Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A New Deck!

Finally!  I have been hoping that I could write this post for weeks, but it is time to show you our finished deck!

First the back story.  When we moved into this house 3 years ago, we knew we would need to replace the deck.  It was 25 years old, and was definitely showing its age.  This has been on the top of our list for a while, but things just kept jumping in the way.  This year, we saved up specifically for the deck, and finally made it happen.


First, here is what we started with:



Just to be clear, we are replacing the entire deck on the back of the house, but this year we knocked out the worst-looking section.  The side on the left of the picture will be next year.

As you can see in the before picture, there were no stairs coming off of the upper deck.  So, if you were sitting on the upper deck and wanted to move to the lower one or maybe the yard, you had to go all the way through the house to get there.  After living with this for a while, stairs were a must on our new deck wish list.  I won't bore you with all of the gory details, but there were some obstacles to the layout of this deck- where to put the stairs, how to make them tie into the lower deck in a way that made sense from a traffic flow standpoint, and making sure we didn't run into our septic tank that is annoyingly close to the house.  

All things considered, we decided to extend the width of the deck another 4 feet or so from where the original one ended, add a few feet in depth to accommodate a landing for the stairs, and the best part- a bend in the stairs to avoid the septic tank.  And by best, I mean most complicated and headache inducing.  We had to land the stairs in a specific spot without making it look awkward.  Eventually we decided to also cut off that corner of the deck so that it made a similar bend.  Phew!  Glad I didn't have to figure out how to make it happen! :)

We actually tore the old deck down in June or July, so we have been plugging away at this for a long time.  My hubby and his brother- the guy with all the skills-spent many Saturdays working out all of the details and getting this thing put together.

I'm not going to go into detail about how we built it, because like I said, someone else had all the skills on this project.  I made a few design choices along the way, but the heavy lifting was on the boys.

So here's the deck, from start to finish.  Please excuse the mess surrounding the deck, and the lack of staging in the pictures... We are in winter clean up and pack away mode, and I have very little time at home when there is actually daylight, so this was the best I could do.  It still looks awesome anyway!

Demolition (a.k.a the point of no return):



Digging holes:


The day we found out what the back of our house really looked like:


So we fixed it:



Our supervisor (we told Lucy the deck was for her- not that she's spoiled or anything):


The first signs of the new, ultra beefy deck:


The stairs go in:


My impatience strikes (sitting on the deck was more important than railing at that point!):


Finally finished!



Closeup of the herringbone floor:



See the bend in the stairs?  Not easy, but they made it happen!

sorry for the mess under the deck...


Finished!!  Didn't they do an awesome job?!?!

To answer a couple of questions you might have (or things I just feel like telling you anyway):

-Yes, we chose pressure treated lumber over composite.  This whole project is huge, and will take two years to finish.  The cost to do a deck this size in composite would have been astronomical.  We aren't opposed to the extra maintenance of pressure treated at this point, and I like the natural wood better anyway.

-We will stain the deck in the spring.  Pressure treated lumber needs to dry, and with winter approaching (eww) we just won't have time to stain it before spring.  I'll give an update once that is done. :)

-To make the herringbone floor, we doubled the width of the joist under where the boards meet so that we had plenty of 'meat' to attach the floor to.  We decided to make the center of the pattern at the door rather than the true center of the deck.  It just made sense that way, especially given the non-rectangular shape of the deck (the true center really doesn't look like it would be the true center).  We also argued over discussed which way the floor should run (pointing in or out).  I won't say who's way won, but she was definitely right.

-We plan to add a bench and table to the angled side under the kitchen window.  That counts as a separate project. ;)

-Building this side of the deck makes the other side look really sad.  To avoid previous-homeowner-shaming, I won't show a closeup, but let's just say that I can't wait until spring!

-As you can probably tell from the angle of my picture (if you haven't seen it in person), our yard has a serious slope right after the deck.  I am working through landscaping ideas now... Any ideas?  

This was by far our largest project to date, and I'm so glad we did it!  Our house isn't huge on the inside, and so the deck will add much needed entertaining space.  We have already eaten several meals out there!

Hoping for a short winter!
~Amy