Decks-R-Us

Karen and Neil hired Hans and me to replace their back deck. It had to be complete in time for them to host a bridal shower for their granddaughter, so we worked long days to finish in one week. We worked around weather, taking advantage of a roof over the upper half of the deck to stay dry when it rained.

Step One was to remove the old decking. Happily, the deck was nailed down, not screwed, allowing us to lever the boards out with a massive 5-foot-long pry bar. Most of the boards came out easily, but the unroofed portion of the deck had a lot more rot and the boards were more prone to splitting. I learned to pry free both ends of a board before I tackled the middle. We returned with a regular crowbar to extract any nails that stayed put. The most stubborn ones we lopped off with a sawzall, leaving the tips embedded.

The existing framing was in good shape, so we didn’t need to do much structurally. But we did need to build out the deck’s far end. The old deck wrapped around a pool, and with the pool gone the homeowners wanted to square of the new construction. This was a tricky proposition – how does one lengthen a bunch of variable stringers to the same length, and what new supports are needed?

Hans executed the addition beautifully. First we strung a string along the line we wanted to build to. We dug a trio of postholes four feet deep (frost) and buried 12-foot 4×4 posts in them, holding a level to get the posts perfectly plumb and flush to the string line. Our rim joists went up next, nailed to the outside of the posts. Then I measured each space from old rim joist to new rim joist, along with the angle at one end. Hans cut new joists to match and I toe-nailed them into place, collinear with the existing joists to make the decking easy to attach.

IMG_1905

Hans digs a posthole.

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