I demolished my old deck and found a surprise

We begin demolishing the old deck to address the underlying grade problems and find something we never expected.

Not only was the old deck rotten, it was also built out of code. There were no beams, and most of the joists were set directly on the ground without any footings!

Thanks to Amáda’s Tetris skills, all of the framing pieces were able to nest together and fit into just one Bagster!

Where a deck attaches to a house, a ledger is supposed to be anchored to the house framing. Whoever built this deck had lightly nailed a ledger directly on top of the siding, providing no structural support at all!

What’s more, we found this window hidden beneath the deck! It is covered with drywall in the basement. We had no idea it was there!

With the deck removed, our suspicions were correct. There is evidence of erosion, directing water towards the foundation. This has been contributing to flooding in our basement and needs to be corrected.

Plotting the deck footings

I erected some batterboards and mason lines to plot out the location of the new deck footings.

Drilling the footing holes

Amáda transfered the mason line points to the ground and marked them for drilling.

Together, we spent the next 4 hours working with this large 2-man power auger.

In the hard clay soil, the torque and weight of the machine were too much for us. We called in some friends for help relieve our backs.

Jonathan Ford and Bri Kershner, Brian and Cynthia Welchin, Jeff Hansen and Shelly Sadowski, and Brian Kisch all pitched in for another 3 hours to help us finish drilling the footing holes to their 48″ depth just as the sun set. We absolutely could not have done it without them.

Pouring the deck footings

I framed and placed the concrete forming tubes into the footing holes for the new deck. Some of the footings will be taller, since we are raising the grade near the house foundation. This was approved by the our local building inspector.

Amada and I mixed over 3000lbs of concrete and carefully filled each forming tube.

Later, I used the mason lines and a plumb bob to mark the placement of the J-bolts for the deck posts.

Rotten plywood beneath overhang

I demolish some loose soffit panels and rotten plywood on our foundation overhang. It will need to be replaced.

Meanwhile, 8 cubic yards of dirt are delivered. We will use this to back-fill the footprint of our deck and re-grade the yard so that rain water diverts away from the house foundation.

Rain barrel installed

As Amáda and I are very conscious about sustainability, we decided to install a rain barrel on one of our gutters. This is the first of three that will be built around the house.

Correcting the grade

Amáda starts hauling loads of dirt, one wagon-load at a time to back-fill the deck footing holes and correcting the grade.

Meanwhile, I clean up the framing under the foundation overhang, and add some insulation.

Another rain barrel riser

Amáda uses retaining wall blocks to build another riser for a rain barrel.

I finish the foundation overhang with treated plywood and new soffit panels.