Do I sound like a broken record yet? We should have done this a long time ago.
On his initial survey, Dan (the contractor) took one look at the deck in back and declared, “I’d get rid of it.” The wood was bad, and over the years, the surface had settled in the middle. We agreed, but he couldn’t recommend what to do in its place until he literally saw the lay of the land underneath. If at all possible, we wanted to avoid the expense of completely replacing the deck (and so did he).
Of all the projects undertaken (and to be undertaken), this deck replacement stressed me the most. I had no idea what he would recommend, how much it would cost, or what it would look like. I put a guesstimate in my budget spreadsheet, but who knew?
|Demolishing the deck.|
Gary and Rueben quickly mowed through the wood (making a significant amount of racket in the process with their crowbars, circular saws, and sledgehammers; and making for a very nervous beagle). The hardest work was removing the concrete feet at ground level. Fortunately, no bodies (or buried treasure for that matter) were discovered; only random bits of flotsam like a garden glove or hose quick release.
Dan recommended leveling the area as much as possible, then installing gravel to keep the dirt from washing away. (During a good rain, water flows from left to right, then out to the front yard, so loose dirt would all wash away pronto. I’ve tried laying mulch back there before, only to see it all flow out under the fence at the next rain.) He also suggested landscape fabric underneath to keep down weeds, and a garden border at the two edges to further help keep everything together.
|The old deck and its replacement in progress|
Best news: the cost was lower than expected and feared! Huge relief.
|They removed a rail to let gravity do the work (note the open back gate)|
The very next day, the guys arrived with wood, gravel, Quik-Crete, landscape fabric, flagstones, and garden border. They hauled in the gravel from the gate to the back alley (did you even know we had a gate back there?) and dumped it over the railroad ties onto the surface below. They also installed a very sturdy set of steps from the porch to the ground. Plus, they laid (and countersunk) some flagstones to make a path.
|The beautiful results|
We are thrilled with the result. (Katie the Beagle was snooting around so much that her nose was white.) It’s easy to walk on, and (bonus!) the grill no longer sits on a wood surface. Katie can easily hop off the porch onto the ground with little trouble (for whatever reason, she won’t use the stairs). The ice cream table and chairs now on the porch are (obviously) a work in progress but will look fabulous when done. And I promise we’ll move the firepit away from the house while in use.
Next up: sweat equity while we wait for Phase II (interior painting), to begin after Thanksgiving.