Archive for July, 2013

the Deck Chair

I have another small project from an exercise buddy!  We workout quite a bit and often follow-up those workouts with drinks on his deck.  He lives on a lake with a great view from his upstairs deck.  There are several nice deck chairs that as I understand were assembled as a family project with each of his young children getting to “name” a chair.  Well one of those chairs, being outside and exposed to the weather, had some typical wood decay and needed repairing.

My first thought was to take it apart, seeing as it was assembled with hex nut bolts.  I would then replace the rotted tendon with new material.  But even after removing a few bolts, those joints were weathered shut and there would be no easy disassembling of this chair….on to plan B.

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Due to the significant amount of wood rot, plan B was to insert two 6 inch lag screw from the back side of the seat support – directly into the chair seat rail.

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These are actually lag bolts/construction screws used to attached deck ledger boards.  They have self tapping “drill-less” threading to better  grab the wood.  They needed to be self tapping because I don’t own a drill bit six inches long.   And without a pilot hole, a regular lag bolt would likely split the wood.

With two of these installed I felt comfortable that the chair was fixed and it would have no problem supporting even the largest individuals.  However I knew that with just a little more repair work  I could make it stronger than when it was new.

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So with some leftover IPE hardwood (pronounced “epay”) from another project I cut a small piece of wood that would be”sistered” to the original chair support with three outdoor rated deck screws.  (IPE is a fantastic outdoor wood. It’s very hard and mostly impervious to the weather, but it’s a bit tough to woodwork with being harder than Teak) and then another screw would be inserted from the back of the chair near the lag bolts.  This piece would in effect transfer some of the chairs’ support load to the back via second piece of the original chair platform, thereby taking some of the load off the lag bolts.

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The end result is that the joint appears to be as strong as ever.  It doesn’t look real pretty but it’s certainly functional.  I think I could jump on the joint and it would not break.  I’ll return it back to its home this afternoon and personally use it to enjoy a post run and swim beverage.  Cheers!

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the Fireplace Remodel, part 2

In the middle of the project, we decided to remove the step hearth in front on the fireplace and place the new hearth near or at the floor level, just peeking out above the carpet.  This meant a little demo in removing the OSB top and 2×10 framing.  It was actually pretty difficult to remove due to the carpenter being a little to overzealous with the nail gun.  But I did get the step torn out (without injury) and all the hidden saw dust vacuumed.  Lucky I had some left over Sheetrock I would need to patch the two openings previously hidden by the step,  you can see those below where the pink insulation is viable.

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I had already covered most of the wall with black roofer felt which is used as a moisture barrier.  The barrier serves a few purposes.  One, to protect the drywall from the moisture in the mortar.  Two, to keep the moisture in the mortar, which slows the curing process, thereby resulting in a stronger finished material.  And lastly, it acts as a means to prevent cracking if there is movement between the stone and the wall due to any temperature and humidity changes within the house.

The next step is to cover the entire wall with metal lath.  I used 2.5lb lath as provided by our stone supplier.   This was a challenging process.  The lath can have a mind of its own and certainly has sharp edges, so be sure to wear leather gloves when handling this material.  Metal snips were used to cut it to size and lath screws were used to attach the lath to the wall studs.  Attach screws every 16 inches on the horizontal plane and every 6 inches on the vertical.  The lath itself should overlap 1 to 2 inches on the horizontal seams and 3 to 4 inches on the vertical.  It took about 3 hours due to the slow process on the trimming to size but it looks pretty good.  Note: there is a correct side of the lath to use away from the wall.  It’s the side where the bottom of the  little diamond shape openings form a little outward cup (presumably to help hold the scratch coat mortar.)

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Applying the scratch coat mortar is skill that starts out poor, but you’ll quickly figure out what you’re doing and then the process will speed up.  The second half of the wall took about half the time as the first.  Mix the mortar following the manufacture instructions (I used a 5 gallon bucket and paddle mixer attached to a heavy-duty 1/2 inch drill), to a consistency of creamy peanut butter and use a flat trowel to apply.  Loading the trowel in the center only helps prevent mortar from dripping out as you push up and around and force the mortar into the lath, covering it to at least a 1/2 inch depth.  Take your time and expect mortar to drip out onto the floor.

IMG_1195Once the mortar has set up a bit (possibly 30 to 60 minutes of drying) use the notched side of a trowel to scratch groves into the mortar.   These little groves will increase the bonding between the stone mortar and the wall mortar/lath.

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I plan to wait 48 hours (due to a busy schedule) and then we’ll have a go at installing the actual stone veneer.  Looking forward to that!

the Fireplace Remodel, part 3….

the Fireplace Remodel, part 1

It is time to get on with the fire-place remodel, even right smack in the middle of the Deck 2013 project.  I figure now that the summer heat and humidity is in full swing, I can take a break from the outdoor deck project and get on with a nice indoor project and enjoy some A/C.  We are tearing out the old ceramic tile fireplace tiles and replacing them with Eldorado Stone Mountain Ledge Panels ( Silverton.) from top to bottom.

Here we have the existing fireplace after removal of the ceramic tile.  The tile was fairly easy to remove with a hammer and a cold chisel. Most of the tiles popped up without cracking.

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It was now on to the removal of the very dated white wooden mantel.  I found the best way to remove this was to first remove the tiny top and bottom trim pieces.  With these gone I could get the crow bar behind the piece of 2×6 lumber the mantel was constructed around.  I few hammer smacks, along with some prying of the crow bar and the entire mantel came off in once piece; in nice enough condition to re-use if necessary.

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With the mantel and tile removed, it was on to the tile mastic glue covering the black metal surrounding the fireplace opening.  I considered the purchase of some type of chemical stripper but in the end settled on an ordinary heat gun.  With a just a few second of directed heat, the glue was somewhat easily scrapped off the metal.  A quick light sanding to remove the remaining glue residue and it was ready to paint (make sure you use paint designed for high heat applications).  Below is the finished opening.  You can still see the glue on the bottom of the fireplace which should be covered by the new stone or easily removed later if necessary.

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On to part 2…