Sunday, June 9, 2013

Still No Deck: Deck Day # "I lost count"

It has been a busy couple of weeks.  We have had a lot of obligations that have taken time away from decking.  Also my maternity leave ended and I headed back to work.  (That was really hard and is probably a separate blog post!).

So as it stands we are still working on finishing up the deck. I am at the point that I am beginning to think we will never have a finished deck.  That is probably okay because we will never find furniture for the deck anyhow. 

Why don't people sell patio tables separately from the chairs for under 1000 bucks?  We have found a few tables we like but very few in our targeted price range.  The husband refuses to buy an outdoor table that we will only use for a few months a year that costs more that what we paid for our dinning table, agreed.

This past week we did find a couple options at Crate and Barrel and one online at Home Depot. 

Now the problem is trying to determine if they will be heavy enough to withstand our hurricane force winds we get pretty regularly.  One of our neighbors had their huge propane grill blow off of their deck last year during a particularly forceful wind storm.  We would like to make sure our table does not act like a sail and shoot straight into the neighbor's house.

So back to the state of the deck.  Last time we checked in the husband was convinced that he was going to have to redo the stairs which meant taking out one of the big rocks.  After a backyard chat with some of the neighborhood dudes a new plan was formed.  With a few off-label adjustments to the placement of the railing on the stairs we get back a few more inches on the walkable width space.  Yay, no redo!

As it stands all of the posts for the rails are in and bolted. 

Cutting the railing pieces began yesterday.  This is not fun.  It involves a reciprocating saw cutting through iron too close to fingers for my comfort.  The husband maintains their is no risk to fingers but I still hold my breath.  What makes it really fun is the saw bounces around a tad as it is making the cuts.  The result is that you get a few nicks in the railing.  These will have to be treated with rustoleum to prevent rust forming.  Not a huge deal but still a pain.

What you are looking at is 1 of 10 panels of railing installed (no post caps yet).  The goal for today is to get a couple more done but with temperatures getting close to 100 today we may retreat to the cool air conditioning. 

That sounds like more fun than decking...let's do that.

I am now starting to realize why the deck is not finished yet.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day...also I Hate Decks

First things first.  Thank you to all of the military keeping our country safe.  Hopefully everyone is enjoying some BBQ today.

Our grandiose plans of sitting out on our new finished deck with scrumptious food are not going to materialize.   We did make some progress this weekend however. 

Good news...the stairs are in! 

Bad news...they are most likely going to have to come back out.

Due to a slight miscalculation the walkable space on the stairway once the railing is in may not be enough.  Code is 36 inches for the stairs.  I am pretty sure that is walkable space and not total.  We have 36 inches total but once the railing is in it will be more like 26 inches. 

26 inches is pretty narrow. 

The problem is that it will be very difficult to fix the stairs after the railing is in....and expensive.  So if we want the stairs bigger we need to make the correction now before the railing on the deck goes in.

As has been par for the course it will not be easy to increase the width of the stairs.  It is going to require breaking apart a huge rock that is at the bottom of the stairs.  It will also require the stairs to be completely redone.

With the setback the decking took a back seat to some other yard work today. 

At least for now we have stairs...although the pugs refuse to go down them.

This project is beginning to annoy me.

So Happy Memorial Day to all of you that have decks.  I hate you.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stairway to Heaven...Almost - Deck Day #7

Thank goodness for long 4 day weekends.  There is about an 80% chance that 100% the deck will be completed by close of business on Monday.

Yesterday the husband and wife (mostly the husband) worked on the stairs.  I have never been looking forward to a set of stairs so much in my life.  It has been two really long weeks of letting the pugs out the front door to go to the bathroom.  Getting them out is not hard.  Getting them in is virtually impossible.

First piece of business was to remove a small amount of sod from the area where the stairs would be coming off of the deck.

Next up was the assembly of the pre-formed braces.  The husband needed a bit of help holding things together so baby girl did a bit of supervising on the deck.

Then came attaching the assembly to the hangers on the deck.

Finally the stair boards.

There was an issue.  The top stair is slightly bigger than the others and will require a small additional board piece (or the purchase of a 5 1/2 inch wide board vs. the 5 inch boards we have).  Take home message here is that the stairs are not done.  Close but no cigar.

I am starting to have serious doubts that this project is ever going to get done.

Monday, May 20, 2013

So close, yet so far... Deck Day #7

The day started out again with rain, a lot of rain.  The decking did not commence until 1:00. 

It had been a long night.  The husband didn't sleep well, he was going over stabilization options in his head.  The sway of the deck was troubling.  I think baby girl must have been worried about the deck too as she decided to get up 2 times something that she hasn't done for weeks.

So waking up to the rain was a bit frustrating.  The husband was ready to go sore muscles and sleep deprivation be damned.
(Note the whale kneeling pad that we use when we bath baby girl...hey sometimes you need to improvise)
Once the weather cooperated it was on like Donkey Kong.  The goal being to finish all of the deck boards and get the stairs up.

It was a lofty goal.

It was fun to see more and more of the deck put together.  It really started to look like a deck.  In addition a wonderful thing happened.  It was very clear about halfway through that the addition of the boards was in fact stabilizing the wobble a ton.  While the husband may still put a couple of angle supports on they are probably not necessary.  It is pretty solid.

They worked until 9:00.  They got really close to finishing up the deck boards.

This small gap is all that remains. 

The husband is going to work on the remaining deck boards and the stairs this week.  Leaving only the railing (which we still need to decide on) for this long Memorial Day weekend.

The new goal is to be able to sit out on the deck on Memorial day and enjoy some BBQ.  There is a bunch of work left to do in order to make that happen.  Including me doing some shopping for patio furniture. 

We haven't been doing a great job of meeting time lines recently so we will see.  We may be eating BBQ sitting on a deck with no railings and no chairs but at least we will have a deck.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Break in the Rain - Deck Day #6 (Part 2)

Yesterday morning was a complete loss as far as the deck project was concerned.  Thankfully the rain let up a little bit in the afternoon and some deckery was done.

We now have some deck boards in place.  It is finally beginning to look like a deck.

Truth be told the progress was pretty slow.  Passing rain showers would force the husband and brother to pack up the tools and come inside pretty regularly.  It is hard to work up any momentum when you have to stop every 45 minutes.

We also have another potential issue.

The deck is a bit wobbly. 

There is a bit more sway in the deck than the husband would like.  When this issue was first brought up to the wife I panicked a bit.  The husband however is not as concerned.  There is a pretty good chance that when all of the boards are in place it will stabilize.  It is a large deck so a small amount of sway is to be expected and the boards will help make everything more solid.

If that does not correct the issue then the posts will be reinforced with either angle braces or some additional concrete.

The husband is taking all of the issues in stride.  The wife is a little more concerned.

Today the board laying continues and will hopefully be completed although we have rain showers forecast for the afternoon.  In addition ideally the stairs would be put in but I think there is about a 0% chance of that happening. 

If there is one thing we have learned with the deck is everything takes longer!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rain Delay - Deck Day #6

After a VERY long week of letting 3 pugs out to the front yard to go to the bathroom I was looking forward to the deck work this weekend.  The husband's goal was to have all of the boards laid and the stairs in by the end of Sunday.

Mother Nature has a different plan...RAIN all weekend.

Is there such a thing as a Sun Dance? 

I am going to have to Google that.

Easy DIY Picture Shelf

No one ever accused us of not having enough projects going at the same time.  This past weekend we worked on the deck, planted the garden, planted the flower pots, dug and sprayed dandelions, shopped for patio furniture, purchased bushes for the backyard, played with a baby, and built the picture shelves.

After pretty much running all weekend I made the following observation:  Either we need additional days in the weekend or we need fewer projects. 

One of those things we can control.

We didn't control the projects well this past weekend.

Easy DIY Picture Shelves
Link to project start posting here

Project Rankings

Difficulty - Easy
Frustration Level - Low
Makeability - 100% Worth It


Crown Molding (Note: You want to have 2 flat surfaces on the crown.  You can make the shelves as beefy as you want depending on the size of crown you get.  We wanted the shelf to be fairly skinny so we went for a small crown)

MDF Board (Note: The width of the board will be the width of your shelf.  You probably don't want to go too big here unless your crown is really thick and beefy.  If you get too big of a shelf and put weight out on the front it may not be able to support it all.  We stuck with a 3 1/2 inch width.  That easily works for the frame width and even allows some small decor items.)

Thin board for the shelf lip (we used lattice board)
Paint (If you want to do a stain you will need to switch out the MDF for a wood board instead)

Step #1:
Determine the length of your shelf/shelves.  You will want to cut your boards (all the same length) before you paint.  I didn't actually do this so I ended up having to do some touch up painting when the shelf was up on the wall. 

Step #2
Paint all shelving pieces.  Make sure you paint all sides of the MDF board as well as the lattice board.  You will see all of the edges of these 2 pieces.  You will not need to paint one of the flat sides of the crown as it will be against the wall.

Step #3
Deterimine the location for your shelf/shelves.  If you are doing multiple shelves on top of each other, like we did, you will need to make sure that you have sufficient spacing between them to get your frames on the shelf.  Locate your studs in the wall.  Frames get heavy.  You will want to make sure that you go into a few studs.  Using a nail gun (if you have one...if you don't you should they are awesome) nail your crown molding piece to the wall.

Step #4
Next position the MDF board flush on the crown molding and nail it down into the top of the crown.

Step #5
Position the lattice board on the front of the MDF board, creating a lip for your shelf, and nail into place.

Step #6
You will probably want to fill in any nail holes and do some touch up on the paint.

There you have it.  Now comes the hard least for me!  What frames and pictures to select.

FYI after looking at a ton of different picture frames I did end up getting all of my frames from IKEA.  I was going for a bit cleaner/simpler look so I choose simple frames in a couple similar styles.  I do like the look of a bunch of different styles of frames...but not for me.

Add a few small decor items if you want and call it a day.  The beauty of this project is that you can easily switch out photographs, frames, etc.  No drilling and hanging frames on the wall.
I am really happy with how this project came out.  I even like the red color!