Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Deck Removal

In the winter of 2005 Jim and I designed a 16 by 14 foot wood deck for the back of our house that would span the width of the back porch and step down to a stone patio off to the right.

There would be plenty of room for a table and chairs and umbrella. We drew it all out on graph paper and hired a contractor.

The builder came in the summer of 2006, went to pull the building permit, and to everyone's bafflement, discovered that the back corner of our house is smack on the building line even though the house sits on over half an acre, with tons of room to spare on all other sides.

But at this corner there was no room to put in a structure without going through a zoning variance and all that that would entail. So the deck got chopped in half.

Where the steps go down to gravel there was supposed to be the entire upper deck area. Instead, a railing cuts the space in half and the useless gravel landing area is all that we could install on that side. The remaining deck area was reduced to a size too cramped for a table and chairs.

I could fit a couple patio chairs on the deck and sit up there, but it was an awkward space that felt like being in a playpen with railings around such a small enclosure. Eventually I just used it for pots -- a staging area as you walked by to the patio below. Nice enough in summer.

The orange-brown stain peeled off in patches as soon as it was applied. The cedar was too raw, or perhaps we applied it wrong or maybe this deck was just doomed in all ways. We tried to sand it, but in the end we lived with the mottled orange remnants of stain on the step risers and railings. It didn't bother the photographer who set up a hummingbird blind on a stool on the deck.

But after 10 years the cedar has rotted in a few places and we can't now bring ourselves to repair something we wished had never been built. So we decided to take it down.

The doomed, awkward, useless, peeling, mottled, rotting natural cedar deck will be replaced with stairs made of composite material. The stairs will be wide. They will step down to the stone patio, in something like this design:

Inspiration photo, don't know now where I got it

Without the prow of that half-size deck jutting out into the patio, the stone paver area below will now be bigger, giving us more open space at the bottom of the new steps. An improvement all around.

Yesterday they came and removed the old deck. Stay tuned for the "after" pictures.

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