Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Deck Build | Part Six - Step Up

Remember when I was posting every couple of days with updates on the deck?  Yeah, those were the days.  After vacation we kind of lost some steam, okay, me maybe a little more than Mike.  He's crazy like that.  It was hard getting back in the groove of things and things like charging the camera battery seemed to slip my mind.  My apologies.

It would be awesome if I could make it up to you by showing you the completed deck, but alas it isn't done yet.  You'd think after building the foundations, framing, and decking, that stairs would be a piece of cake, but with our angled driveway and uneven lawn, it was anything but.  Mike even had to take back the pre-cut stringers that were delivered and build his own to get the right angles and dimensions.

Here's a picture of where we left off from last time:

   
After this picture was taken, the decking was trimmed and Mike began installing the top level stairs.
These went pretty quick since there were only two steps and the stringers were already pre-cut.  The only hiccup was the angled section, but of course Mike figured out the needed angles, while I stood back and made sure not to stress my brain too much with the math.


While I was super excited to finally have stairs, it was still about two days before the treads were put in, so Mike added some temporary steps for us to use.


Once the top level was done, Mike began building the stringers for the lower level.  Like I said, he had to design and cut them himself, so it took a couple of days to finally finish all 21 of them!

But, before I get ahead of myself and show you all those beautiful stringers, I first have to show you how crazy Mike is.  You may remember the skyscraper-worthy foundations that were made for the deck right?  Well, Mike made a mini version for the steps so that all the weight of the steps and anyone walking on them wouldn't cause the ground to shift, causing all sorts of problems later on.

He started by digging 21 little holes, one for each of the stringers, and then filled them with concrete.





We even had to build the foundations up a little above the ground to the left of the deck due to the uneven yard and this was accomplished with the help of some concrete forming tubes, (the cardboard tubes used to make concrete columns).


After those cured, he began attaching all the stringers in place.  (I still hadn't charged the camera battery at this point so here's my dinky blackberry camera instead.)


It's not just the combination of my phone camera and my lack of photographing skills that makes it look like the stairs are crooked.  Knowing Mike, (some just in the virtual sense) you know that these stairs are perfectly level, it's our driveway and yard that actually slopes down and away towards the end of our property line for better water drainage.  The stair rise is a little smaller on the first step on the left side of the photo above then gradually gets bigger all along the other side.  For those that didn't notice a thing, pretend like I didn't just confuse the heck out of you and continue on.

After the stringers, (for those counting, that's the seventh time I've used that word) and the risers, (the back edge piece) the stairs were ready for the treads, (part you walk on).


You can see the bottom riser's difference in height more prominent now in these pictures, but when you're standing on the drive or lawn and using the stairs it's not noticeable at all since it's all level.


And as usual, Mike went above and beyond and even sanded the corners and some of the edges for better butt comfort for sitting, which we've already starting appreciating when we gather with the neighbors to chit chat.


As you can see in the pictures above, we've already started the handrails and I'll have a post soon to talk about that process, and I mean process!

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