Saturday, July 30, 2011

Now it's on to the steps

We installed our last short joist today. The deck is aaaaaaaaalot sturdier. We are pleased.Next step in the rejuvenation of the deck is the two sets of steps. But first is concrete removal.

This walkway was poured in two layers. The first layer was concrete with a lot of aggregate. The second or top layer is just cement with the large slate pieces laid on top.Some of the slate comes off easy without breaking but others requires a soft touch with the cold chisel and sledge hammer. We are hoping to save as much of the slate as possible for a future sidewalk repair job on the north side of the house.By the end of the day we had the slate removed from the concrete that we are removing. Tomorrow we bust up the remaining first layer. This layer breaks up into big pieces unlike the top layer.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Build a Deck or Build an Ark?

Gosh...I don't know at this point. It wait.....stormed for about 8 hours. In that time it rained anywhere between 5 and 6 inches of rain.

Thirty minutes into the rain storm we lost the power or as they say in Jamaica....the current. It would try to come on and then die again and again and again. We went outside (yes in the rain) to see if we were the only one experiencing this problem. We were not because we watched lights come on in houses and then go out, come on and go out, come on and go out.

Time to break out the candles and transistor radio (oldie). By the light of my laptop operating on battery power, we placed jars candles in all the important places...bathroom, refrigerator, and bedroom.

R had the oldies station on and we just sat and listened to that cheesy radio thinking about all the stuff I had to do and couldn't. Grrrrr

The power came back on around 530am but no cable or Internet. That did not start working until mid afternoon and I am still trying to catch up.

Work on the deck consisted mainly of installing more of those short joists. The humidity was unbearable. tomorrow is a race day so I will run errands and maybe spray Round Up on weeds if it doesn't rain.This is what kind of joists were there before we started the rebuild project. The joists were nailed in place without joist hangers. They were also undersized and tapered down to 4 inches on one end. If that wasn't enough badness, they were spaced 6 feet apart. yes, that's right 6 feet. Ours new joists are 2 X 10 installed with joist hangers using screws and spaced 22 inches on center. We came up with 22 inches because it would evenly space the joists and miss any structure that would impede the joist placement.
The deck is nearly without bounce or any movement all. The deck boards need to be replaced but we will do that at a later date. At that time we will screw down the new boards and that should remove the remaining rattle and movement. The current boards are cupped and warped and all the nails are loose.
R prefers an electric drill motor and his preferred choice is a 1960 metal housing model. Well, he first wore out the drill motor with reverse and now the forward only drill motor has given it up, also. Damn only 50 years of service.

Not to worry, though. In R's travels the other day he noticed a plastic case out to the curb on trash day. He thought he could store something in the case and stopped and picked it up. He was surprised that it was heavy. When he got home, he opened it up and found a Craftsman 13.2V drill motor, charger, an assortment of bits, and two batteries.
He thought that either the drill motor was bad or the batteries or charger. He plugged it all in and waited. He then did this.
Yup, it all works and works really well, too.

Oh comes another big storm.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nice Weather and Nice Progress

Today's weather was fab-u-lous. It has been so unrelentingly hot for so long that I had forgotten what it felt like to have pleasant weather. I have no idea how long this great working weather will be here so we made the best of it.

We had several projects that we could have done today but decided to do the hardest project that would require working in the sun. That project was the last 2 X 12 fascia board on the rim joist and digging the hole for the 6 x 6 post that is needed to stabilize the far end of the deck.

To make sure we didn't overheat, we hauled out the fan for an added breeze. The final 2 x 12 on the front was joined with biscuits and glued prior to using 3 inch screws to adhere it. We have had really good luck using biscuits and glue to hold together two boards.
R started digging the hole for the 6 x 6 post. Tomorrow he has to dig an additional 6 inches and then we can concrete the post in place. This should add a lot of rigidity to the deck. I have no idea who in the past designed this deck but there was some structural elements that were left out.We have more joists to install on the overhang. There is a 46 inch over hang that only had a joist every 60 inches. We are adding beefier joists every 22 inches and using joist hangers which they didn't use. We chose 22 inches because that was the distance that worked within the existing smaller hangerless joists.

Along the way we have added 90 degree braces and joining plates where ever they are missing or needed. We are also using screws instead of the dreaded twisty nail. I find it hard to believe that these galvanized twisted nails never hold two boards together without becoming loose but yet that are a nightmare to remove completely.

We are very pleased with the look of the deck. Prior to this rehab, it was not only bouncy but out of scale. The rim joist was undersized and looked out of proportion to the size of the house. Adding the 2 x 12 fascia board to the rim joist added the correct proportion and stiffen the deck up greatly.

Foot injury update. My toes turned a little blue and black. A red spot did emerge where the clamp hit my foot despite the protection from my fleeced lined flip flop. Every day the over all swelling is going away but I am now bar clamp gun shy. I'll probably need some sort of therapy but until then I am only using the plastic coated clamps.

Friday, July 22, 2011

R's Curbside Treasure to the Rescue

We have finished the two landings despite the unbearable heat. Neither landing have the steps installed so it's rather difficult to get up onto the landings. Well not anymore.

R spotted a pool ladder that was resting at the curb waiting for trash pick up. He had a light bulb go off in his head and brought it home. After we are done using it, he will throw it in the scrap pile to take to the scrapper. BTW all you scrappers out there. Scrap is currently at a fairly high rate, so now might be the time to take your scrap to the scrap yard.It works perfect because there are various heights at which you can step off and it has hand rails.

Look at all the instructions for a pool ladder and in multiple languages, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just Too Hot

This hot weather has slowed our progress down to a crawl. Our current work pattern is to go outside and water all the plants and trees and then start work on the deck. Then we usually go inside for the afternoon and back outside in the evening until it gets dark.

We have finished the landing by the kitchen door, so now both landings are completed. The kitchen landing was not without a close encounter with the emergency room. We were in the process of screwing down the deck boards when one of the bar clamps that I was using popped off and fell 4 feet onto the top of my foot.

My usual foot attire is flip flops. Flips flops in summer (outside) and flip flops in winter (inside). My current flip flop is a suede pair with fleece lining by LL Bean. I love these and unfortunately they are on their last days. But back to the close encounter of the E.R. kind. The bar clamp hit the top of my foot, not on the clamp end but the bar end. Say it with me.....OUCH OUCH OUCH!I looked down and didn't see blood but I was very afraid to move my foot because I thought for sure it was broke. I slid my foot out of the flip flop and couldn't believe it. In a mere 30 seconds it looked like this.....R was grossed right out. The photo doesn't show the height of the lump. It literally looked like a golf ball sitting on top of my foot. I was afraid to move my foot so I hopped on my good foot over to a lawn chair. We have a well for our water, so I told R to get me a bucket and the hose. He brought me a 5 gallon bucket that just days earlier was used to make concrete. I put my foot in the bucket and filled with cold water.

I thought that I should at least try and move my toes. Move they did and believe it or not nothing seem to hurt. By this time even the bottom of by foot was swollen. I sat there for an hour before I took my foot out of the water. My entire foot was swollen and very cold but the ugly golf ball size lump was gone. I was surprised that I could even walk around without any problems.

I was sure that when I woke up this morning and looked at my foot that I would see a large black and blue bruise. know what? Nothing, absolutely nothing except a little overall swelling. Not one mark and I attribute that to my LL Bean suede and fleece flip flops AND the cold water and compression from the 5 gallons.

Please disregard my dirty foot as I had been back filling post holes with clay soil before the near miss happened.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

One Landing Down, One Landing To Go

It was unbearably hot today. What should have taken maybe 2 hours max, ended up taking all day.

The landing deck is completed (except for nailing down the last board). We have the same landing deck to complete on the south side (kitchen) tomorrow.We did lose some time today going to Home Depot to buy 5/4 boards and more joist hangers. We also took several very long breaks to cool off and eat. Tomorrow will be free of a Home Depot run so we should be able to start earlier in the day.

I used an air grinder with a sandpaper wheel to put a slight bevel on the cut end after we cut the deck boards to the correct length.
I tried to mimic the radius on the factory edge. This helps when the boards shrinks after drying out. That is the reason R and I did not put a gap between the deck boards. By this time next week there will be a 1/16th of an inch gap. When we were laying the deck boards at B & G's a couple of years ago, the gaps showed up by the next day. If we started out with a 1/16th of an inch gap and then the board dried and exposed another 1/16th on each side of the deck board, we would have at least a 3/16ths of an inch gap. Hopefully this way we will end up with somewhere between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch gap maximum.
This new landing is in much better scale to the over deck size and the size of the house. The previous deck configuration just had steep steps coming off the back of the deck. This new landing will allow for a two step stairs which is much easier to navigate than four steps with a shaky hand rail.
The next 7 days calls for 90+ degrees every day AND no rain in sight. Egads my tomato plants will never survive.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Left Handed Person + Right Handed Person= Broken Fingernails

First off, let me say I have no photos. I was so P.O.ed that I completely forgot to take photos of our progress.

R is left handed and I am right handed. This at times has caused problems, that is why we try to work on separate projects. This just happen to be a project that required both of us to participate, plus it is a long project.

It was hot. We were in the sun all day. The tools were always to his left and I was on the right. The cord was always on the wrong side and in the way. Whenever we needed to turn over a board he turned counterclockwise and I turned clockwise. Needless to say when I broke a second fingernail...we were done for the day.

Let's hope tomorrow goes better. I'm down to 8 good fingernails.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This post is about posts

Last night at around 8pm, R and I went back outside and dug 3 post holes. It was so much easier when it wasn't 90 degrees and sunny.

Today we positioned the posts and clamped them in place. Again the post levels came in handy. I'll try and remember to snap a photo to show you what they look like.

Once the sun was low enough in the sky to go behind the trees we started mixing up the concrete to secure the posts. We used up all the partial bags of Quikcrete that have been laying around and making a mess. The posts and concrete are curing nicely and we will back fill tomorrow.

Rumor has it that it will be on 77 degrees tomorrow! This will be perfect weather for installing more 2X12's around the rim joist. That work is difficult because we have no way of propping the 2X12's up while they are secured in place. Our intent is to use the biscuit joiner to connect the pieces before we screw them in place. Hopefully that will keep them from spreading apart when they dry out.

This photo is for my mother. It's a little blurry because I had to wait until it was dark to take the photo. It's a solar powered lighted bird feeder. When it gets dark the little lights come on and cast a warm glow on the ground. Very cute and the birds seem to like it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pulling nails and a new oil painting

It rained on and off today so we were unable to continue on with the deck rebuild. Instead we did something fun (sarcastic)......we pulled nails.

R salvaged 40 2X4's from the person who's garage we disassembled. These 2X4's are in great condition except for the fact that they were covered in nails and dry wall screws. The boards are so new that they are not even discolored. They will be perfect for framing.

Here is a photo of the pile of nails and screws that we have collected from all the lumber we have recycled. Ouch! makes my elbow hurt just looking at the photo.The other day I stopped by one of my 3 favorite consignment shops and scored this great oil painting for 10 bucks. It will look great in my kitchen framed with either an antique frame from my collection (fingers crossed that I have the correct size) or maybe a simple black frame.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vintage French Doors.... Score!

I finally found a set of french doors that were the correct size for the master bedroom balcony project. The photo below shows the doors currently stored in the garage. It appears that there is only one door but there are two doors stacked against each other.
We needed doors that totaled 48 inches wide but only 70 inches tall. These doors will work perfect plus they are vintage which will make them blend in even better. One of my favorite consignment shops came through for me again. The price was a fabulous $80.08 out the door.

Now I just need to remove a bazillion layers of black and green paint from the doors. Hopefully this will not expose too much damage or take 5 gallons of citrus stripper to remove all the paint.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Latest Curbside Treasure

R is on a roll this week. Both literally and figuratively. Check out this curbside treasure.Yup.....a roll top desk. But not any old roll top desk. This is a child size roll top desk.

It has solid oak dovetailed drawers with skeleton key locks. The top is oak as is the interior but the remaining parts are pine stained to match. Several trim pieces were missing and the main carcass of the desk was loose at every joint. R found everything in a heap out at the curb on trash day.

He has glued all the joints and replaced the two missing trim pieces. I think we will keep this piece and for now store it in the loft of the barn. But for the life of me I cannot figure out why people just throw this stuff away. Why not donate it to Goodwill or sell it on Craigslist???

Friday, July 8, 2011

Progress on Rebuilding Deck

I swear we always wait until it is HOT HOT HOT outside to work on decks. You would think we had learned our lesson on B & G's deck but... oh no! Here we are on the south side of the house in 90+ degree sunny weather.Today we dig more post holes and maybe even install a few posts. After the posts are installed we will go back to adding the 2X12 to the rim joist and install joist hangers and corner braces as we work our way around to the north side of the house.

Rebuilding a poorly constructed deck takes longer than building a deck from scratch. Everyday we find something to correct before we can move on. But our ultimate goal is a deck with NO BOUNCE!!!! So far even without the posts we plan to add, the deck is far more sturdier and stiff than it was when we started.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

On to the Next Big Project

The last few weeks have been very busy since B's birthday party. The day after her birthday bash we started demolition of a 2 car garage. The garage was not ours but did have the correct clapboards that we need to repair our barn. The garage was built with 2X4, 2X6, and some 1X planking that we can use to make more tomato cages and to frame an area where we will remove 3 windows and shingle it as it was in the past.

Garage demo took approximately 1 week. We worked about 4 hours a day before our arms and wrists screamed "No more!" We brought the lumber home and then removed the nails and cut off any bad portions of wood. I cannot believe all the nails that we removed.After the big demo job we felt that we were on a roll and decided to rebuild the deck. This wasn't an unseen problem/project but the time felt right. This photo shows the deck after we started disassembling portions that we didn't like so we could start to rebuild it.Today was a no progress day because it was just too hot. At 90+ degrees compounded by the black asphalt that we needed to stand on AND the the fact that the deck is on the south side made it was a no brainer to go back inside with the AC.