Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hit the deck!

 As I mentioned in the my Summer House List, it's the last days of our giant deck.  It was poorly structured and joist hangers started failing.  You can read the specifics in that big ol' list.

I so wish it was savable.  The setup was great.  Big deck for furniture, the grill was right outside the kitchen, the awning covered a large area for eating, and the deck wrapped the pool.  What more could we want?  Well nothing really.... and well.... the size was part of the issue. 


There are so many things that needed to be repaired, there was so much square footage, and many of the failures were because the foundation was poor.  It didn't seem worth keeping, especially since we probably only have about 2-3 more years until the decking would need replacing.

So, down it goes.  We went super conservatively with the removal.  The corner of the house was so unsupported that it was hard to predict what could cause a collapse.  Even having just some shifting could cause damage to the house, pool, or our new chimney.

First we removed a bunch of deck boards from the side of the house.  Seeing Jon with a drill was a little funny.  We probably only got out 5 screws total.  The rest of the attemps just breaking the head of screws. It helped though.

We found having two people, each with a crowbar, pulling on both sides of the boar at the support joist was best.  It caused less splitting and the nails/screws gave more easily.


Once we got a large section of deck done, we took down the side rails and stairs. There was some 4x4 bracing on the outside, clearly put on later.


Whatever this was, clearly wasn't going to hold.  Once that bracing was taken off (thank goodness it was on), Jon had no problem tackling the original structure.








Once the railing was down, we just had simple supports to get out.  They were really easy to get out as most of the screws were basically rusty wire.




 At this point, we could get a closer investigation of some of my concerns.  Joist hangers barley hanging on.

Crooked very very very structural pole. I can't emphasize how much weight this post was bearing, and it became more and more clear as we went on.


One thing that caught me by surprise was the pattern I saw as we took down the hangers.  See how the joist hangers go from very bad to completely normal looking ? The first one was the one that was dangling in the picture I took earlier, and the last one I could actually take off by unscrewing the very normal looking screws.


The same pattern was repeated on the other side, but the damage was less severe.



That's the point when I realized that while the deck's construction was poor, it was not the reason we were tearing it down... this year at least.  Guess what was around the corner where that joist hanger failed?

This guy.

Yeah, this one.


So not only had the power heater vent, which should have never been under a deck, been causing exhaust in our house... and on the deck....  plus off and on heat/hot water troubles since we bought the house... it was also actually the culprit with all the rusted joist hangers. Yay.

In the vent's defense, it was there first.  Some idiot to build a giant deck over it.  If you're contemplating it.  Don't do it.  Don't.  Put down the hammer, and call a chimney company.

So thankful for this guy.

Anyway, back to the deck.  Another concern of ours was the lack of flashing next to the house.  We did find a fair amount of rot, mold and carpenter ant damage.  Thankfully though, it was almost all contained to the sheathing, and the very important header joist (holding our kitchen floor joists up) was almost completely unscathed. We were worried, but all is fine.


Rot and mold...
 Carpenter ant damage.

Once the side was down, we started on the pool side.  First up, we pulled down the railing (and any decking in the way).

Then Jon started cutting the boards section by section.  Despite my fears using with Jon using a circular saw where we probably should have been using a reciprocating saw, it was going smoothly.

Section by section...

Piece by piece...

Until it was all gone!  Thankful no injuries to my hubby, and no damage to our pool!

Finally, our skimmer was free and the deck was no longer pressing on it!


While Jon was working on the pool sections, I was pulling up more decking. This here is the section right next to a joist.


Actually, it's the joist that I've mentioned a few times.  The one that's carrying a whole lot of load, but is actually unattached at the house side.  The one that the crooked support is under. I had to be very careful prying this board up, as it was helping hold that section on.  I did accidentally pry too hard and make that corner section drop a few inches.  While I was on it.  Pregnant ladies can move fast when need be.

Anyway, one that board was gone, it was only the very rusted joist hangers (on on side 3 were already off), and the double joist header (Jon's prepping it for cutting) holding it on.


And with a little prodding... okay, kicking...  it fell over. It did start swinging towards the pool, but we were able to adjust it's path a little.

No Mom, the kids weren't on it when it was falling.  They were actually recording it on video for us :D

We did have to keep ol' crooked support (Jon's standing next to it), as it was still holding up the other side of the deck.

Yep.  Der's yer problem.


That about wraps it up for that Saturday's worth of work.  So painful to be destroying that much money and material.  Plus, we have to figure out how to rid ourselves of the old deck boards, without costing a fortune.


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