Okay, now that the stirrups are all concreted in, it’s time to build the back rail.
The idea is that the deck will have a wall around it so that it kind of frames the back yard and makes it look level. It also means that the ugly fence won’t be seen and it will look nice and modern. However, to do this brings it’s own challenges.
Firstly, this means that it’s not going to be like the front rail where I just put the bearers on top of the joists – the back having a wall means that there will need to be a higher post and therefore the bearer will need to be set into the post, not on top of it.
The biggest challenge then is making sure that the deck is level. How high up the post will determine how level the deck is and it’s hard to just measure up and hope for the best. It also means that each post has to be level on both sides as well.
To meet this challenge, I decided it would be better to set the deck up first and make sure everything is level. From there I can recess the bearer and be confident that it will be level. My plan then is to set everything up and screw it in place with decking screws. They hold a lot of weight and will make sure everything is in place. Then I’ll go back and basically redo each post setting it up properly.
I have purchased the posts (90 x 90 treated pine 2.4 high lengths) and a number of bearers (in theory one between each of the posts) and also some of the frame that will be resting on the bearers. For the frame, I’m using 35 x 70 on it’s side so it should have enough strength to support the decking. I’ve also bought a bunch of screws, bolts, and other hardware.
The first step is to drill the posts to set them in place. I’m using the previous method of drilling the two holes, but only bolting one to start off with. I’ll then leave the post with the one bolt until I redo each post with the recess.
Once the post is in place, I then screw the bearer to the outside of it. This is done by placing a piece of timber from the front to the rear rail and putting a spirit level on top. Once the bearer is in place (and I tried to do this between two posts to make it easier), I put two screws in to hold it. Checking again for level, I then made sure the post was level in itself – both left to right and forward to backward. Once I had it right on both sides, I then screwed the frame piece to the side of the post. Not only does this keep the post perfectly level, but also will stop it falling over if there is some sort of storm or something.
Then it was just a matter of going through and doing that all round. I started with the back fence and moved toward the corner. Then I started from the side fence and also moved to the corner. The corner will be the biggest challenge, so I’ve left that to last.
The other problem is also getting around the trees that I want to build the deck around. I’m kind of hoping this all just works out, but I’m assuming that when the bearers are recessed they won’t be in the way. Fingers crossed! For the time being, I’ve just been a little creative and put bearers behind each other where needed.
And with the most of the back fence done, I had to stop there as I ran out of time. However, my next post will continue on to the side fence. Stay tuned to find out how I tackle to problem of the corner in the next exciting instalment of this blog!!! (Okay, it’s not that exciting, but just play along, alright?)