10Jul2007

Deck and door complete!

It feels great to be done with our deck and door installation project in our new home! Of course, there’s still a few remaining little things to do, but the hard work is done! We had loads of help from Nancy (Spencer’s Mom) and Garth (Stepdad) with these projects, as they flew out from Colorado specifically to help us. They are a terrific help every time they visit, whether it’s weeding carrots, building our hoophouse, or helping us harvest for market. This time, they did all of those things (except building the hoophouse) AND helped us to put in our Spencer-designed deck and install our seriously heavy Marvin patio door. There is no way we could have done this without them or their help! Thanks a million – and next time you visit, we promise to do more relaxing on the deck and less working on anything!! Enjoy the pictures of the process!
First, pictures of the door project:
Spencer & Garth put up a temporary wall to bear the weight of the room while we prepared the header.
Header being prepared.
Header in place, window out, Spencer cutting the actual hole in the wall!
Hole in wall!
Us preparing the floor for door installation…
View from the yard…
Putting door in place – Marvin makes really heavy doors! We got our next door neighbor, Red, to help carry it into place and hold it while we prepared the hole further.


Lots and lots of finageling like this for about 6 hours – Nancy & Garth helped to balance the door and keep it from falling out of the hole!

Look, a door!!

Door is in! Placing the shims and preparng to put the insulation, electricity and drywall into place.
Nancy spends an afternoon getting that insulation into place, while Garth wires 2 outlets, a switch and an exterior light.
Drywall is up, and the deck can now be built!
Deck project pictures:
Right after getting the door in, we looked at the ground where the deck would go in, and saw that there was a lot of slate there. So, we decided to remove it all! There were about 40 large pieces that got moved – previous owners had a slate patio here about 30 years ago!
Garth and Mara position the main ledger on the wall – this is what all the joists will connect to.

The ledger is up, and the posthole spots are marked.

Lots of late evenings working on the deck – here we are digging the holes for the cement posts. We dug them with shovels, since our soil is actually 100% sand – we couldn’t use posthole diggers; the sand just flowed through the grippers! Oh well – being sand, it actually was pretty easy digging…

…as you can see!

The next day, we mixed the cement for the post holes. You mix cement with a hoe. We thought this was pretty good resistance training for farmers!

Shoveling the cement into the postholes…

Shoveling more cement into the postholes…

Finally getting to put the posts on after the cement hardened. There was a lot of rain during this project.

We laid the black landscape fabric all over the footprint of the deck so that weeds would never grow under it. We got all the posts into place and got ready to set the beams and joists.

Next day, beams and joists in place!

Garth and Nancy put in the bracings while we were at market.

Next up was the stringers for the stairs. This was quite the mathematical process, and took Spencer and Garth all evening.

Cutting the stringers…

Placing the stringers – there’s 8 of them, and they’re nice deep stairs so that they can double as seating when we have a lot of people over.


The next day we placed all the deck boards and drilled and screwed all day.

Lots of drill holes and lots of screws!

Mr. S tests out the newly screwed-down boards.

This is how it would go – Nancy would space, Garth would push or pull the board, Mara would place the screw, Spencer would screw it down.

Main deck and stairs done!

Placing more landscape fabric under the landing that comes out from the garage.

Screwing down the landing boards. You can see the curved white line that we’ll cut to define the edge of the landing.

Cutting the irregular boards off into a nice curve.

Sanding the edges…

Assembling newly purchased grill!

The happy building crew!

This was a great project, that was started and completed in 3 short weeks! Now we are able to work on landscaping the backyard and enjoying our grilled veggies on our deck! Thanks again to Nancy and Garth for all of your help and great insights on this project. Now back to farming for the rest of the season, and leaving all major house projects until winter!

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