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Redoing my Back Deck
#1
I've been slowly but surely rebuilding my back deck. Here's what it looked like last year, when it was partially obscured by my first self-irrigating garden.

[Image: 11StarterGarden-35dayslater.jpg]

The fact that there were so many trees in the back yard, which is on a slope, the deck deteriorated much faster than normal. So this spring I did a complete survey of everything, and decided that the underlying frame was still in pretty good condition, even though it looked old and darkened. But it was still sound and worth keeping.

So I figured out how I was going to replace all the floor boards, the lengths and all. Then I added some underlying planks where the boards would butt together, allowing me to set everything with screws, and not too close to the end of each plank.

I reapplied 5/4" X 6" thick planks like before, but this time I used 1/4" spacers between each plank. The old ones were too close and didn't allow debris to be swept through the cracks.

I managed to get the decking done before all the heat descended on the Raleigh area. But once it arrived, I just halted everything and waited for things to cool down. This week the weather was perfect: cool pretty much all day, and rarely a cloud in the sky. Perfect!

This week I tore out all the banisters, railings, and lattice work. But I did leave the 4" X 4" portion of the frame, and surrounded them with cut up 2" X 6" boards. Then I took 2" X 6" lumber and used them for both upper and lower railing.

I also took cut 2" X 4"s and ripped them in half, using them for upper and lower bracing on which to attach all the slats with screws. Here's some pictures.

[Image: Bassshoecomparison003.jpg]

[Image: Bassshoecomparison004.jpg]

Everything on this deck was attached with screws. No nails or air staples/nails. I have a real nice air system that I use in my business, but decided that screws are the best way to do.

On top of that, about three months ago, Lowes cleared out it inventory of decking screws, because they were the wrong colour, or something. Everything was dirt cheap, and large 5lb containers of screws were the same price as the 1lb boxes, regularly priced. So I scarfed up all different lengths, more than I needed. But I can use them in the business, so I really got a pile of them before they disappeared from the shelves.

The drill in the far corner I used to predrill screw holes, and the newer Ryobi in the foreground is fitted out with the star shaped bits that drive these screws.

Also you can see my home made jig that I used for upper and lower spacing for all the slats. I measured the horizontal opening between each post, and used a calculator to figure out the desired size of the spacer. Then I cut the slats to size, and use the jig, which worked out perfectly on each section.

Now I have one more portion of the deck to finish, which you can see right here.

[Image: Bassshoecomparison006.jpg]

As soon as I can get Mike to help me move the self-irrigating planter, which is heavy, I will finish up that end. And lastly, I'll do the steps, which are a bit complicated. But I can do all that at my leisure, since the actual deck will be done.

[Image: Bassshoecomparison007.jpg]

I used a home made sawhorse, from directions I found on the internet, and posted about on another thread. It needs to be a little wider, because I used a 2" X 4" X 10' board, and a couple of large sliding levelers for cutting the boards. The short 2" x 4" is in the top of the sawhorse right now so as to be able to take the pictures.

Anyway, that's where I am right now, so far.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#2
Nice property! Earlier this year I cleaned the weather soiled section of my deck with Oxiclean, it did a fantastic job.
'It's not who votes that matters, it's who counts the votes'  |  György Schwartz, Budapest, Hungary
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#3
Yeah, as soon as I finish everything, I'm going to use that, or something similar, on the old wood, and bring it up to snuff with the new material.

I'm really pleased as to how easy things went together using those screws. All the screw heads are the 'star' pattern, and didn't strip at all.

The only thing I would have done differently had I not used my old 1979 B&D mitre saw, would have been to purchase a nice sliding compound mitre saw. My old B&D is so old that it doesn't even have the blade brake when through with the cut and the trigger released. That's old.

There are a lot of used ones on sale at Craigs List, and I could have picked up one for around $100. I could have gotten one of those Kobalt or Ryobi brands for a good price, but I wasn't about to throw away big bucks on some Dewalt, Makita, or whatever big name, that is hundreds of dollars. Not worth the investment.

If you look at the deck, the joints are in only two places. And I added 2" bys on each side of the already erected joist. The screws holes are a nice distance from the end of the boards, and you can see this in the pictures. That will keep the wood from splitting as it weathers over time.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#4
Kijiji has lots of tools for sale, most are tools purchase to do a job and never used again. I had to used a stiff scrub brush, the important thing to remember about Oxi-clean is that the mixture you make in only good for a couple of hours. It is also ecologically safe to use.
'It's not who votes that matters, it's who counts the votes'  |  György Schwartz, Budapest, Hungary
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#5
For some reason Kijiji isn't in the US anymore. There is still a classified EBay, but not all that many items for sale in my area. It seems Craigslist is the big one here.

Here's one for $85.

Here's another one from Harbor Freight.

And here's one from Northern Tool And Equipment.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#6
(09-14-2012, 07:58 PM)John L Wrote: For some reason Kijiji isn't in the US anymore. There is still a classified EBay, but not all that many items for sale in my area. It seems Craigslist is the big one here.

Here's one for $85.

Here's another one from Harbor Freight.

And here's one from Northern Tool And Equipment.

#1 ... It looks like you have a bunch of peppers there. If that's the case, you're getting about 3X production in about half the space I use.

#2 ... I'll need an overhaul on mine. It's given a couple of things to think about ...

so thanks!
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
-- Henry Mencken
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#7
I got a lot of peppers last year, and this year too. Unfortunately they didn't grow all that big, and same thing with the tomatoes. But I've finally figured out just why. I had mixed a nice batch of 1/2 bagged top soil and 1/2 humus and cow manure. But I kept getting that wilt at the end of the fruit, due to the ph content. So this year I added about three cups of dolomite/limestone to soil I used in the buckets. But again, I still keep getting this end wilt, so I am not making the soil sweet enough. Next year, I'm going to go with less planters, and put a whole bunch of dolomite in the potting mix.

Oh, and I'm going to purchase a good digital ph metre too. And I'm going to add more fertilizer to the soil at planting. But less of the nitrogen, and more of the other two numbers. Something like 6/12/12 higher proportion of the last two.

My tomatoes really are sweet, and highly tasty, but they are small in size. And the outer skin is much harder. But they really do taste great, and beat anything you can get in the grocery store.

I'm probably going to use only three of the four large white self-irrigating boxes, because I now have two added to the side entrance to the house for growing lettuce and other smaller crops.

And I'm also going to probably add another 2" X 6" board under the boxes in order to keep the weight from causing the railing to sag. If you look closely, you can see how I used the split 2" X 4"s on the upper and lower railings for added strength. I've got them screwed together from under as well as from the top.

Also, I added another block halfway between the two posts, and doubled up on slats at that point, on that furtherest 8' railing. I forgot to add a second slat on the next 8" section, and will take care of that tomorrow. That way, the weight of the boxes, soil, and all that water at the bottom 1/4 of the box won't cause the railings to sag any. Once I get them set up again, I'll give them a new coating of white paint, so they'll look pretty again. S1

I'll try to get some better pictures tomorrow, and show a few more things I added with this deck, over the previous one.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#8
My jalapenos swooned early ... same thing ... wilt ... and damn it just when they were getting really flowery!! Also a few tomatoe plants ... I attributed it to lack of drainage ... but I guess I need to look into pH as well. Who the hell thought this crap that people have been doing for centuries could be so damn complicated??

I tried Ghost Peppers this year and one plant is doing great ... except I haven't got a single damn flower to set. I've been to lazy to get the set spray .... I've also heard Epsom salts help. Gotta happen quick cuz I only I only have a month or so ... maybe two if we get a warm bit and I cover them at night.

... thinking of digging up one and taking it to work maybe ... got limited sunny space in the house. One is already in a pot but it's not doing great. Our weather cooled considerably and if it doesn't really go too far in the opposite direction, that might help. Weird year ... lots of heat ... very little precip..

I'll probably hire out my deck redo ... expensive ... and that pains me. Would love to tackle it if I had the time. S4
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
-- Henry Mencken
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#9
Here's something to consider about hiring the redo out. The folks doing the redo are going to do the job for the most money, using the least amount of materials. That only makes sense.

My new neighbor just moved in last month and had a nice crew of Mexicans come in and tear out the old back deck, and they now have a brand new one from ground up. Its a bit smaller, but nicer than the old one. Juan, the foreman really knows his stuff.

However, comparing the two houses on each side of me, and they both use the slats rather than the junk I used to have on mine, there is a real difference in workmanship with both of them. My older neighbor to my Military Left, has a rather 'gracile' looking deck. The slats are placed in between two 2" x 4"s and stapled in place. Then the entire assembly was affixed between the 4" x 4" posts. It looks nice, but not really solid, even though I know it is.

The new neighbor, where Juan did the job, is a little more substantial. The upper railing is out of 2" x 6"s, but still with the slats put together between the upper and lower rails, and then affixed to the posts all together at once. The one I did, on the other hand, is far more substantial. The 4" x 4" posts are buttressed with 2" x 6"s, and each rail is put together After the railings are in place. And everything is screwed in, not nailed/stapled.

And this really doesn't take all that much more effort, or cost either. I'm sitting with the cost of material for the railings, which I picked up this week. They are just a hair over $220, and that includes a $12 16gage three prong 15ft extension cord. I am going to have to pick up a bunch more slats to finish the end of the deck and do the stair casing.

Taking apart the old railings and rebuilding new ones with slats didn't really require all that much time/effort. With the right tools, and jigs, its easy to do, costs far less, and you know you did it without having to cut corners.

Anyway, I'll take some pictures for you all, and as I finish the other end, I'll also take pictures of those long stairs. That's going to be a job in itself.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#10
Good project, John. In my construction manuals for backyard projects, I recommend measuring and marking OC for studs, balusters, or supports, rather than jigs, except for building similar components, like trusses, or rafters - because using jigs linearly for spacing usually gives a bad result. If all your wood is the same size, then you are ahead of the game.

For proper care for a deck, the must-use reference is Glenn Haege's Deck Care Fast and Easy - What to Do & What to Buy It is a free download and is the best info available.
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#11
Will guests come and hang out on your deck John?
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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#12
I'm sure some will. But most importantly, I will be enjoying it in the mornings and evenings,.......once I finish and get everything sorted out.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#13
Here's something else that is also important to the perfect saw horse setup, especially if power tools are going to be used with them.  My 12" Delta mitre saw is sitting on a new sawhorse combination, but it is still in the process of being finished to suit my needs.  I even have a nice clear plastic cover, I obtained a week ago from a covered chair, which I unloaded for my designer friend, Beverly at a Fayetteville job.  It almost covers my sawhorse/saw assembly, but is about four inches shy of reaching all the way to the decking.  I have a large tarp I purchased from Harbor Freight, but haven't gotten into the cutting and sewing part yet.  

However, here is something that I am going to start doing tomorrow.  What I am talking about is a tool activated switch system that will automatically turn on my shop vac at the same time I turn on my mitre saw.  And then when I let off the switch, the vacuum will run for a couple more seconds to clear out the hose, and then shut off, along with the saw.  Its a neat idea, and there are some shop vacs that have this feature built in.  But they are very expensive, costing three-four hundred dollars, and even more, especially if you are looking to get a Festool.  Here's what you can expect to pay from DeWalt's rendition.  They can keep it for that cost.

But Sears has the answer for all this. Craftsman Auto-Switch.  This is the least expensive one out there, and I have really done some rooting around.  The others begin at $40 and just keep heading north.  Here's a review from LumberJocks.com.

[Image: spin_prod_206185101?hei=600&wid=600&....9,0.5,0,0]

And here's Chuck Miller, over at FineHomebuilding.com.  He shows how a reader sent in his solution to the tool actuating setup, using a Sears Auto-Switch: Make a Tool-Actuated Vacuum.  Its a wonderful idea, and automatically goes around with the ShopVac, rather than having to be set up at the wall switch only.  

I've been getting emails from them for several years now, and they have some of the nicest techniques for all types of tool users.  If you are one such individual, you can sign up for them on the same page where the video is located.  Its well worth it.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#14
Here's my compound miter saw setup, which is on my sawhorse adaptation.  And here is the decking which I just finished.  


http://ai-jane.org/bb/attachment.php?aid=109

I'm still not all that happy with the dust collection.  It picks up most of the debris, but still leaves a lot of sawdust lying around.  I'm going to have to either make the setup a little larger, so as to accommodate a larger vacuum, or make a catcher chamber on the back of the saw top. 


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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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