grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Thursday, May 31, 2012

01-31MAY12 - Sultan, WA (let's build a deck or 2)


On Wednesday, 02MAY, we headed to Camping World in the RV to address a water “leak” issue with our slide. A couple of times in the last year we have brought the slide in after a rain storm, to end up having a major deluge of water in the RV. Apparently rain has found a way to penetrate the slide cover (ten year old rubberized fabric that has worn thin) & then make it passed the slide seal (ten year old rubber gaskets now dry with age). Unfortunately they did not have all the parts on hand; so we made an appointment for 16MAY, so they could order parts. Since we were in the area, we then headed to Angel of the Winds Casino for a little recreational gambling & to spend the night.

On 04MAY (May the 4th be with you! Get it?) we were treated to a pretty good hail storm that dumped over an inch of quarter inch hail on the ground, that didn’t melt for over an hour. Another example of the iffy nature of spring weather in the Pacific NW.

Every year during our stay in the Pacific NW it seems we are involved in some major project involving our property; from clearing the land, drilling a well, & last year building a house. This year we decided to build two decks on the house. Our intention was to build a 16ft by 40ft deck on the front of the house by the front door & dining room sliding door, & a 16ft by 32ft deck on the end of the house by the living room sliding door.

Realizing this was a major project, we decided to get bids from contractors. The first bid was “a jaw dropper” to say the least! We then tried to getting someone to just attach the ledger boards to the house & then install the footings level to the ledger boards. We would then install the joists & decking ourselves. The one contractor that said he would do it this way eventually called back after a week & said he really wasn’t interested. So on Saturday, 05MAY, we attended a free deck building course at a local lumber yard that lasted all morning.

The next day we started on the smaller of the two decks, which we decided to reduce to 16’ by 16’, outside the living room sliding door. We decided to call this deck our Small Test Deck (that’s right our “STD”). The day was spent digging four footing holes & pouring concrete in the holes for the pre-cast concrete pier blocks to set on.

Also, during this same time Dan continued adding shelving to the garage, & installing two RV receptacles on the outside of the garage. One was rated at 50 amps & the other at 30 amps (pictured in our last BLOG). On 07MAY we received our final electric inspection on the RV plugs. So now those of you who have an RV & want to visit, can have electric & water hook-ups. We’re working on the sewage connection. 

Our order for pressure treated lumber arrived on 10MAY, & the kiln dried cedar arrived on 11MAY. Note – we looked at the many different types of manmade decking material; but the cost was so much more that cedar, that we couldn’t justify the expense. So on Mother’s Day weekend we commenced construction of our STD. Saturday, 12MAY, we got the ledger board hung & then hung the joists. There was one minor accident when someone (who will go unnamed) fired the nail gun into their partner. As Monty Python’s Black Knight said - it was only a flesh wound. Sunday we began the decking, which was a slow & hot process, & only managed to get half of deck boards down. Each deck board (51 total) needed 26 nails. Thank goodness for the nail gun. We wrapped-up the STD on Monday morning; we were exhausted but very happy with the result.

Total Materials:
>one 4”x6”x16’ pressure treated beam (112 lbs)
>sixteen 2”x10”x16’ pressure treated joists (90 lbs each)
>four 1”x6”x16” kiln dried cedar deck boards
>fifty-one 1”x4”x16” kiln dried cedar deck boards
>four 80 lb bags of concrete
>four pre-cast concrete pier blocks
>fifteen joist hangers
>fifteen joist to beam brackets
>1326 deck nails driven by nail gun
>302 hand driven 10 penny nails
>110 stainless steel screws
>75 screws
>28 half inch bolts w/washers & nuts
>one large bandaid

Although we were happy with the results of the STD; we realized that to insure the big deck (16’ by 40’) turned out right, we needed to make sure the “foundation” was better than what we did on the STD. Coincidently we had just received an e-mail from the first contractor with a lower bid for both decks (still pretty high to us). Dan responded by telling him that we had finished small deck ourselves, & were only interested in someone to dig footings for big deck, poor concrete footings, install pier blocks, & install deck beams; all being level. Amazingly the contractor came back with a reasonable price that included a concrete patio connecting the two decks.

16MAY, Wednesday, the contractor started on the front deck & patio. If you remember from the start of this BLOG we had an appointment at Camping World on the very same day for repairs. So Dan drove the RV to Camping World for the awning/slide repair; while Corrie supervised the contractor. The contractor wanted to finish everything on Thursday, but we hadn’t purchased the necessary materials. The RV repair took most of the day & then Dan had to rush to the lumber yard to get six 4” by 6” by 16’ beams for the contractor, then off to Lowes to get twenty concrete piers. Thursday morning the contractor showed up early (along with the concrete truck) to finish the concrete patio, the footings, & install the beams.     

On 24MAY the pressure treated lumber & kiln dried cedar was delivered for the large deck. For the next few days we worked between rain showers to get the joists installed, so we could begin decking. The weather wasn’t terrible, but every time we set up all the power tools & commenced work along would come a rain shower & we would cover everything & head indoors. Only to have the sun come out in less than an hour. In spite of the weather we finished the deck foundation on 27MAY; we then spent 28/29MAY installing trim boards around the edges, & deck boards in middle section of the deck. One major change from the STD was our decision to use “hidden” fasteners for the deck boards rather than firing in very visible nails from a nail gun (safer too!). We had seen many hidden fastener systems previously but found them complicated, or expensive, or both. There is a new product called Camo that we are using & have been very satisfied so far.  

We would have continued working on the deck but we needed to prepare the RV for a trip to Brandon, Manitoba, for Corrie’s nephew’s wedding (Jason son of her brother, Ed). So we spent 30/31MAY getting the RV ready, including moving our recently purchased Sleep Number mattress from the house into the RV. On the last day of May Dan discovered our water treatment system flashing an error code! We decided to secure the power to the system & deal with the problem on our return.