All Hands On Deck {Part Two}

As I mentioned earlier this week Andy and I decided the first project we had to do on the house was to replace the deck which leads into our kitchen, and is on the opposite side of our addition we’re starting soon. We were going to have to replace it anyway down the line, and we really needed a reliable safe way to enter the house during renovations so this was the perfect place to start (you can find a post on the background of the deck we’re replacing here). I decided this second post would be about the actual materials we’re using. As a reminder, this is the basic design of the deck (this is only one panel, not the entire side of the deck, imagine this repeated).

When I went downstairs yesterday, Andy was ripping the cedar balusters on the table saw. We originally were going to do wide balusters but nixed them, and I’m happy we did. This is going to look a lot better. After he ripped them to size, he put these side by side so you could get a rough visual of what the balusters will actually look like laid out.

So what are we using for materials?

  • Balusters & Posts: Cedar
  • Decking: Synthetic
  • Rails: Mahogany

While we bought the joist material for the deck, Andy’s thriftyness means we already have all of the cedar, mahogany and decking here at the house.

The cedar is from someone who knew Andy’s family. The guy hauled it out of Greenville and then sawed it into boards. They were kept in the upstairs of Andy’s mom’s garage for years; when the house was sold the cedar was among some of the wood Andy decided to take. Cedar is pretty awesome for decking. It’s rot resistant, bug resistant and it smells awesome so I’m pretty happy with the wood choice. I’m really happy with the price. Free.

As for the mahogany—it makes me laugh a little that we’re going to have rich mahogany railings on our deck. Mahogany is not cheap and it sounds so extravagant, and like something Ron Burgundy would do.

In reality, we would never buy wide mahogany railings for a deck. That kind of cash just doesn’t exist in this house. However, you know we didn’t buy it. The wide mahogany railings came from a house being torn down Andy was working on, and he salvaged it. They are dusty but they are really beautiful in person, and they are going to look amazing once refinished. I understand the look might not be for everyone, but we both love the craftsman style so it’s right up our alley.

As far as decking, which I don’t have a photo of, it was given to us by a friend of a family. I was actually there for that one. We loaded it up while the sky couldn’t decide between pouring rain, clapping thunder, or bright blue skies. One second we’re dry, the next we’re soaking wet, the next we’re standing in the garage for cover, and the next it’s blue skies again. I can attest that synthetic decking can hold up to bad weather. I need no further convincing.

Now that all of the materials have been covered, the next decking post will hopefully be the actual removal and building of our new deck. I’m hoping to get a video of the removal; since it’s a free floating deck you know it’s going to include our Mahindra—and anytime you can remove an entire section of your house with a tractor it’s worth video taping.




All Hands On Deck!

It’s official. House renovations are under way! Excuse me while I shriek and do the dance of joy.

The deck is our first official house project to kick off “The Summer of Renovations” as I have just now decided to call it, and I can tell you this is going to be a multi-post project so it doesn’t end up super long, and so I can blog in real time. So let’s kick this shindig off.

We really need a reliable way to get in the house while we build the addition and porch on the other side of the house and this deck is not cutting it. It looks like should be the dock for the redneck yacht club.

It isn’t flush against the house either, it’s a couple inches away due to the hose spigot.

So I am more than happy to see this thing gone. Sayonara deck. Au Revoir. See you on the flip side when you’re a cedar and mahogany masterpiece or engineering. But before we go there. Let’s take a look at a few more photos.

You know you can’t deny you have a real fugly house when you’re confronted with looking at it in a photo. Believe it or not, it’s easy to ignore the house when you have everything else that’s pretty…but goodness gracious. Yikes.

straight on
Road facing the house

…and just because I can, a further back shot of the step side.

This is like one of those “circle how many things are wrong” photos. Focus on the deck people. Ignore the dogs blue pool for cooling off when it gets wicked hot, the seedlings I started which have taken a ridiculous turn of events-in the “of course that happened” way and the ugliest house soffets ever.

Just really focus on that deck. Do you see the fact it’s “leveled” on the right with a cinder block? Do you see the last step leaning up against the pitch fork on the left? Or that it has no handrail on the right? Or that the deck has a giant wave in it from the fact it’s oh-so-level as mentioned a few sentences previous? There are also soft spots you can’t see. Plus, it’s just ugly.

First order of business was apparently moving the spigot, which I entirely missed—as demonstrated by me coming home tonight to find Andy using it and me yelling across the yard, “bloggable activities!” (which is normally Andy’s way of letting me know something good is about to go down). He then informed me it’s been in place since Sunday. Yep. Here’s me. Here’s me being out of it. But, I’m glad it’s done. So the working spigot is now on the right, and the old one is not useable. I’m not sure what the hole is above but my guess is they put it there and then decided they wanted it lower. Since the siding will be entirely replaced this is an easy repair.

Around the same time this was all going on, Andy and I discussed a few design options. Some he liked and I didn’t, some I liked and he didn’t. Then he came up with this design and we both liked it. There will be a mahogany railing, with cedar posts and balusters – all from wood we have on hand. We decided to leave a space between the top railing and the deck, and make a “panel” baluster system that will tie into the posts and will be attached in the center of each panel to the deck. That’s the best way I can explain it. Andy’s quick drawing on some scrap wood should do the trick better.

Backstory done. Now we get to move into the more fun posts. As I’m writing this the buzz of the table saw is going in the basement as Andy rips the balusters.

Let the games begin.