Thursday, August 17, 2017

Finished Deck Project

Wrapping up our deck project isn't really wrapping it up. It's one of those projects that never really finish, there's always more to do with the landscaping, or building the next patio. But now we have enough finished to show off a walk through and put a button on this series of posts. It's time to get back to building boats!


For the inside of the door, I ran molding around on the wall and put a relief inside of the jamb. We custom cut a threshold as well, then ran baseboard and quarter round. I actually replaced all of the baseboard for the entire room. Since that picture was taken, I have gotten a coat of paint on the walls and the first coat of paint on the molding. It still needs some caulk to fill in some gaps and another coat of trim paint. I wish I had sanded more as well. But it's up and the floor has been repaired and the wife is pretty happy with it.

Just outside of the door we see the ledger board for how the roof attaches to the house. There was a part where the gutter was removed and the roofline juts out. I had to adjust the height of the ledger board and overall length of the roof to accomodate this discrepancy. To the left of that white part the board only attaches to the exterior wall of the house, but the part to the right attaches to the soffitt where the gutter was attached. It was an interesting wrinkle to the roof design.

Sky chair from amazon

couch from Pier 1

stole a chair from the table set

Level 2 got the table set (gift) and the grill (Lowe's)

Of course I went for an App State grill cover
Side of the roof & screened porch

Level 3, love seats and fire pit from Lowe's

Side view of the entire system

from deeper in the backyard

View from the other side

We added a deck box to store the cushions

Other side of Level 3

Concrete tiki guy and planters
So there is still some work to go. We need to add skirting around the bottom of level 1 and 2. I still think we need to add soffitt around the roof edges, but that might not happen. Hardscape is still going into the landscape - I've got the bricks down and that is going to lead into a pea gravel path. The side with the deck box is going to get a stone patio of some kind. There's going to be lots of plantings all around. We're expanding the grass area of the backyard significantly so when the time of year is right, there's lots of seed to spread and beds to define. Until then it's all this:


Happy kids making s'mores


Youngest loves the hammock chair


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lets Build a Porch

So I got the first wall of the screened in porch built and standing during the July 4th building vacation. That meant any further progress would be nights and weekends after work, but there was still plenty to go until we finished this build.

Got the other two walls built

The top sill plate extends a foot over the sides to support the roof


Not much room left for roof joists


The next weekend I finished off the other two walls. The outside sill plate extends for a foot on each side to support the roof. I cut the walls to finish at only 94" high. We want to put up a ceiling fan inside, so any shorter than that and I wouldn't have enough clearance for the fan. The problem occurs a couple of pictures up. The existing roofline comes down to some gnarly bend where I had to remove a gutter. Creating this shed-style roof over the porch is the kind of problem that kept me up at night trying to figure out. There wasn't much slope to begin with, how in the world can I figure this out?

Kelley moved this concrete guy next to the stairs and put a fern on him! Looks like sideshow bob

Rafters and center support

First section of handrail

Some rafters are up

Rafters and handrail are done!




I added a 1x10x12' center support for the rafters and a ledger board where the gutter was removed and on the side of the house. This is the only place in the entire build where I didn't hold up to normal building code. The low slope of the roof only left me space to use 2x4x12' rafters. Since I put up a tin roof they are spaced 2' apart. Code says use 2x6's for a 12' span, spaced 18" apart. But my architect cousin told me that tin was lightweight enough for the 2x4's to hold up.

In hindsight, I should have built the deck about 6" lower to the ground. I wanted it level with the bottom of the door & interior floor, but there is no way I could have known there would be a roof slope problem before the floor was up. I mean, unless I actually used drawings or plans and the architect would have seen that and solved the problem before I started. Originally we wanted to shingle the roof and tie it in with the existing shingles. We also wanted to extend the roof over part of level 2 as well. Once we decided to go tin the extension was gone.

This really goes to show the lesson in planning. I'm a builder. I sketched out the basic outline of the rims of the deck on the back on an envelope to get the 3 tier design, then started buying lumber. There were no other plans or outside input. Now I've got a flat roof. Well, it's not really flat water does run off fine. But the rafters are not up to code.

Trimmed rafters and added end cap

furring strips are up

Added tin roof & screen with 1x2 furring strips on the outside

family is assembling furniture inside our new porch!

Don't notice the 1 missing furring strip all the way on the left

better view of the whole deck from the left side

I still have to install the screen door
Overall, yes, we are thrilled with the way the porch came out. We still (as of 8/10/17) have not gotten electrical run out there. But it's going to happen eventually. This porch is 10' x 10' square with a 36" door. I used 2x4's for all of the framing even the roof, and 12' x 26" tin pieces made the roof. I added flashing where it hit the side of the house and more flashing where it hit the existing shingle roof. Used a special gray caulk made for bonding to metal I caulked between each sheet of the tin and went heavy where the tin hits the house. This roof is 12' wide so it took 6 pieces of tin and 2 tubes of that caulk. But it is watertight! Overall, we love it.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Day Four

Time to wrap up the deck! July 4th was the last day of my work break. We had plans to head to the country club with Kelley's dad for the holiday celebration around 5 pm, so Day Four came with a deadline. Finish the deck or show up to dinner covered in sawdust!

We finished Day Three with a flurry of prep work. Getting all of the handrail parts cut should mean we can make a lot of progress quickly today!

Level 3 flooring is down! And I got the first side of that handrail put up.

Morning shot

End of the day - all of the handrail is up

mmmmm that's good handrail

I even got the first wall of the screened in porch done!

Also got the stairs built from Level 2 down to Level 3

Completed view of Level Two with handrail

Happy Deck Builders
There's still a long way to go. But to get it this far in only 4 days we were thrilled. Four days ago there was just a door to nowhere with a ledger board. Getting all three levels built, plus handrails all around, and some stairs (but I still need stairs on both sides of level 3). Next up, as the weekends allow, will come the screened in porch and the rest of the finishing touches.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Day Three

**Actual boat building update. Bought plans last night for a 1 Sheet + boat, a simple one person craft made from one sheet of plywood. It nests down to something small enough to fit in the trunk of a car. Looks like a really fun project that I should be able to get into very cheap. Might end up building a bunch of these to give away or sell later.

Day Three of the deck build was actually not very productive. Day 2 ended with level 2 getting floored and level 3 getting the rim job. We had to start out with a very finite list of supplies to get from Lowe's. We knew exactly how many remaining framing parts were still left and had a rough idea of flooring. Also I had a plan for the handrails so we eventually agreed on a design for those and calculated some of the materials to pick up. Most of my day was spent carving out the handrail posts.

By 1:45 the AM work was done, joists in place for Level 3

Kelley is pleased with this progress

The day ended after sundown with some flooring there, but you can see the first part of the handrail on Level 2

Daylight pic from before we did anything on July 4
The handrail system we came up with took a lot of prep work. I had 9 posts to cut out with 5 cuts each on the circular saw. Didn't get a picture of the plain cutout. I drew a template, fitted the template to give me the right finished height, then traced that outline with a sharpie onto each of the rest of the 4x4 boards. Once the first two posts were installed, I cut 4" blocks from 2x4 scraps and screwed them for spacers. Ran a 2x4 horizontally along the spacers and the top, then I could get the measurement to cut the ballasts. Then it was time to cut about 100 ballasts to the exact same length.

While I was doing that, Kelley was on her own cutting and installing the flooring on level 3. That process goes a lot faster if one person can cut while the other is screwing it down. We both made a lot of progress for having a short work day, and really don't have too much to show for it.

But that means that on Day 4 it should all come together, right?