Author Topic: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal  (Read 3785 times)

Offline I Am Sith

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Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« on: May 13, 2008, 09:50 PM »
Hey guys.  This past weekend I started building a deck on our new house.  This is the second deck I've ever built (the first was on our last house), but the first where I'm doing most/all of the work by myself.  With the last deck, my father (retired bricklayer) helped out a lot with the layout, cuts, labor, etc. as I had never built a deck before.  Now he's a bit older and far less physically able to do manual labor.  He's still my consultant, but he's not allowed to do more than that...

So here are a few pictures of what's done so far:






The next stage involves attaching the railing posts and the decking.  I should have that done over the next few weeks.  It's going to take that long because I start my next class this weekend and then it's Memorial Day weekend and we are going camping.  I'll keep posting more pictures once more is completed.

Any professional carpenters out there?  What do you think so far?
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2008, 10:11 PM »
I'm no pro by any means but I do a lot of home repairs and improvements, and it looks real sharp and sturdy to me right now.  Very nice deck and you're lucky to be working with flat land, haha.  My girl wants a deck in her back yard and I'm not really sure how I'm gonna do it honestly. 

The only flat portion of her back yard is taken up by the pool, so the rest is hillside that encircles and goes above the pool.  I'd have to build like 2 or 3 different decks actually, to do what she wants.  there'd be one that encircles the pool itself and is flush with the rim of the pool.  The next level would be above the pool deck, and then a third level up to a retaining wall from a now unused access road to the hilltop... 

Basically she wants it to cover the hillside so we don't have to maintain said hillside, and honestly I have no clue how to do it.  Never built a deck and only ever installed one that was pre-built and given to us for around the pool. 

Yours, looking outstanding and I wish we had something nice back there but I'm really reluctant to even start what she wants.  :-\
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Offline BrentS

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2008, 12:27 AM »
Looks good so far!  But where did the staircase go??

Offline I Am Sith

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2008, 08:50 AM »
Looks good so far!  But where did the staircase go??

If you look off to the left in the second and third pictures you can see it laying on the ground.  That's going to be the location once we attach them to the deck.

The only flat portion of her back yard is taken up by the pool, so the rest is hillside that encircles and goes above the pool.  I'd have to build like 2 or 3 different decks actually, to do what she wants.  there'd be one that encircles the pool itself and is flush with the rim of the pool.  The next level would be above the pool deck, and then a third level up to a retaining wall from a now unused access road to the hilltop...

Wow, that sounds like a helluva project :o.  Good luck.  I would recommend having someone come out and draw you up some plans.  It might cost you a little bit up front, but once you have the plan you should be able to work off of it fairly easily, I hope...  Keep me posted!
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Offline Morgbug

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2008, 10:21 AM »

Basically she wants it to cover the hillside so we don't have to maintain said hillside, and honestly I have no clue how to do it.  Never built a deck and only ever installed one that was pre-built and given to us for around the pool. 


Be very wary of covering all the vegetation with a structure because that vegetation will then die.  Once it's dead, there's very little holding the hillside together.  Some good rains and you'll be doing a nice imitation of California during the rainy season.  If you go the full deck route, you better be darn sure there's some retaining walls built in that will support the land mass above them. 

I love the look of wood decking around pools too, but it rots really rather fast when you do that.  So long as you're prepared to replace boards sooner rather than later, go for it.  It's an awesome feel around the pool, so much "warmer" than concrete. 
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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2008, 12:49 PM »

Basically she wants it to cover the hillside so we don't have to maintain said hillside, and honestly I have no clue how to do it.  Never built a deck and only ever installed one that was pre-built and given to us for around the pool. 


Be very wary of covering all the vegetation with a structure because that vegetation will then die.  Once it's dead, there's very little holding the hillside together.  Some good rains and you'll be doing a nice imitation of California during the rainy season.  If you go the full deck route, you better be darn sure there's some retaining walls built in that will support the land mass above them. 
 

If I' reading right, the pool is at the foot of that hillside, too, so all of that dirt runoff is going to wind up in the pool.
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Offline Chris M

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2008, 01:03 PM »
Excellent looking word so far just getting the frame up.  You've already done the hardest part in getting the supports lined up properly and the frame built.

What are you planning on doing with the area under the deck?  Is that going to be a sandbox or storage area of some sort?
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Offline Chris M

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2008, 01:10 PM »
I'm no pro by any means but I do a lot of home repairs and improvements, and it looks real sharp and sturdy to me right now.  Very nice deck and you're lucky to be working with flat land, haha.  My girl wants a deck in her back yard and I'm not really sure how I'm gonna do it honestly. 

The only flat portion of her back yard is taken up by the pool, so the rest is hillside that encircles and goes above the pool.  I'd have to build like 2 or 3 different decks actually, to do what she wants.  there'd be one that encircles the pool itself and is flush with the rim of the pool.  The next level would be above the pool deck, and then a third level up to a retaining wall from a now unused access road to the hilltop... 

Basically she wants it to cover the hillside so we don't have to maintain said hillside, and honestly I have no clue how to do it.  Never built a deck and only ever installed one that was pre-built and given to us for around the pool. 

Yours, looking outstanding and I wish we had something nice back there but I'm really reluctant to even start what she wants.  :-\

Jesse, when  you get to building a retaining wall, be sure your supports are heavily reinforced into the ground.  I built a retaining wall for the side of my house on a very slight hill (and I do mean slight), and I used wooden stakes and hammered them into the ground, then lined up the cedar boards of the retaining wall on them.  Then I screwed in the stake to the board.  I then drilled a hole through the board at two points and then hammered rebar through those holes into the ground.  This made the base of the wall very, very solid.  Build the retaining wall in a triangular shape, with the base being the widest point.  A triangle is nature's strongest natural shape.  :)  Carpentry lesson there for you.

I hope that makes sense. If you need more help or would like some pics of that particular project, let me know.
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Offline I Am Sith

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2008, 01:30 PM »
What are you planning on doing with the area under the deck?  Is that going to be a sandbox or storage area of some sort?

The exterior posts are going to have a brick veneer around them (nice having a father and brother as former bricklayers) and then the area under the deck will be covered in stone.  My wife wants to put peagravel underneath it so the kids have a place to play, but I'd like to avoid the boys digging too much under there (that's why we have a sandbox in our park).  I thought about enclosing it, but I've been told by numerous people that it would be very inviting for animals to take up shelter under there.  There are skunks in our area so I'd like to avoid them deciding my house is their new home sweet home.  Also, there is a window for the basement right there and I'd like to keep it as an escape window if need be.  So ultimately, it will just be open with whatever my wife decides she wants for landscaping around the outside.

The finish wood I'm using is the ChoiceDeck composite decking material.  Have you ever used it before?  Any advice for a beginner?  I have all the installation instructions from the supplier, but would also like to hear from someone who has used it in the past.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2008, 01:31 PM by I Am Sith »
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2008, 01:58 PM »
Oh, no worries on the matter from me...  If I get to building it, it'll basically be supervised by her father/uncle who were either contractors or have done enough of their own decking in their lives to know what to do.  I'm thinking at best she'll get a deck level above the pool, and one at pool level, and not everything up to the old road retaining wall.  THat would leave more than half the hillside still uncovered.  It's also not a terribly large ammount of land... 

It's hard to describe building here if you don't live in Western PA, but basically everything is done to hillside.  Houses built into hillsides, decks built into them, staircases to get up them... 

I should take photos of some of the funnier homes around just my area to show how people have to live here. ;)

The majority of her deck would be around the pool and level.  That's also where we'd start anyway.  I think once she got that much done she'd be disappointed in what another level is going to cost her.
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Offline Chris M

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2008, 02:29 PM »
I've never used the Choice Deck stuff before, so I'm not familiar with it at all. 

I will say if I were building a new deck, I'd use redwood.  But that is a personal preference for me as I love the color and love how easy it is to cut and work with.  However, it's very, very expensive.  I'd use that and then finish it with a weather sealant.  You can spray the stuff on, scrub it onto the deck, let stand for a bit, and then rinse it off with water.  That's what I've done with the previous deck I've worked on. 
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Offline jedipurge

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2008, 07:38 PM »
Oh, no worries on the matter from me...  If I get to building it, it'll basically be supervised by her father/uncle who were either contractors or have done enough of their own decking in their lives to know what to do.  I'm thinking at best she'll get a deck level above the pool, and one at pool level, and not everything up to the old road retaining wall.  THat would leave more than half the hillside still uncovered.  It's also not a terribly large ammount of land... 

It's hard to describe building here if you don't live in Western PA, but basically everything is done to hillside.  Houses built into hillsides, decks built into them, staircases to get up them... 

I should take photos of some of the funnier homes around just my area to show how people have to live here. ;)

The majority of her deck would be around the pool and level.  That's also where we'd start anyway.  I think once she got that much done she'd be disappointed in what another level is going to cost her.

Good for you JJ, hell I'd just broken up with her  ;)
Looking good Sith mighty professional looking to me.  Nice house by the way.  Is that a new development you were you live, jeez not a piece of wood with chipped paint on any of the houses around you.
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Offline Smartypants1635

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2008, 08:27 PM »

Good for you JJ, hell I'd just broken up with her  ;)


I was gonna suggest that..... but thought better of it lol.

My deck at our new house uses that imitation wood, no splinters no staining and it looks and feels like the real deal! I love it.
I think that may be what you are using Iamsith, if it is, go for it, its great. Just don't spill any grease from the bottom of a smoker or grease from a piece of meat, it might soak in, and stain.

Offline I Am Sith

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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2008, 08:42 PM »
Is that a new development you were you live, jeez not a piece of wood with chipped paint on any of the houses around you.

Yep, it's about 2-3 years old.  The main reason there isn't any chipped paint is due to the wonders of vinyl siding! :D;D  Our last house had cedar siding and it was a pain in the ass to maintain.

I think that may be what you are using Iamsith, if it is, go for it, its great. Just don't spill any grease from the bottom of a smoker or grease from a piece of meat, it might soak in, and stain.

Yeah, it's the composite material (wood and polyethylene).  Thanks for the heads up about the grease.  We were going to put our grill up there.  I'll either have to find another spot or have to make sure I have a grill mat underneath it.  Then again, I have some clumsy relatives so I should just be prepared for the eventual staining...
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Re: Building My Own Deck - Photo Journal
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2008, 08:53 AM »
Is that a new development you were you live, jeez not a piece of wood with chipped paint on any of the houses around you.

 The main reason there isn't any chipped paint is due to the wonders of vinyl siding! ..... Thanks for the heads up about the grease.  We were going to put our grill up there.  I'll either have to find another spot or have to make sure I have a grill mat underneath it. 

Make sure you put that grill on the outside edge of the deck, away from the house or grease stains will be the least of your worries.  I have more than few friends who have charred, warped, or downright melted the the vinyl on the side of their house with poor grill placement.


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