Monday, January 2, 2012

The Deck

Behold, our finished deck!

I wanted to show you a before picture, but I {yet again} forgot to take one before starting.
So here are a couple of really before pictures, as in over three years ago, pre-grass before.

I want to go over, start to finish, the whole deck building process.
So... *warning* this is going to be a very long post.

The first step was to check out every book that our library had on deck building.
I thumbed through all of them, read the half that looked like they had the best information, and then kept the best one for reference throughout the building process. {legally of course, apparently there's not a bunch of people chomping at the bit to read about decks, so I could re-check it out multiple times}

I then called my local municipality to check out if they required a permit.
They did.
So I got the low down on what I needed to do to get one.
Answer: turn in deck and site plans for review and pay a $100 fee.

The following are the {very simple} plans I turned in, with the building officials hand written notes that were on them when I got them back.

 "Guardrail Required"
Uh, kind of knew that and thought that it was shown fairly clearly here....but I also can't fault the guy as I'm sure he can't really just assume anything as he deals with some home owners who don't know even the basics.

All of the notes on this page were actually very helpful.
And lastly, the following are two notes that were written on the back of the site plan I submitted, in addition to the building official's stamp showing that the plans had been "reviewed for code compliance" and the permit # I had been granted.

I did take his recommendation that I use 16" o.c. spacing rather than 24".

When I picked up my plans and permit, they explained to me that I would need to call for two inspections... one before we poured the footings, and the other when the deck was complete.
Overall, the permit process was helpful and reasonable.
{which was nice, because I've dealt with other municipalities where that is not the case}

Did I mention that this was all back in July? Just checking.

The first thing we did in the actual building process was to install the ledger board and flashing.

That gap is intentional, it is for the end joist.

The next step was to dig for the post footings.
We borrowed a tool from a friend that made this a whole lot easier, it looked like this:
The holes needed to be below our frost line, so they were about 45 inches deep.

It was important that they were dug in the correct spot, so we did a layout using stakes, line, and a measuring tape.
We called for an inspection and they passed.
We then mixed the concrete in a wheel barrow and filled 'em up, placing a J-bolt at the top to use with the post base.

We did a bulk order from Home Depot's pro desk and it all got delivered on a pallet...and then it took over our garage for a little bit. 

Next up was installing the posts, beam, and joists.
Normally when I am talking about a project and I use the term "we", I am the one doing the bulk of the work.
But on this project "we" means mainly Curt.  He did awesome.
I was able to do the design work, the ordering of materials, and directing the layout, but Curt did all of the cutting, lifting, attaching, etc.  I should let him do these things more often...he's really handy.

Curt did all of this plus install the decking and posts before his Fall semester started...but then had to go MIA.
Thus entered my portion of the deck, which took forever since I have a {precious} baby {whom I love dearly} who doesn't really like giving me blocks of time in which to work on stuff like this.
But, I painted the exposed wood, installed the railing, balusters, post caps, and stair treads.

And then it sat until Curt got done with the semester so that we could finish the stair railings, which required two people.
We finished everything up December 24th.
Merry Christmas to us.

The grill actually fits fully into the alcove, but is currently hanging out as far as the bungee cords we tied around the base will let it due to some fierce winds.

Overall, even with buying some tools that we needed but that I didn't own yet (wheel barrow, hoe, circular saw {!}, water level, etc), and choosing a relatively expensive/maintenance free product (Trex handrails/postcaps, vinyl coated composite decking), we spent around $2400 (including the permit fee).
I am really, really happy with that because if we had hired it done it would have cost several times that.

So, what do you think?

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