accidental engineering

The Deckoning (2021)

the deck that came with my house was an undeniable safety hazard; rotting boards and rusty nails abound. my roommate and I decided that, for the good of the people, it needed to be replaced, and quickly! wasting no time, we got to work destroying it, and in short order, it was no more.

panorama of house, with deck removed
mind the gap

unfortunately, that was in 2012. oh well. they say there is no time like the present, and 2021 is the most present sort of present that I know of! so lets do this.

despite soaring lumber prices, the quote for the framing lumber I would need only went up about 15%, so off to The Deck Superstore I went. $1800 dollars later (😱) I had a bunch of pressure treated lumber stuffed in my van.

bunch of wood in the trunk

incredibly, they somehow missed this extremely valuable asset, hidden just beneath the goods!

an ordinary piece of wood

things accomplished on day 1:

  1. aligned post bases with the aid of a long 2x6, and marked anchor holes
  2. drilled 5/8" holes to accept anchor bolt
  3. opened concrete epoxy, and squirted a generous amount into each hole. timer begins..
  4. hammered six of seven concrete anchors into concrete and snugged with impact driver
  5. cried, when the final concrete anchor split the footing in two
  6. drove about 60 miles an hour to Home Depot (acutely aware of the resin and hardener atoms reacting and combining with every passing second)
  7. came home with eight of the largest pipe clamps they had (they weren't large enough, so I planned to combine them in twos for a total of four)
  8. found that the clamps wouldn't cinch down far enough, so got right back into the car and drove about 80 miles an hour to Home Depot for some smaller pipe clamps
  9. at Home Depot, got back to the car and remembered we needed more structural screws, so went back and got those. (counting the trip my mom and girlfriend made for a drill bit we forgot, that makes 3.5 extra Home Depot trips on day one)
  10. came up with this monstrosity in an attempt to get the final anchor to stay put
cracked concrete footing

this was the last footing we poured, and, apropos of nothing, my best guess of what happened is that the mix was too wet at the end of the load of concrete. I have absolutely no idea though, other than that concrete is hard.

all-in-all, I think it will be fine. the anchor's purpose is really for wind uplift, and the epoxy seemed to set pretty hard, and it's just one of seven beefy concrete anchors, placed into really overbuilt footings. however, if you see a deck cruising around Boulder on the next windy day, you know where to bring it.

anyway, finally we:

  1. plumbed and fastened the posts to their bases
overall view of completed posts
construct more pylons (#7 conspicuously absent)

the adventure with the cracked footing was a disappointment for sure, but overall I couldn't be more happy with finally getting cracking on a project almost a decade in the making!

big thanks to parents and girlfriend for all their help!

back tomorrow with more progress.