The weather is getting warmer in the northern hemisphere, which means that more people are thinking of spending time outside on their decks. As some of you may know, I’ve been sharing my experiences and tips about building a deck for several years now (see: Building an affordable deck – what to consider ). And since many readers here were asking about the progress of our own project, I figured it’s time to share another update with you guys.
One year after we started working on our deck project, most things are done except for some final touches and finishing details. The boards in front of the house have been leveled out and all posts are installed. In addition, we had the railings powder coated black and attached them to two levels of steps.
As you can see, the deck is not finished yet but it’s already usable and sturdy. In fact, we even had a BBQ party up here last summer. We figured that if the kids are going to be jumping all around during a party then the deck needs to be really solid, so we tested it with our own weight before inviting friends over. It passed the test 🙂
The very first step was to have all deck posts installed into concrete footings. Since our house is an old structure from 1892 and we don’t know for sure what condition is under the surface, Mike had to hire a professional excavator for this task. That saved us some time and turned out to be a good investment since after some initial digging around there it became clear that the soil was in pretty bad shape and full of roots – which would have been impossible (or at least very time consuming) to deal with by ourselves.
Entering winter With our home on a hill, the septic tank is located at the back of our property. In order to reach it you have to go around the house and that’s why we decided not to put any decking in this part of the area. Instead, there are two large stepping stone areas that we covered with black pavers and then surrounded them with some gravel:
We already had a plan on how to place these stones since they would need to be moved once we start building trex boards. The next step was level out all dirt on top while leaving the stones untouched so that they can be used as anchor points for chairs later (since moving all those heavy stones by hand from one end of the deck might not be an option).
Leveling out the ground was followed by building a wooden base for all posts that were attached to concrete footings on one side and then anchored into rock bed on the other. This is where we ran into our first problem: not all areas around house are connected so some parts are standing higher than others do. The post under the step that leads up to the front door was much taller than rest, which meant that I’d need a short ladder just to reach under-deck area during construction. I guess these differences are usually not that big but for the sake of this project they were too noticeable and required some adjustments.