Monday, October 25, 2010

All hands on deck for a major fall project

The photo above is one reason I've been dilatory of late in making posts to the Deerfield Diary.

We have a deck that surrounds the part of our house that the architect chose to call "the retreat." The deck is more than 600 square feet and is (was) made out of California redwood. California redwood is great if it stays in California. When the wood is placed in the humidity of the South, it gives up eventually and rots.

The deck is only 17 years old and I thought I could get by with replacing some boards, but a closer inspection told me that what I needed to do was rip out all the decking and start all over. Thankfully, most of the substructure that is made out of treated pine is in good shape. The tear-out of the decking filled up a 10-foot trailer three times. The tear-out was made additionally challenging because the structure was put together with galvanized ring-shanked nails. I had to use a four-foot crowbar, a cat's paw, a metal-cutting grinder and a chainsaw.

As you can see in the photo, the deck was designed with a radius. If redwood is kerf cut it can be bent into smooth curves. Unfortunately, kerf-cutting decreases the life-span of redwood even further. It only made sense to go back with pressure-treated decking. Unlike most decks, the flooring of this deck uses 2-inch lumber instead of the normal 1-inch. Every piece of decking must be cut on a unique angle. My one class in geometry in 1962 is being severely taxed. I've been working on the deck off and on for a month and I hope to finish before cold weather arrives for good.

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