Monday, August 17, 2009

We're Not Playing with a Full Deck Anymore!

This was my "little project" for yesterday.

After months of discussion and anticipation, we finally decided we've had enough of the sticky deck. Like most things around here, the only tools that seemed to be involved in building the thing were a hammer, screw driver, and a saw-ok, and a post hole digger. There is no evidence whatsoever that a measuring tape, level, squaring tools were involved. The ocean during a hurricane has less dips and waves than this thing does. The multiple slopes did come in handy for helping the water drain out of the rugs I always cleaned on it though. So, another fine example of "interesting" craftsmanship was irritating issue #1 on our list.

Irritating issue #2 is that the deck is under a large pecan tree which drips sap all summer long. You can't sit in the chairs on the deck without first spraying the whole thing down with the hose then letting it dry or you'll be sticky or wet all over. It's just disgusting. The tree dips little drops all night so while the cats are sleeping, they're being coated with that sticky mess then you get sticky when you pet them. Not only that, but dust sticks to the sticky stuff, so they don't get to stay "cat clean" which I'm sure isn't pleasant for them.

Irritating issue #3-the crooked deck blocks that view to the back yard which is actually beginning to look like a back yard. We'd like to see more of it and less of the bowing deck.

Issue #4 is that neither of us are deck people. We're porch people-you know, something with a roof on it. Eventually, when we get the air conditioner issue resolved and get it moved to the other side of the house (not on today's agenda) we want to build a nice deep porch that runs the length of that part of the house-with an attached gazebo if we live that long.

Issue #5 is that we both hate the damn thing and want it gone. At the moment, we're working on some other things and aren't ready to build said back porch, so we really need to keep the deck-or at least part of it. Yeah, part of it sounds good!

Donnie said I could work on removing it this week, but I have plans to paint the porch all week and didn't have much to do on Sunday, so....

As part of the determination of whether we really wanted to do this, I removed the handrails and put them in their new position then arranged the chairs and stuff on the part we were going to keep. It helps to experiment. Once we had a good idea if the remaining space was going to be usable, we decided to go ahead with it.

Donnie was working on the front porch so this this little project was entirely mine and I was excited about doing it. I've been waiting for this moment for more than 3 years!

I was nice and gently pulled all the pieces loose. Most of the decking is still good and we have a few other projects we could use some wood for, at least as a temporary solution to the problem of the obnoxious neighbor kids and the mess they have going on in their yard. I'm thinking it would work great as a makeshift privacy fence although I would screw a 2"x2" full of long nails pointing upward to the top of the thing. The kids love to stand on top of our neighbor's fence and jump from it onto their trampoline. I'll be having none of that. I suspect Donnie won't let me do it though.

Once I got all the deck boards removed, it became apparent that the part I was removing was either an addition or was built in sections. Fortunately, there was already a ledger across where we wanted to stop. That made things a lot easier since we didn't have to prop the whole thing while we tried to add a ledger and hangers to the part we wanted to keep.

Here's what I found interesting. I moved the middle post to the new location and used the same rail units that were originally attached to it. Remember what I said about no measuring tape, level, or squaring tools used? Here's the proof. The deck at the new location is approximately 5 inches wider than than it was at it's old location. I suspect alcohol was involved.

This is on the south side of the house and it was sunny and hotter than the dickens yesterday, but I worked slow and steady and managed to get the extension removed, got the railings attached until next weekend when Donnie takes a break from the porch and does the finishing up. I also got the bushes dug up and moved, some holes filled, and the area that was under the deck cleaned up and hauled all the mess to the road for pickup and stacked what we want to keep. The final thing was to water the yard to encourage the burmuda to wander into the bald spots. It was a full day.

Nice huh? Anyone else notice the unsupported swag in the middle where the temporary post is? Beyond that, in the walk path, there are a couple of unexplained bulges. I took a look one day and discovered the problem. At some point when it started swagging up there, someone propped it up with a couple of 4x4s. Apparently it was their first time around because they propped the decking and not the joists. Duh.

Today I cleaned the furniture and rinsed off the deck so now we can actually sit down...until tomorrow.

Introducing the mini-deck. :)

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