August 8, 2012

Construction Junction, What's Your Function?

I've got the house on the market, and one of the biggest issues it has was the back deck.  The people that owned the house before me decided they would cover it with tile.

Yes, tile.

In a place like Phoenix, Tucson, or even Albequerqueuerque (or however the hell you spell it...) a tile deck might work.  In the Front Range of Colorado, not so much.  See, we have a lot of freeze/thaw cycles, it snows from time to time, and using tile on an outdoor deck just isn't the best idea.

Let me back up... using OUTDOOR tile on an outdoor deck in Colorado might work.  If, of course, you used the correct backerboard and grout.

Which, of course, they didn't.

There was a wooden frame, on which they placed some press board (think, layered cardboard), and then put down indoor tiles, spaced 3/8 inches apart, using non-sanded grout.  If you know anything about tile work, you know that everything they did was done with a heaping spoonful of FAIL with a dash of SUCK.

It looked like this after a couple winters.

Yeah, that's not going to help the house sell.  

In a mixture of good and bad luck, my cousin Terry was in town.  He and his wife just had twins a couple months ago, and his youngest daughter has some health issues that resulted in her being admitted to Children's Hospital of Denver.  They are both in town for a while, and we caught up for dinner last Friday.  I mentioned the deck to Terry, who does a fair bit of construction contractor work, and he offered to help in exchange for dead animal flesh and cold beers.  

That's a win.  

Sunday, we got busy on the demolition, first removing all the tile, pulling the press board, and shearing off the screws that held the press board.  

The next step was a run to Mega Home Improvement Warehouse Store for lumber, screws, and an extra pair of work gloves.  Some back of the envelope chicken scratch math, and we started the Measure>Cut>Place>Secure assembly line.

Once we got into the, er, groove, it went fairly quickly.  Hard to see in the pic, but the rows start with a 1/3 length board, then a 2/3 length, then a full length, then a 1/3 again... repeat the pattern.  Makes the butt joints where the boards connect run at a nice diagonal line.  

Eventually, we finished the surface.  Casey and Jake supervised and performed some quality control inspections...   

Last steps are to trim that left edge so all the boards are flush, put some final planks on the frame lumber underneath so it looks uniform, and fill in a few gaps at the joints with some wood caulk or filler... I didn't always manage to cut perfectly straight.  

Treated ourselves to some carne asada burritos with green chile sauce and more than a couple cold beers.  


Old NFO said...

Nicely done, and that 'should' help with the presentation of the house!

Mule Breath said...

Ah, thanks for the memories. Way back when they were just building Beaver Creek I took a job in Avon. One of the perks was that that gave me a condo to live in within walking distance of my office. The complex was roofed with, of all things, Spanish tile.

Wonderful looking stuff but just about a practical as your deck. We were at about the 7K foot level so the overnight temps frequently dropped well below freezing. In the mornings it would warm slowly, but even at a near freezing temp when the sun hit that tile the result was distracting.

I learned early not to park close to the building. The schrapnel was a bit hard on a paint job.