Alright alright, I finally have pictures of the new railing up. Keep in mind, though, that there’s still work to be done. First, there’s a small rail that I need to install on the upper tier near the window well. Second, I need to install something in front of the window well on the lower tier (probably a railing, maybe a bench or something). Third, the stair to the ground still needs to be built. However, much of that will probably be put off for a week or two… I really need a break.
So, here we go:
As you can see, I’ve got the railing and the stair between the two levels completed. Looks pretty nice, if you ask me. ;)
Okay, so we were dumb. We decided to lay down our topsoil and then wait months and months before getting our final grade approval, after which we could look toward planting a lawn. Well, it turns out that the local flora absolutely love fresh black dirt, and the result was a veritable forest, nay, jungle of weeds.
The problem is, tomorrow we are supposed to have some inspector come to verify our final grade. And I can only assume that the poor sucker will want to, you know, be able to see the ground. So, I decided it was time to weed. Two and a half hours later, give or take, I was done, and the result was this:
Notice the barbecue, which I placed beside the pile for reference (note, the pile is more oblong than round, so you’re seeing the broadside in that photo).
The weeds were so bad that the process basically involved blindly grabbing and pulling at whatever I could find. Which is, coincidentally, very similar to one of the basic forms in my highly refined street fighting technique (the other being the Homer Simpson form… you know, crying like a little baby until your opponent turns away in disgust, at which point you kick some back!).
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an oversized miter saw with which to cut my 4x4 posts. Like most DIYers, I’m limited to a circular saw for larger scale cuts, but such a saw can only hit around 2 3/4” depth. Thus, the general approach I’ve used in the past is to mark my cut on both sides of the 4x4, then cut one side, flip, and cut the other. However, this can often produce ridges because the second cut isn’t perfectly aligned with the first. Fortunately, during my work on our deck railing, I came up with a procedure that produces virtually flawless 4x4 cuts with only a circular saw and a hand saw. The steps are as follows:
- Mark your cut and then use the circular saw to cut the one side to the saw’s maximum depth.
- Rotate the piece toward you one quarter turn.
- Insert the saw blade into the half-cut line and complete the cut.
- Using the hand saw, cut out the remaining material.
Voila! Faster and more accurate than hand cutting the whole thing, but without the nasty flaws of the standard cut-flip-cut procedure.
Yeah, I know, this is probably obvious stuff, but for me, this is brilliant! :)
Anyway, back to work…
It never ends. First it’s the damn beam being off. Then it’s all these building code issues. Now, after discussions with Chris, who was told by a Rona employeee that the builder almost certainly didn’t bolt his ledger to the house, and instead only nailed it, I’ve quickly realized that my own ledger board is only nailed to the house! ARGH!
So now what? You guessed it… I have to remove the deck boards closest to the house, drill holes and install lag screws or bolts, all of which is going to be that much more difficult because the damn joists and decking are in place. And who knows if they installed flashing (or something equivalent to stave off water). I sure hope they did, ‘cuz it’s too late now…
Well, I’ve confirmed that there is top flashing on the ledger board, there’s just no back flashing. Hopefully that’s sufficient in these parts.
Incidentally, it looks like this is a job I can safely do now. From what I can tell, the goal is to drill holes through the ledger board and into the house band board (the outside-most board that makes up the flooring). Then, drive through carriage bolts and secure with washers and nuts.
Actually, scratch that, I’m just going to use Lag Screws… less work than bolts, and sufficiently strong for my purposes.