Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Decked Out

I took Friday off partially because I'm approaching the use-it-or-lose it limit of 300 hours of paid time off thanks to no Westercon or Worldcon trip this year, and partially because I thought we would be working on an anticipated home-improvement project. Unfortunately, a long weekend of extreme heat and eye-watering smoke meant that nowhere near as much got done on the project to replace the rear patio deck. However, I will take this opportunity to chronicle our progress to date, on a project that I haven't mentioned but that has been going on for some time now.

Grinding It Out

It turns out that I had nearly no picture of the rear deck located outside the sliding glass door. It's visible here in this 2015 photo in the distance in the way it usually has appeared, as a place where we stored a bunch of stuff.

Before Renovation

Lisa cleared off the deck in anticipation of rebuilding the area into an enclosed storage area, possibly using a pre-fabricated metal building kit. The hatch on the left of this picture was a pet door. We'll probably want to fill that space up with insulation.

Notice how the boards to the right of the large concrete block are sagging? Upon further investigation, Lisa discovered that the area was not currently suitable for a space that would be load bearing.

Something Rotten

Lisa started pulling up boards to find out how bad the problem was.

Deck Removal

Prying off the wood deck boards, Lisa saw that much of the underlying wood had rotted away.

Something Rotten

This area was particularly bad. I speculate that water ran off of the roof through the deck and did not drain away, but just pooled here rotting the boards. We don't get that much rain, but we do get some. In this climate, wood that doesn't get wet will last a long time, but rot is still a problem in places.

Deck Removal Complete

After Lisa pulled off the rest of the boards, she could determine what could be salvaged.

Deck Removal Complete

The right two beams (which originally extended all the way to the back wall) were a write-off, and Lisa removed them entirely.

Deck Removal Complete

Lisa concluded that the left two beams are serviceable. The beam at right in this photo (the middle of the five support beams over all) is sort of usable, so she planned to leave it in place but install a new support beam right next to it. There was a whole lot of debris in here, including a child's toy, lots of cobwebs, and sundry junk. We don't know when the deck was built, but it was here when we bought the house ten years ago, so we'll speculate that it is at least twenty years old and possibly considerably older.

With the assessment done, we drew up a "bill of materials" and went to Lowe's to buy lumber. Unfortunately, they did not have all of the sizes of boards we needed, but we got what we could, intending to return when they got the other boards we needed in stock. Buying lumber like this is a bit of an expedition for us because we need to hook up the utility trailer to the Astro.

Lisa took some days off after we got the lumber (about which I will write at a later date), but started working on things again just before the long weekend.

Patio Clearance

Taking advantage of milder conditions at night, Lisa started cleaning out all of the junk, including the toy drag racer.

Patio Board Replacement

With the junk cleared, Lisa started to replace boards. While this looks at first glance like redwood, it's actually pressure-treated pine, which is resistent to rot and less expensive than redwood.

Patio Board Replacement

I climbed up onto the high block in the rear for this reverse angle. With one of the vertical supports on its side, you can see how the wood preservative partially penetrates the boards.

Patio Progress

Here's how things stand as of today. It turns out that the right side concrete has settled more than the left, so Lisa needs to put additional thinner "shim" boards in place to get the deck to sit level. Also, every board has to be cut to its own size, as the settling means that the side-to-side distance is slightly different for each board. When all of the boards are in place and secured (they're just sitting there now, not fastened into place), the plan is to lay plywood over the top (after painting the plywood with wood preservative), and probably to lay some sort of covering over that, possibly the artificial-turf-like covering that was already here, much of which is worn out and needs replacement anyway.

We've used up the initial lumber purchase, and canceled the order for the metal building kit. (We made the order more than two months ago, and when Lowe's called to say it had arrived, we went over there and they said they couldn't find it, so we told them "never mind" and got a refund.) Time to put together another bill of materials for the remaining boards and to go buy wood preservative for the plywood along with more lumber. Maybe the cooler weather forecast for this week will make it easier for us to go do more work on this.

I note that my involvement here has mostly been to be the one with the credit card and to ocassionally move pieces of wood. Lisa has done all of the work, as she can mainly get things done late at night when it's cool enough to work. Having no neighbors means there's nobody to complain about her making noise building stuff.
Tags: "home improvement", house, lisa, lumber, patio

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