Group 6 2 minutes Read

deck progress: week two

Lauren Zerbey

So let’s rewind to last Thursday – Kyle and I came home early to unload the decking that arrived on a truck from Eastern Washington (more on that later). With warm(ish) temperatures and hours of daylight left we decided to put on our grubby clothes and get to it. With the footings complete, the next step was to prep the area that would soon be covered by the deck.

First we leveled out the soil that was still in clumps and piles from the previous weekend of hole-digging. (It sucked.) Then we laid down filter fabric to keep weeds at bay. We’re actually not big fans of filter fabric and don’t plan on using it in other parts of the yard, but since this area will be more or less inaccessible, we thought it was worth the expense and effort. To keep the fabric in place, we covered it with a thin layer of pea gravel.

It rained on Saturday morning which delayed framing, but fortunately concrete doesn’t give a crap if it’s raining.

So – stair footing! (The above photo just shows the rebar and formwork, apparently I failed to photograph the actual concrete pour.)

We tried to minimize the amount of new concrete pours as much as possible, but the small stair leading to the basement needed a proper support (as seen in the sketch below).

By Sunday, the pressure-treated lumber had dried out enough so that Kyle could resume framing. First he covered the top of the beams with Grace Vycor sticky flashing, which adds extra protection against wood rot and will extend the life of the deck.

Next, he installed the joist hangers, which are deep enough to support both the main deck joists as well as the framing for the step along the east side. In order to avoid yet another large and annoying footing, we decided to cantilever that framing out, backspanning the members and bracing them against the joists above.

The joists hang off the outboard beam and ledger (at the wall of the house) and sit on the beam at the mid-span.

Kyle used his palm nailer to install the joists, which sped things up considerably.

Most of the PT (pressure-treated) members had to be cut, which meant we needed to treat the exposed edges with a wolmanizing agent (it’s basically a solution that gets brushed on to any freshly cut ends). We didn’t want Bailey to get too curious, so we kept him inside where he maintained a close eye on the progress.

And yes, he always lays like this.

On Monday night our friend Anton came over to help. He was probably expecting to do something manly like pour concrete or operate power tools, but instead Kyle gave him a roll of sticky flashing. But by the end of the evening, he was indeed a Master Taper.

After the joists were installed, blocking was added in the perpendicular direction to further brace the structure.

A rim joist was added to the front of the east step and all of a sudden it started to look a lot more like a deck. As an added bonus, we’re right at the solstice so it doesn’t get dark till about 10:00 p.m. More light = more work!

Kyle powered through and worked on Tuesday night as well, finishing the framing for the steps that lead up to the back door. Woohoo!

We still need to finish the framing for the north steps (on the right side of the photo above), as well as the stair to the basement, but then it will be decking time!

All in all, I think it’s going to be real swell.