Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Giant Deck and Other Projects

I usually don't write much about Chris. Mostly it's because he spent the entire year deployed. But now that he's back, he's catching up on a whole lot of different house projects. Ah, home, sweet home!

The two major things going on are the yard and the deck. First, I'm going to show you the yard project. Basically, I  we decided to move the veggie garden from the front yard into the side yard. A couple of years ago we (and now I do mean "we") cleared the area of all the overgrown bushes and ivy and covered with black plastic (big mistake). So all we needed to do now was to get rid of weeds torn plastic, break the heavy clay soil and clear it off as many roots and rocks as possible. 

Oh, and also, we Chris needed to tear down the old rusted through metal shed (see what's left of it laying on the ground?). Which meant he had to drag all the rotten and rusty junk out of it first. Only after all this prep could he start building new raised beds.

But after the first two beds were built, we had to hit the pause button on this project. That's because we decided to cut down a maple tree (shucks, wish it was pine). It was a good tree, but it was shading a large part of the garden and, more importantly, leaning over the fence into the neighbor's yard. So we decided to be nice and neighborly and take care of this issue. 

Since the tree cutting company had a 2-week lead time, Chris decided to start on the mega project of refinishing the deck. This project has been at least 5 years overdue. But you see, we have a huge deck - 3 levels (used to be 4, but we tore one down 'cause it was built right on the ground and rotted through by the time we bought the house). The lowest quote we ever got for refinishing the deck was $2500 + materials. 
Actually, the deck looked so ugly that I thought there was not a chance it'd ever look good again. I thought we'd need a new deck altogether. Good thing I have my hubby who's not as panicky about things. When faced with a challenge, he usually reaches for the nearest instrument of destruction - a hammer, a chainsaw, a power washer - and gets right to work.

And that's exactly what he did this time around. First, he removed the horrible lattice and sanded the railing all around. We figured, trying to sand all those 2x2s was too much of a pain in the neck. It was easier (and saner) to just replace them with the new ones. Luckily, whoever built our deck, had no idea about building codes. So they spaced those 2x2s too far apart and, as we were told, not safe for children. Now that our child is old enough to know better, we had a lot fewer 2x2s to replace. Hooray for incompetent builders!

The belt sander did a terrific job on the railings. But we needed something bigger and better for the deck floors. Turns out, you can't use regular big floor sander on a deck. Something about the nails or whatever. Instead, we had to rent a power washer. Which was a bit of an issue 'cause you know how little our car is. There was no way a power washer could fit in the trunk. Since the rental place is within walking distance from us, Chris considered walking the washer to the house or, better yet, I'd drive and he'd pull the washer alongside the car. For some reason the rental place folks didn't like this plan. Instead, they decided to deliver the washer themselves. Whatever... 

Power washing must be a whole lot of fun... for guys. I mean, I don't care for it one way or another. But both Chris and M were thrilled. What's the big attraction? Beats me. But it was pretty cool to watch them work. Especially Chris since M left after just a few minutes and went back to his toys.

Anywho, the washer was excellent. Turns out, our deck wasn't rotten after all. It was just incredibly dirty. Once all that grime was taken care of, we had a very nice red oak deck. Who knew?! 

Then we had to wait for the deck to dry so Chris could put stain on it. So we spent a lot of time looking at different stains. Unlike paints, stains don't have attractive names. So I chose the one that sounded the prettiest, Cinnamon. Makes you think of all the wonderfully delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners out on the finished deck. And the picture in the brochure looked nice too.

But stains are trickier than paints. Turns out, they look different on different wood. So this one had a whole lot of red in it to M's delight. I'm ok with it 'cause you know, it's still a ton better than the old look. 

It took Chris more than a week to finish staining the deck. Mostly because all of a sudden the weather turned rainy. And the local weather forecast tends to predict just the opposite of what the weather is really like. But eventually the deck was finished with two coats of stain. And it looks wonderful and amazing and unrecognizable! It better, I say, 'cause it took 5 gallons of stain. We had to go to Lowe's for more stain like 3 times. The guy at the paint counter must've thought we have no idea how to calculate the area; we do, but our deck soaks it all up. 

But again, it looks amazing! Come check it out if you're in the area. Oh, and if you have an old crummy deck, Chris says he'll help you get it in tip-top shape... at a competitive price. 

Except right now he's a bit busy with the veg garden again. The tree cutting company came out and cut down the maple. We are keeping the logs for yet another project (more on this when it actually happens, but it'll be very handsome!) The final raised bed should be finished in a day or two. Then - the new compost bin and a gravel path along the veg garden. I'll post pictures as soon as that's done.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is a major project to undertake in late fall. You have a very handy husband!