Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve done an update on how the deck is going. It’s been mostly because I have spent all my time actually working on the deck and not blogging about it!
Anyway, I have done a lot, but not taken heaps of photos, but I’ll bring you up to date.
Last I had the front joists and bearers up and finished. The next section is the rear joists and bearers. This will be slightly different because I want to build a wall around the back of the deck to act as a sort of screen and to level up the yard a little. Although this is going to prove to be an expensive exercise, I think it’s going to be worth it in the long run.
This does mean that the uprights are going to be a lot taller than the front joists though. But they will be secured in the same way. I started by concreting in the stirrups for the post supports. I did this just before going on holidays for two weeks to allow them heaps of time to set.
These are basically just digging a hole and filling it with concrete. I did also border them with big rocks so that the concrete would stay within a certain size and hopefully bond a bit with the rocks adding extra strength. Since the deck frame will hold the joists in place, I don’t need to go overboard on the concreting, but it needs to be able to support them.
I did the above along the two walls (back and side) and tried to stagger them in between the existing joists so that the support of the frame would be better. I also needed to avoid the trees I want to keep growing through the deck. The idea is to run the bearer along the fence line so that the trees will be bordered by the deck and the support will still be there.
Above is the back fence – the side fence is below. The challenge with the side fence was to ensure the holes were deep enough that once the joist was bolted in place, it still had enough space to be able to secure the bearers to the posts. This was a little of a mission since the yard slopes a lot. Also, this was complicated by the fact that I need to run the bearers on their side, not on top of the joists like the front rail. The reason for this is that the joists need to be quite high. This also means that the bearers will be wider and need more room and also need to go behind trees.
All in all, a really big challenge considering that all I have to go on at this stage is the holes I’ll digging in the ground! I’ll dig the holes, fill them with cement and stick the stirrups in. Hopefully they will work out okay. I’ve thought a lot about where they need to go, but I won’t know how well I’ve done until I put the actual posts in…
Oh, while I think about it, there was one thing that made it a little easier to work out how the level will work. I put a long beam of timber across from the front rail to where I was digging the hole to see where level would be (I put a spirit level on top of the beam). This helped to work out how deep I would have to dig. I would put the stirrup in and then make sure that the top of the stirrup was below the level of the front rail.
And another thing – when I actually concreted the stirrup in, I tried to ensure it was aligned with the back fence, but I also sat the spirit level on top of the stirrup to try to get it level in the concrete before the concrete set. I used the 14 day curing stuff, so I had time to move things a little. That seemed to work out okay.