Monday, October 9

Deck the Deck

I spent the weekend in San Diego at my parents' house helping my dad and brother build a deck in their patio. My family is well known for it's weekend projects, though when I lived at home I always made sure to avoid them as much as possible. Sadly I now wish I had the home improvement skills that I would have learned helping them. The irony is not lost on me.

Our goal for the weekend was to get as much of the framing for the deck done as possible. Greg and Dad had already set the pilons (I don't think that's what they're called) in cement last weekend and figured out the measurements and leveled the beam that the framing would affix to. It involved using lasers.
Greg reviews our work

Most of the work on Saturday was spent cutting the framing to the correct length. By the end of the day this is what we had.
Framing in place but not yet set

Because the patio was a concrete slab the builders had sloped it away from the house. Obviously we didn't want to trap any water that got into the deck in the deck (nor rats, but that's another story) so when blocking the framing Dad used 2x4's on the side towards the house
2x4 blocking

and 2x6's on the side towards the dirt because that end was already elevated several inches due to the aforementioned leveling of the beam.

4x6 blocking

To make sure the deck wouldn't sag there was some debate as to the material that would be best to use as footing.
A foot

In the end it was decided that we should use small pieces of wood sealed with a tree sealant. Saturday was a lot of planning and driving for lunch and lumber but Sunday we got a good bit accomplished. The three of us got into a rhythm of measure, cut, test, flip, drill, screw, spray, dry, glue, set, measure, cut, block. In that order.

There was one tricky corner where the wood would have created a little pool for water running down the wall, so Dad cut this 2x6 a little narrow.

Our tricky Corner

At the end of the day, we remeasured and found that we were pretty much exactly where we should be, which is a happy feeling.

Greg and Dad check our final placement

See how there's a tree at the edge of where the framing is right now. The next step will be to set another pilon and angle the beam around the tree.

Greg, explaining something of great importance to Dad

I actually had a really good time learning about the difference between a chop saw and a skill saw (which by the way, I cut with). The best way to screw in a nail and how to seal wood. It's always surprising how satisfying working on these kinds of projects can be.

Dad, relaxing after a day of hard work

Especially because it means you can end the day with a beer and not even feel the slightest bit guilty about it.

Once they finish the framing, I'm going to head back down again and help with the decking boards. I've gotten attached to the project, and want to be there when it's finished.

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