Rebuilding the Deck

This year it was decided to embark on the ultimate renovation project…rebuilding the entire deck off the back of the house.  It was getting quite rotten in spots and after we tore it down, you can see it was even more rotten in other spots!  Here’s some photos documenting what was done so far.

July 8 – The deck as it was.

July 8 – The first day of tear down.  I think I made the mistake of taking up each board carefully and taking out/hammering each screw so that Sierra wouldn’t hurt herself on them.  It took me the entire day to get 75% of the ground level deck torn apart this way.  The next time I went to tear down the rest of the deck, I decided to take the faster method.


July 26 – Check out the rot under these boards!  I saw a few carpenter ants crawl out of there at the same time.  I think it’s very odd that this section had so much rot considering how much airflow it is getting.  I’m assuming it has to do with the deck being 15+ years old, me not sealing it every year, and ants.

July 28 – The old ledger board.  After some thinking, I decided to build a free floating deck in Version 2.0 of the deck so I took this ledger board off.

July 29 – The deck next to the hot tub.

July 31 – Vero tearing it up!

July 31 – Know how I was mentioning how I would find a quicker method to tear down the deck?  Yeah…this is quite the large woodpile that has accumulated next to the firepit.  Sierra doesn’t play in the back yard much any more unless under direct supervision away from this pile.  For the first few weeks of garbage collection, I had sawed them up into manageable pieces and left about 20 pieces each week.  However, a month later, I received a notice saying they aren’t going to take any more pieces due to it not being bundled and there are nails/screws sticking out of them.  I can’t blame them. 

July 31 – A diagram of the proposed deck.  There isn’t much changing other than we are extending the ground level portion for an eventual gazebo.

August 1 – Vero and I took the week off to work on the deck and left Sierra at daycare.  Muscles Palmer hard at work!

August 1 – Instead of pouring concrete footings, we decided to try out these screws that you put in deep enough to go past the frost line.  The only issue that we might encounter with these is the potential to hit a rock on the way down.  If you do that, you’re screwed.  So we pound a four foot piece of rebar into the spot first and if we found a spot which was too rocky, we just tried another spot a foot away.  Actually, I can’t remember having to change the spot too much.  Overall, it was a pleasant experience other than me smashing my finger between the rebar and the sledgehammer.  Ouch!  These screws will hold the posts that will hold the beams for the upper portion of the deck.  We figured we would put these in before we started the ground level portion.

August 2 – For the ground level, we decided to use deck blocks.  Still not sure if this was the best idea, we but  didn’t want the deck to go past the bathroom window (seen here in the photo).  So we basically had six inches to play with which kind of eliminates the option of putting cantilever beams into the design.  So deck blocks is it.  Time will tell if it’s a pain to level these suckers out.  Here is Vero putting down the sheet to help with eventual weeds.

August 2 – Muscles Palmer makes another appearance!

August 2 – The screws after they were all put in place for the posts.

August 13 – Working on the deck hit a few snags with a bout of the flu running through the house and then we decided to redesign a few elements of the ground level deck.  Originally we were going to build a giant rectangle about 12 feet wide but then Vero pointed out that it would be smarter to go a full 16 feet long.  With that idea in mind, I needed to figure out how to get 16 foot long 2×6’s back home.  Rob’s truck was up to the task with a lot of straps!  Check out that overhang!  That thing was surprisingly solid.

August 19 – My setup in the garage to create the rim joist.  Let it be known that Mike’s framing nailer is the greatest invention known to man!!

August 19 – Setting up the frame.  I was on a roll this day.  I was super excited by how well everything was working.  Let me put something into context…while I feel I’m a handy guy, I also have trouble doing things for the first time without some guidance.  There’s a ALOT of information on the internet to keep track of and sometimes it becomes a black hole of information.  That being said, after Vero saw the frame, she said “Nice frame.  So…why is it a full 16 feet long when we said we would make it 15 feet 2 inches?”  OH MAN!  I totally forgot about that.  I was pretty upset so I left the project for the day.  The next day I sawed off the joist and rebuilt the thing.  What a pain!

August 26 – All was going good on a Saturday morning!  I was excited that it was a beautiful day out and the frame was looking to be quite level.  I was just making an adjustment to one last post and in the middle of my cut the blade on my mitre saw stops working.  I look up and there is smoke billowing out of the motor and there is this horrid burning smell!  I quickly look at my piece of wood wondering if that was what was burning, but nope.  It was the motor on the mitre saw.  AW MAN COME ON!  This project is definitely cursed.  Well, the mitre saw gave me a good life over the years of many renovation projects.  The rest of Saturday was spent going out and picking up a new saw.  LUCKILY Canadian Tire had a 40% off sale this week on a saw I couldn’t pass up.  Sure, Dewalt and Bosch are nice, but I wasn’t going to spend $700 on one when I could get one for $400 and would work well for me (fingers crossed!).  I set the saw up while Sierra slept on Saturday night.  I have to say there are quite some interesting improvements on the saw…it has dual bevel which I have always wanted when working with trim.  It also has less of a footprint in the back of the saw which means I can move it closer to the wall.  This is handy for when I park the two cars in the garage in the winter.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *