Saturday, August 15, 2015

Deck Day!

Today was an excellent day - my parents came up to visit me, and to help me build a new deck off the back of my house. For some reference, here are a couple of “before” shots from a couple of years ago – when I first bought the house:
Post carpet removal.  Pre Power Washing to remove
the red paint. Pre window and new back door.

The new window and door in place.
There was indoor/outdoor carpet on the brownish-red painted concrete pad.  A couple of steps to the ground and that was really it… I removed the carpet.  I power-washed off the brownish-red paint.

Today, my parents helped me build a small (8’ by 8’) cedar deck. The materials were pretty simple, to be honest.  I reclaimed all of the 2”x6” joists that were originally in the living room (well OK, the contractors reclaimed them for me) and in advance of today’s efforts, I bought some concrete pier-post blocks (and was also given some by an old pal from high school – thanks Frank!) and some galvanized finishing nails. 

When my parents arrived, Dad and I moved some of the blocks around in order to facilitate building the initial box and then adding the inner beams to be the actual joists for the deck. This deck is “floating” – what I mean by that is that it is essentially a platform that is not attached to the house in any way. 

Initial framing done

Look at the glory of this frame!

Pier blocks all in place, frame securely held.
This baby is not going ANYWHERE!

Once we had the platform constructed and in place, Dad and I went over to Slegg Lumber and picked up the 2”x6” cedar planks that would become the deck itself.  We all went into Courtenay to have a yummy lunch at the Atlas CafĂ©.  After lunch, we placed pieces of tar paper under the beams but on top of the joists to help make the fir last a little longer) and then the cedar the planks were laid in place (and then nailed in) and then Dad routered the plank ends to ensure they wouldn’t fray off or catch an unsuspecting person (ok, it is me – I walk into things and this prevents me from getting cedar slivers in my legs) as they walk past.

Tar papered joists, spacing out and nailing the
cedar planks in place.
When all was said and done, we put my little bistro table and chairs in place and sat and had a cold cider and rest on my new deck.

Isn't it pretty?

I still have work to do on it.  I need to go through and nail down into all of the joists – we tacked each plank on and after Mum & Dad went home, I went around the outside edges and put in the second nails in all of the ends – but there should be 2 nails in each beam at each joist – and so I will still have a fair amount of nailing ahead of me. In addition, I will need to give it a very light sanding (just to smooth out any rough patches) and then stain it in order to keep the wood protected.  In addition, I will need to pick up some pot feet so that I can put my herb planters onto the deck and ensure that I don’t; cause the beams underneath to rot out.

After I had some dinner, I started canning.  I had enough ripe tomatoes to do another 8 jars of tomato sauce – to which I added a couple of jalapeno peppers to give it a little bite.  Mum brought a bag of peppers up for me (and some gloves to handle them with) for pickling and cooking with. I also got the kitchen ready for tomorrow’s canning exercises – the peaches I ordered (4 cases of them!) arrived yesterday and I need to spend the day tomorrow prepping things and then canning.  I am SO glad I picked up the pressure canner last weekend – it allows me to do 16 pint jars at a time (instead of the 8 that the water-bath canner allows) and this should help me get through those cases of peaches in record time. 

Before I can really get going on the canning, though, I need to go into town and pick up a few supplies.  Honey… and some spices… I’m going to try making a batch of spiced peaches as well!

With love across the waters…

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