punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Deck Saga - Part 1

It's 9:30 and the beginning of the end has started.

When we got this house, we had to have it inspected, of course. One of the "contentions" brought up was that our deck was not up to code. "But," as the inspector said to us, "I will pass it because it was up to code when it was built." He later went on to explain that the model of deck attached to our house needed to have post supports where the deck meets the house. This was a new thing because of several instances where older decks of this design collapsed when too much weight was put on them, folding the people into the house wall as it fell down. So we knew at some point, the deck needed to be brought up to code.

A few years after we got the house, the stair landing started to twist. Stair steps fell out, and the landing sagged. The deck also started to vibrate a lot, and where the flashing meets the house cracked, leaking rainwater into our rec room. After Hurricane Isabel, boards started to come loose, and the rails started to warp. By 2004, we wouldn't let anyone out on the deck except our dogs. We knew it had to be fixed before it collapsed. Even right now, as I watch the guy demolish the deck, as he walks across it, I can see serious sway. One of the people that came out to give us an estimate was a former builder for Sears, and said the deck was definitely the lowest end the Sears would build: a kind of modular construction.

So I got a new job, more money, and we took out an Equity loan to fix the problem. I did a lot of research, and we're getting a Trex deck system, by an authorized Trex builder. Trex is a kind of recycled wood/plastic composite that weathers really well. The structural supports are still pressure treated, but all exposed upper surfaces are Trex. It costs a lot more, like about twice the amount of just pressure treated lumber, but it lasts longer, and will add value to the house.

Because of our yard, the design will stay the same, which is fine, but we added some flare with starbursts at the corners. I have some preliminary pictures up of the whole process on my Flickr account.
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