Category Archives: Home Improvements

Finally Decking

So, it seems that I have some very, very patient friends.  Forget for a moment that deck building activities are now moving into the 5th month, and they still keep coming back to help me, but the real kicker is now the manner in which I decided to install the decking.  Way back before there was even a hole in the ground, Rob was asking about how I wanted to install the decking, probably because he knew what I now realize; doing anything remotely different from just laying the boards across the joists takes more time.  A LOT MORE TIME.  For instance, Rob (foolishly) mentioned that doing a “picture frame” board around the outside of the deck looks really nice and hides all of the board ends from the outside.  Yep, it sure does.  It also means that we have to install a BUNCH more (about 30 more pieces) blocking to make sure we have something to screw it down to.  Ok, so we got that done.  Then I also decided (because I’m a jerk) that diagonal decking looks so cool, we were going to do that too.  Ya, great.  So, that meant we had to install a LOT more blocking (maybe another 30 pieces?) so we had something to screw the ends of the deck boards down to.

So, while I wish the deck was done, now I have myself to blame that it’s taking way longer than I had originally planned.  On the upside however, the decking is looking fantastic, which is just awesome.

So there you go, a little update for you folks, and a thank you to good friends who are willing to put up with me….

The Plan
The Hole
The Ledger
The Footings
The Post Post
The Joists
The Railing Posts and Bracing

Railing posts and deck bracing

Well, it’s been ages since I updated here on the deck build.  This time, some changes that are even more fun to see.  First off, we added the railing posts where they belong, and yes, they are way too long at the moment, but that will be corrected eventually.  Nothing too fancy here, just lots of drilling and cutting.

A little detail on the post attachment….

 

More posts, and some braces just visible at the bottom….

Look at those braces.  Man they look great, and the difference to the stability of the deck is really awesome.  One thing for sure is:  the deck is not going to fall down.

More stuff to come, the next update should be a fun one!

The Plan
The Hole
The Ledger
The Footings
The Post Post
The Joists

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deck Joists

So, aside from the famous ledger, we hadn’t made much of a change to the actual house until the day we finally got to attach joists to the beam.  This made the biggest difference in the visual progress of the project, you can really see the size of this frigging deck, finally.  It was probably the smoothest construction day so far, with the exception of the discovery that the joists we picked were nowhere near the same width, in some cases almost 1/4 inch difference, which caused some swearing and thinking.  But we managed to get it all attached, and the fascia board on too.  It’s looking darn good, if I do say so.

One note about the timing of these blog posts, naturally the progress is WAY slower than I thought given that I have no idea what I am doing, and I must rely on friends, and naturally we all have day jobs, so this work actually happened weeks ago.  Add to that my blogging tardiness and you have a huge time lag there.  🙂

Stay tuned folks.

The Plan
The Hole
The Ledger
The Footings
The Post Post

 

 

The Post Post

After being dismayed at the pile of dirt created by the digging, putting up the ledger board, then playing with the sonotubes before killing ourselves shoveling dirt and hauling cement, it was high time to see some actual deck-like construction begin.

So, once again after ordering up an incredibly hot day, Rob and I started with one last setup of those damn strings (have I mentioned how much I dislike those? Oh I did) and then we got to use his fancy drill and finally get some work done.  I didn’t get many pictures that day, but the finished product looked like this:

A damn fine set of posts and a beam if I do say so.  The best part of this was Rob’s solemn promise that I never need to set up those damn strings again (I may have hallucinated this part, can’t be sure)

That’s about it for today’s update, with hardly an inappropriate pun to be found.  What else do I have?  Let’s see.  I finally got wood.  Does that work?  Let’s go with that.

Other deck posts (har har):

The Plan
The Hole
The Ledger
The Footings

 

Enter ye the trench of puns, and abandon all hope

So, aligning with my project plan goal of only working on the hottest days available, last weekend fit the bill perfectly, with temperatures well into the ohmygods.  What a better weekend to do hours of backbreaking labour?  And why not sucker, er invite some friends over to help?  Well that’s what I did, and here’s how it all went down.

First off, there was much measuring and string tying (something that I have already come to loathe, despite it being the most critical aspect of accuracy in the whole project).  Also some non-vampire related stake hammering.

Then we placed the sonotubes and footings into the holes, located those suckers to the best of our ability, and then shoveled like morons for the next 8 hours or so.

 

We paused from time to time to give the hole a solid Wacking.

We may have gotten a little punchy as the hours wore on under the punishing sun.

Finally we decided that hauling 30kg bags of concrete around was a lot more fun than shoveling untold hundreds of kgs of dirt, so we returned the Wacker (about which COUNTLESS puns were told) and obtained a much less exciting cement mixer and started the mixing of the 88 bags of concrete that I wisely had purchased, and had delivered to the driveway.  First off naturally, we had to move the 2640kg of concrete from the garage to the back yard, which was just fantastic.  Then came the mixing and the pouring and the tamping, all good fun.

Some revelations that come from shoveling all weekend long:

  1. I will NEVER complain about my job again.

That is all.

Also, I actually love my job and never complain about it, but shoveling all day long makes me appreciate things like being cool and comfortable much more.

So that’s the filling the hole part of the job.  Not something that you can just ask your friends to do, but I did anyway.  And they showed up and helped, and it was awesome.

Thanks guys.

Other deck posts (har har):

The Plan
The Hole
The Ledger

Heat Ledger

Rob and I wisely planned a deck work day for one of the hottest damn days in recent memory, so if my recollection of the work done is a little hazy, it’s because I was woozy from the heat.  It was something like 35C out on Saturday, not sure what it got up to with the humidity, but needless to say the heat was punishing.

First step, off to spend some money by buying long wooden boards, sonotubes (not a new age musical instrument, as it turns out), cone footings, and the like.  We stopped for a coffee on the way home because it was so early and then both of us immediately stopped drinking them because it was already so frigging hot.

Then, time to wreck the house and actually remove some siding.  This was a pretty big moral victory since the only change to date was to the dirt in the yard and my bank account.   Finally a tangible change to the house was visible.  Um, you can put that back together, right Rob?

Fortunately, Rob knew exactly what to do and with very little drama we had a ledger board installed.  Ok, there was one terrifying moment when we thought we would have to remove the board because it was just ever so slightly in danger of collapsing an entire deckful of future Vallentyne party goers, but then we figured it all out and life was good.  Here’s what it looks like.

So, that’s a terrible, terrible job all done without any incident, and we didn’t even fall in the hole behind us, so that’s a miracle really.  That Heat Ledger* is one sexy damn board.  Hope the rest of the deck looks as good.

*Too soon?