Holy Cow, It's a Deck!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Done!  Deck is done!

Mike is tinkle in his pants happy too!  I mean, he didn't actually tinkle in his pants.  I don't think.  I hope not....ew.

finished wood deck
Check. It. Out!  Holy cow!  Deck!!!
Woooo hooo!  Can hardly believe it!

Mike's been loooonging for this deck for...gosh, I think before even we moved in, two years, heh.  Poor guy.  But the wait is no more.  He's giddily chattering on about how he's moving out of the house and moving onto the deck.

He loves it.  (Take out the character on the right, whatever's in the middle, insert deck into the image and bam, that's my man, all a-flutter.)

And yes, we pansied out and hired someone to build it for us.  Like I mentioned, it would have taken us forever and a day, and then a few more days, had we done it ourselves plus one or more of us may not be alive after.  But yes, still lame for an avid DIY'er, I know.

The guy did a great job and built it just as I drew it.*  I tried to make a simple enough design but provide maximum effect.  He took his time building it and did things the right way which is OOOhhh-Soooo-Refreshing.  Ahem, flipper.

So all right!  Photo essay time!

view of ledger board and post

Here we are at the end of day one.  The ledger was on, two posts were in-ground, and the cable kits were strung.

In looking at the cable kits, I realized he'd have to pre-drill holes and start the cables next to the garage before concrete-ing the posts into the ground, otherwise we'd be SOL.  We went with the cable design for it's visual minimalism; a zillion widdle spindles would have closed off the yard and driven me nutso.

cable wire railing started

Here's the kit we got.  Here* are a few available on Amazon.

Menards really pissed me off though as the kits were special order, we ordered two too many, and upon return they smack you with an utterly ridiculous 25% restocking fee because they were special order.  Pissed.  25%.  Stupid.  Grrr....ok.  Moving on.

ledger board and post

More day one above there.

beginnings of deck framing

Lots o' progress at the end of day two.  Or maybe it was mid-day two, I'm getting the days confused now.  The frame went up and several more posts went in.

Finn watching construction progress from above
Ever the inspector this one.
deck framing in progress

So at the end of day, ah crap, ok, two or three here's where we were at.  At this point Mike was packing his bags in preparation for his move to the deck.  All the joist hangars were up and joists in place, along with two more posts for the stair.

See how tidy the guy was?  Love that.  He cleaned up after himself in a major way each day.  It's a sign of a builder who cares about what they do.

deck under construction from above

Here we are at the end of day four or five or so.  Planking nearly almost in.  Stair!  Ok, so this was a morning photo, ya caught me.

Mike wanted the boards at 45's of which I was skeptical.  In that it had the potential to be visually busy or visually orderless.  But he was right, it's a good look.  Yes, I said he was right.  Yes, he will call me within ten minutes of reading this and gloat for publicly saying he was right.

It did result in extra work, added expense, and extra wood waste, but it does look good.

finished deck with Finn
Finn is learning to use the stair.  He was bypassing it, going for the leaping hop-on, hop-off.  He still hops up over the stair.
Another coupla' days later and bam, we have deck!  He put in a nice wide rail top so we can set things on it.  He also faced the front in 1x to mask the bolt heads and give it a tidier look.

I'm a detail-noticer so I picked up on all the little things he did...

detail of trimming around post

All the posts are surrounded cleanly with the decking.  It hurts my math brain just looking at that -- I'd be rocking in the corner crying for weeks trying to get that right if I had done it myself.

cutting around electrical conduit

He cut a wee hole to surround the conduit supplying power to the garage.  And didn't make a mess of it.  Nice.

deck stair

The stair is nice and sturdy and the cables string through to the end.  He had a clever way of attaching the stringers to the framing:  they're four step stringers and he nailed through the face into the stringer edge underneath.  Clever, yah?

post in concrete under deck

I do need to pour a bit more concrete around the posts so water and mud won't pool there, so that grade level murk doesn't saddle up the wood, wicking moisture into it.

Mike had a brilliant idea of getting a piece of narrower diameter sonotube, trim pieces, surround the post base, and pour.  My man, he's a keeper.  :)  So hopefully I can get to a few today.

Before the stair went in, the guy clipped the corners of the rail which at the time I was like, cool, great idea.  I think we both forgot about the stair rail butting up against it.  But that's ok.

handrail detail

I'll see what I can do to make this area snag-free.  And I'll give the rail a wee sanding, ah!, with my nifty new sander!  There are a few splintery pieces sticking up here and there, the rail is a bit rough, so just a smooth-over.

I picked up two small solar lights to attach, hm, well, somewhere in this vicinity to light the steps.

The guy said wait a year to stain though I see online recommendations for anywhere from a month to a year.  We'll see how it goes, keep an eye on it.

buried concrete sidewalk to deck

Time to address the path now.  I'm thinking rectangles of concrete, like a stepping stone path kind of thing. Similar to this idea, or this idea, or definitely like this one, ya know, a real clean modern looking pathway raised higher so we're not drowning when it rains, we can shovel the snow.

My dad the Structural Engineer and Concrete Guru Master says I can pour right over the existing path which will make Mike extremely happy -- he won't have to destroy this path first.

Mike originally planned to store things underneath the deck though I'm not entirely sure what or why.  Everything will get grossly dirty and wet and gross.  I think planting lots of pretty things in front of it would be much nicer.  Not gonna lie, I perused the sale plants at Menards already.  Didn't buy anything though.  The lilacs went back in the ground right away as you can see above.

Right, so my brain is all a-swirl with plantings and planter boxes and a shade sail and furniture and cushions and and and and....I know, right?!  The yard finally feels like it's coming together, feels much much nicer, much more ours.  It's got a way to go yet but between the patio and the deck, we're really gettin' there.

One of my favorite deck features?  No longer having to take a ginormous fifteen inch step in and out of the garage.  Yessssss.  See that second photo above for reference.

My one and only wish though?  That Hailey could be here to enjoy it as she would love the daylights out of this deck.  She loved decks.  Running up and down, basking in the sun, hangin' with her mom and dad, watching the world go by.  Sigh.....


Now that the deck is done though, I will admit, I am curious (and mildly concerned) about what Mike's next big target project will be.  When he gets involved, obviously he goes big.  Hopefully it'll be the master bathroom.  Hmm, we'll have to wait and see, huh?

Ok, time to mix some concrete, folks.  Catch ya next time!

Jump to some deck staining here!

*The AutoCAD link is an AutoDesk affiliate link.  The cable rail assembly kit link is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. It looks GREAT! Love the design you two chose. Sometimes it's better to hire someone who knows what they are doing than to struggle (and cry in the corner about cutting weird angles)! Isn't it refreshing also to actually get someone who KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING?! I know you appreciate it more than the average person just because of your flipper buddy! I wonder, is he still flipping houses?!


    1. Thank you Tania! Sometimes yes, the smart thing to do is to hire out and yes, we are so glad we did. It was a big project and who ever wants to be crying in a corner, right? And a big yes on someone who knows what they're doing! Scarily, yes, the guy is still flipping houses. Our realtor runs into their "work" every once in a bit which is just terrifying. Thanks!


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