the same material that safety goggles are made from.... and are supposedly virtually indestructible. They seemed like an easy installation process, from their website www.invisifast.com, which is one of the reasons I chose them. (And they are Made in the USA, which is a plus). You just screw in the fastener to the joist, then screw 2 screws in from below, into the Trex board. The fasteners even come with a handy-dandy spacer as a part of the piece. The spacer is 1/4" wide and is the distance the Trex boards needs for expansion.

I started installing the first Trex board with the fasteners to give a demo about how they worked. It was just as simple of a process as the website stated. Mom helped me with the rest of the first board and next 2 boards, before calling it a day. I really liked the system. It was a small learning curve and it seemed to really hold the boards very securely.

From Deck


From Deck