Friday, September 6, 2013

Deck Building - Day One

The first day of deck building is pretty uneventful.  Well, it's not that it's uneventful, it's just that the work you do on day one doesn't really look all that exciting.

First you have to measure and measure and measure.  J measured everything out and put up string so that all the posts would be straight.  You don't want a crooked deck.  I ran to the grocery store to pick up some breakfast for everyone.  This was supposed to take 10 minutes, it took 45.  Last weekend was the first Badger game (and a home game), it was Taste of Madison, and it was the tail end of move in for the new students.  Oh, and it was a holiday weekend.  The grocery store was packed.  So by the time I got back home, J had pretty much finished up all the measuring.

Around 12:00 J's parents showed up to help us.  It was nice of them to come help because there were a few things that we couldn't have done ourselves.

After everything was measured out, it was time to mix the concrete. This process is pretty simple, one bag of concrete per hole.  The hole doesn't need to be filled with concrete.  I mean these holes were 18 inches by 4 feet, that would have cost as a fortune.  The concrete just needs to be at the bottom of the hole to spread out the weight of the deck.  Then you back fill the hole with dirt.

So we mixed up the concrete in a little black tub.  This is pretty straight forward.  You just put the dry cement in and add water until it is the right consistency.  You want it to be not too runny and not too dry, just in between.  Like making dough.

After it was mixed up, in the hole it went.  We used a tamper to make sure it was level, but that's about all you have to do.  Throw it in there and wait until it's dry.  Exciting.  This took us a couple hours to mix up all the concrete and pour it in the holes.  It's a lot more time consuming then you expect it to be.

Once the concrete was in, there was pretty much only one other thing we could work on.  We put the brackets on the ledger board.  This is the board that attaches to the house and holds the joists.  It was fun.  It was more measuring and screwing (not that kind of screwing, get you mind out of the gutter).

Once the brackets were attached, the ledger board needed to be attached to the house .  Our deck is a low deck, so we needed to attach it to the concrete footing of the sun room.  I don't have any pictures of this because it's a four person (at least) job.  But I can go over what we did.

We measured out where the anchor needed to go.  They needed to alternate top and bottom between each bracket and be about 2 inches from the edge of the ledger board.  You can kinda see in the photo above.  Once these were measured out, they had to be drilled.  Concrete anchor for this type of project are pretty big, so we needed a hole larger then 1/2 inch.  

The holes were drilled into the board and then it was time to hold that bad boy up to the house and get it in place and level.  This was the four person job.  Once we had it in place the holes had to be drilled.  We needed a pretty heavy duty hammer drill to do this job.  Three of us had to try and hold this board as level as possible and then one had to drill the holes.

Once the holes were drilled in the concrete, the anchors had to be hammered into the concrete.  Then the ledger board could go up on the anchors.  We were right on, the board was still very level, so we just secured the ledger board down with washers and nuts.

Then we installed the flashing on top of that.  The flashing is in place to make sure water doesn't sit on the ledger board and rot it over time.  It's just a thin piece of metal that is in the shape of an L.  You slide it on top of the ledger board and under the siding.  Normally people will screw it in place, but because ours was a pretty tight fit, we just used some silicone calk to "glue" it down in place.

And that was it  for the first day.  There wasn't really much more we could get done and it was already getting dark by this time.  So we called it a night, got some dinner, showered, and passed out.  Just so we could get up the next day and start work again.  ;-)

On a side note, I will be at the Monona Farmer's Market this coming Sunday (Sept 8).  So if you are in the neighborhood, you should stop by and say hello.  I'll be there from 9:00-1:00.

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