the Deck 2013, part 1

After 18 years of Indiana weather, the original deck on my home was showing its age.  Boards were cracking, splitting and the safety railing was a bit too loose for comfort.  Using what I had learned during the Deck 2010 project, I knew this would be a fun project to replace and expand and would certainly improve our outdoor living space.

The 18 year old weather deck had seen better days...

The 18 year old, well weathered deck had seen better days…

I didn't bother to research what the building codes were 18 years ago, but it appears as of the old ledger board was installed inconsistent with current codes

I didn’t bother to research what the building codes were 18 years ago, but it appears as the old ledger board was installed inconsistent with current codes

The ledger board is a critical component of any deck.  According to our local building inspectors and as due to the number of failed final inspections in our area, the ledger board is required to have it’s own inspection before the deck framing can begin.

The ledger board must be attached directly to the home structure and is not allowed to be attached though the home’s exterior siding.

Older ledger board removed and wood siding cut away

Older ledger board removed and wood siding cut away

Styrofoam insulation has been removed.  Plywood inserts will be cut to fill gaps left from the Styrofoam removal.

Styrofoam insulation has been removed. Plywood inserts will be cut to fill gaps left from the Styrofoam removal.

Note in the picture above, far right side, that once the Styrofoam material was removed I discovered that a small section of the rim joist had been cut away to make room for an interior AC vent.  Luckily none of the prior deck’s lag bolts were installed in that area.  Had they been, there would have been limited or no structure material for the bolts to grab onto; thereby severally weakening the deck structure.

Once patched, I installed the silver drip channel on the bottom, a rubberized self sticking waterproofing membrane, and the brown drip channel on top.  The brown drip channel runs about 4 inches up behind the siding and extends out over the 2×8 ledger board.

This three part waterproofing system practically guarantees no water will get behind the ledger board.

Final ledger board as passed by the code inspectors.

Final ledger board as passed by the code inspectors.

The gap you see between the top of the ledger board and bottom of the siding is where the 5/4 decking material will slide into.

Our local code enforcement department  requires (for decks over 30 inches) a ledger board inspection, a footer inspection before the concrete pour and a final overall inspection.  With the ledger board finished and ready, it was time to move on to the footers.  In central Indiana the required depth of the footer to get below the frost line is 36 inches.  I had 6 holes to drill so I rented a two person gas powered post hole digger.  This was my first time using a portable digger as I had used the auger on the back of a tractor for my Deck 2010 project.  I enlisted the help of a friend who was also new to the process.  We were having some problems getting the auger to say running after starting and it actually took us 15 minutes to figure out that the guy at Home Depot had turned the gas valve off before the rental.   Once the gas was turned back on the engine ran without issues.  The auger worked quite well through the first 24 inches of loose top soil, but once it hit the hard Indiana clay it got much tougher.  You really had to guide the auger while applying your full body weight against the torque of the handles.  Several times the auger bit hit a rock or tree root and the handles could almost knock you down if you weren’t prepared.   It was hard work but we did get the holes drilled in a few hours.  Lesson learned: I wanted 12 inch holes so I rented a 12 inch auger bit.  Sounds reasonable, right?  However there is so much vibration, and back and forth motion while using the auger that you actually end up with a hole closer to 13 or 14 inches.   Not a big deal other than significantly increasing your concrete requirements.  In my case that was an extra ten 60 lbs bags, luckily they were on sale for $1.99.

photo 3

now on to the Deck 2013, part 2

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