The old back deck had turned rickety and hostile. One wrong move and you might get it.
Right between the toes.
It has been a situation of agitation for me since we first moved in four years ago. I have actually tossed in a half dozen planks to replace some of the really bad ones. Dry rot, especially at the ends, and loose screws everywhere, abounded. It was time for the old wood to go and for the joists, if palpable, to sprout new planks like wings. Or something like that.
Prior to getting hip deep in a brutal tear off assault, I first had to contend with, quite gingerly I might add, a delicate propane contusion situation type disorder thing. You see, old Homeboy, the previous owner, was a gassy kind of guy. I mean, he dealt in propane. He loved all things gas. So he ran a line run from under the house to the outside corner of the deck for the BBQ. Which is fine I suppose if you BBQ every single day. But every single day is not a holiday and some days the weather can be cold and inclement around here. Some days we just wanna have a salad, know what I mean?
I probably would have left it all alone 'cept there was this six inch flange contusion that protruded beyond the deck. Right at the corner. Somehow in the last four years no one has been shinned on it, but it was only a matter of time.
He saw the sweat on my brow and generously waded in to battle. Two AARP ex-hippies gettin her done, slashing, whacking and biting. The old lumber never had a chance. Of course, neither one of us could move that night, but stories will be told of our heroic exploits that day. That's for sure.
Once the tear off was complete, I removed any remaining hardware from old 2x4's. Three one gallon buckets of metal were ultimately removed. Then I stacked the better lumber which will be deployed later this summer for the tree house. Re-purpose Re-purpose Re-purpose.
Complete tear off took a day and a half, then I took stock of the joists. All of them were relatively sound, but most of them had suffered pretty fair dry rot along the tops.
Once the entire under belly was solid, I treated it with a wood preservative. That was completed on Thursday, allowing a couple days for the oil to sink in and the smell to dissipate before our fabulous son in law and grandson would be up to help install the new.
There was also a 9 inch wide roll for about $5.00 more than the 4 inch roll. I figured that would cover twice the amount of sistered joists and I would only need one roll, which would save me about $30 bucks. It's called math. It comes in handy some times.
The joist tape cut very cleanly with an exacta knife and attached quite easily with a staple gun. An hour in and we were ready to start planking.
Look, Homie installed a "Maintenance Free" ironwood deck in front. Only I have to splash some oil on it every year. Which doesn't sound "maintenance free" to me. And ironwood is a lot more expensive than redwood. So I figured if I already have to annually maintain the front deck what's a couple extra hours to maintain the rear?
I once lived at a house that had trex deck. That stuff absorbs the oil off a Dorito. Drop a Dorito crumb and you end up with a Dorito oil stain on the deck. Have a big party with the appropriate amount of alcohol and your deck is going to get chip besotted, spotted and stained. Then you're going to have to refinish the entire thing with little corn chip chips so it all looks even. Who wants to do that?
The first couple rows of redwood 2x6 planks took a little time. One had to be notched to allow for some PVC, and a couple others needed to be sliced to allow for access to the house water line. But once those were set we were ready to rock and roll. My fabulous son in law took the helm, and assisted by our amazing grandson they tacked down the ends on all the wood I fed them.
Since the length of the deck was 20 feet I had ordered the appropriate amount of 12 footers and the appropriate amount of 8 footers to fill the original deck footprint. How did I do this? I counted the boards.
By ordering 8 and 12 footers, I was able to leave only two nice, clean seam lines. Most decks have seams that are willy nilly everywhere, like old Homie did. Not so here, now.
He not only hung, he helped with the not so fun grunt stuff for most of the day. His reward? Once all the pieces were in place I started about fifty screws for him to finish off.
Sunday was a play day, but Monday I got another box of uber fabulous star red screws, which blend with redwood quite nicely, and spent the rest of the day trimming the edges and screwing off. The deck that is. Not the rest of the day.
The next couple blog posts will be about a recent excursion my lovely wife and I made along the Northern California coast. They will be chalk full of things you probably never knew existed.
My second book is just about half way complete. I hope to have that available on Amazon later this fall, really really later in fall. Probably early winter, actually. Or maybe some time next year. Anybody got a couple spare ten seconds they can lend me?
My first book, as always, is still available on Amazon.com.
Happy Spring Y'all.