Monday, August 12, 2013

Hoisting Joists: The Deck is Coming Along!

Last week was a pretty intense work week around here for us.  While Jady was at work during the day I would slave away on my own, and then he would come straight home and work with me until well past dinnertime... when we'd invariably order pizza and collapse on the couch.  We knew when we started that this was no ordinary DIY project, but after dragging the thousandth half-ton 16 foot board up to the house I really began to feel it.  In every muscle:)  But hey, no pain no gain, right?

After we finished the last step of setting the perimeter posts in concrete, which secured the outer frame of the deck shape, we moved on to installing some of the joists, the 2x8 rails that span the deck and provide direct support for the surface boards.  We carefully measured and marked where each should attach to the house and to the header (parallel to the house), making sure that the joists were spaced no more than 16" apart-- the last thing we want is a springy feel to the deck when it's finished!  Then we nailed in one of these handy joist hangers at each end and slid them into place.

Knowing that our next step would be digging more post holes down the center line of the deck, we left out several joists at those points to make the digging easier.  Once the holes were ready, we created the beam-- the thick board running underneath the joists down the length of the whole thing-- and attached it to the posts and joists.  At this point the posts are dangling down already in place into the holes, and we just mixed and poured the concrete in around them to set everything. 

Once the concrete had set and the beam was in place and supporting center of the deck, we were able to finish installing the final joists.  Before we began laying the decking itself (what I was most excited about!) we needed to position the 4x4s that would become our railing posts.  Here in these pictures we had screwed them in temporarily, but later we made sure to level them carefully and then installed them with two huge lag bolts each-- so if you notice one or two leaning off to the side, don't worry!  We fixed it later:)

You can really start to get a better idea of what it will look like now, including the angled corner below.  The propped up 2x4s show where the wide stairs down to the yard will go eventually.

More to come!



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