Building an addition to my deck

I remember once – a very long time ago – Matt told me that “Steve does everything around here”. At the time that hurt because I knew it wasn’t true. Well, seems I’m proving it isn’t true now. So far since Steve and I split, I’ve replaced all of the plumbing for the waterfall – including a new pump as Steve went cheap on the original pump and it died within two years. The new pump is very high quality and I replaced all of the plumbing with 2″ pipes so the waterfall is much more spectacular. Here’s a recent pic.


I am finally building the addition to my deck. You’ll recall about two years ago I found a wonderful french door – the perfect size – for my dining room. It came from a wine cellar of an old Victorian house in Portland. Anyway – I put that in where a window was and the door has led nowhere since. I have had plans to build the deck addition for a while now but with the roof leak and all, other projects always seemed to come first.

Anyway – now is the time so I will document it all here. Hopefully when I’m dead and gone my sons will know just how capable their mother was. The railing on the original deck will come down and I’ll be painting all of it when done to match the house. I hate having to paint the deck but can’t afford to replace all of it. It will be beautiful when finished.



August 13, 2007

After getting the deck addition all framed out – I discovered it wasn’t quite as level as I had thought. I had been making sure everything was level going from east to west but it was the north to south direction I neglected.

Of course this was noticeable when the northern most end of the new addition was about 4.5 inches above the existing deck and the end closest to the house was about 1.5 inches. Now 3 inches doesn’t sound like a lot but with the new deck addition being built right next to the existing deck – it was definitely noticeable.

After nursing my sore hands last night, I was talking with Barbara – this really cool lady I work with – and she suggested using a car jack to lift the supports that needed to be leveled.

Brilliant! Bought a car jack for $29 on the way home tonight and leveled everything really nice.

Making progress….. slowly but surely.

August 19, 2007

Someone I deeply admire described me as “irascible” recently – of course I had to look that up in the dictionary (you see – he’s VERY smart).

(of a person) easily made angry.

• characterized by or arising from anger : their rebukes got progressively more irascible.

I’m sure my sons would agree!

And believe it or not – this DOES relate to my deck addition project. You’ll recall that a few years ago, my oldest son made a comment about “Steve” (my ex-SO) doing everything around here. It seems to me it is that “irascible” part of me that gets motivated for house projects like this.

Progress . I’ve found that I’ve had to make some adjustments along the way with respect to the foundation. Needed more support right against the wall.


I laid all of the lumber out first – needed to be sure I had estimated right and wanted to be sure I understood where any issues would be. This was a good idea. I ended up having to buy more so that where I had to seam was minimal and I could stagger it such that it didn’t result in a very visual line.

This image is taken from the upper side of the waterfall.


I am cutting the boards to fit snuggly against the wall, but leaving the other side as is until I’m finished. Then I will use my circular saw to trim the edge connecting to the old deck when I’m finished.


It is also a good thing I chose to use deck screws instead of nails as I’ve had to remove boards and make some corrections. The screws made it easier.

An interesting ‘unintended consequence’ of this deck addition is the additional seating created by building it flush with the wall. I went out at night and found that the height of the deck results in perfect seating on the wall.


August 26, 2007

I’ve learned so much about myself during this project.

First, I’m not much for plotting and planning things out. I’ve built it pretty much step-by-step and have made adjustments as I’ve had to. Now this seems to be related to how I process information. I simply can’t “visualize” a project like this in my head – I have to literally lay it out to figure out how it will go together and where the bugs are going to be. Also, this whole deck addition idea came about because I was sick and tired of not being able to use the door and I was going to build some steps. Well…. as I was out there with the step forms from the Home Depot store, I got to see how much better it would be to have a deck addition.

Guess that means I would not have made a good architect, huh?

Anyway…. I ‘finished’ what I originally started and then when examining my work, I realized how cool it would be to wrap it around the side of the house a bit. So that’s what I started on today. Here’s a few pics of today’s work.


You can see the frame and where I’ve finished laying out the deck boards on the side.


Here’s a good view of the side area – it will be pretty cool to be able to wash those windows without a ladder!


You can also see where I’ve finished off the edge that joins the old deck.

And wow…. my poor hands – especially the right one that was injured last year in the motorcycle accident. I wore the brace the hand surgeon gave me all day today which has helped relieve some of the pain. I am going to make an appointment with the hand surgeon again though – it needs to be fixed if possible.

Sept 1, 2007

I finished laying the new decking on the side of the house and replaced 4 existing deck planks that had rotted.

I’ve decided to sand the existing painted deck and then stain it all the same color – it will be the best way to avoid painting and to get it to look like one big deck.

But wow…. bought a belt sander (nice smaller one which is perfect for these sore hands) and I’ve completely sanded five of the 12 ft deck planks so far. I also had to buy a small rotary sander to get the paint off in between the deck boards. What a job this will be.

I’ll take some pics tomorrow and upload them. If I live through this, it will look very nice when finished.

September 2, 2007

In sanding down the paint on the original deck, I realized I needed to replace 13 more planks.

ugh…… this deck project has taken on a life of it’s own.

September 3, 2007

As usual, the deck addition project has taken on a life of its own. The old part of the deck was painted when I bought the house and I painted it twice. So I started sanding the old deck and in the course of doing that, found a number of planks that needed to be replaced. In these AM pics, you can see the painted planks vs the replacements. The lighter wood color are the planks that I sanded.



I also turned over a couple of planks as the other side was not painted and in good shape. Then the tiny belt the drives the belt sander broke (ordered a replacement but won’t be here for a week or so). I started to use the orbital sander but wow…. my hands hurt something fierce about 4:30 PM. So I counted the remaining planks and just went and bought more. Installed six of them in an hour.

Here’s what it looked like at the end of today.


Now I’m exhausted and my hands hurt.

And oh yea, I was using my saw to remove old nails and slipped and jabbed my shin with the saw – nice painful hole in my leg now.

I’ll be glad when this project is done.

I didn’t get an opportunity to take any more pics today – I will tomorrow for sure.

September 9, 2007

Wow…… my whole body feels like it has been through a war.

After coarse sanding yesterday and then pressure washing it all, I sanded one more time with a finer sandpaper (“80” grit). Took almost all day to sand it but finally at 4 PM I was ready to put the redwood stain on.

Here’s a pic this AM. This is after the coarse sanding and pressure washing.


Now because of the use of both old and new wood, I went with a solid redwood stain. Here’s a pic at the end of the day today.


Still lots to do before winter. Have to get the two sets of stairs installed. Am thinking about going with wrought iron for the french door step. Also have to touch up the house paint and figure out how to make the area between the window and the deck on the side extension look nice.

September 15, 2007

Wow….. I’m amazed I did this in one day. Building stairs is said to be a challenge, even for carpenters. They must be right, or maybe it’s my math skills or spatial visualization handicap…… Anyway….. here are pics of the building process (with printed instructions front and center!) and then one after paint. I painted them the color of the house trim.




September 22, 2007

I found a nine piece set of teak patio furniture on craigslist for a great price. It had weathered but if you know teak, it is the best and cleans up very, very nicely.

There’s a beautiful oval table with a fold out extension. There are six reclining chairs, two steamer lounges and two side tables.

To give you an idea of what a glutton for punishment I am, after building the deck addition, staining 3 coats of stain, and building steps, I am now restoring the teak furniture to it’s original luster.

Here’s a chair before I washed it.

I washed everything first. Here’s a chair that has been washed.

Of course I did my homework and decided to use SeaFin Teak Oil to restore it. Here’s a chair that has been washed, sanded and one coat of the SeaFin Teak Oil.

And here’s a pic of the whole set. Everything but one chair has been washed, and one of the chairs has one coat of SeaFin Teak Oil. The other two chairs not in the photo are in my dining room and now have three coats of Teak Oil. Wow… they are beautiful!

And since it is the end of summer here, Rich’s had a 20% off sale on umbrellas so I bought one with built in lights. Here’s a pic I took tonight.

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