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Worked all day in the rain, but it was worth it.

Long day. Long, soggy day. The Wandering Monk and I worked outside in a steady rain for five hours, but it was so very worth it. I now have a back deck — hooray!

First (yesterday), he removed the temp porch and steps that had served me very well, but served with extreme ugliness.

That revealed even more ugliness, which didn’t bode well.

For a change, we lucked out. Nearly all the rot and rubble was on the surface, not under the house. The Monk tore that stuff off, then managed to take just a hair over an hour to jack up the kitchen floor, slip in a 6×6 foundation beam and support posts, and drop the house back into position. I mentioned that in an earlier post, but it still amazes me.

Here he is (also yesterday) inspecting the work ahead. If he seems shorn, that’s because he is. He recently donated all his glorious long hair to charity.

Then today. Soggy. Oh my goodness, nothing but soggy — which we expected. As I blogged yesterday, I bribed The Monk to work in the rain. Part of the bribe was that I’d be out there with him the entire time, lifting and toting and measuring and getting at least as sodden as he. And boy, did we — both work and get saturated. Even wearing a Goretex coat and several layers under that, I was drenched clear through to my unmentionables, and I’m sure he was even worse off.

It was a June rain, though — vertical, not horizontal, and 60 degrees. So tolerable. We didn’t let it bother us until after lunch when the temperature dropped and the pelting increased.

By then we were well along, though.

It’s a modest deck, about 5′ x 12′, just right for a couple of friends to chat or a couple of animals bask in the sun. A simple deck, too. No railings or stairs or fancy details. Not a hint of cute.

But when you consider how far this corner of the house has come in five years and what a monstrosity used to occupy this spot of ground, it’s a blessing.

You can see in that photo and the final one (splatters on the camera lens, streaks of rain falling) how wet it was — and still is as I write this.

By the time we were done, all I could think about was a hot bath followed by dry clothes. Then of course Ava wanted a walk. In the rain.

But next week we’re expecting 70-degree sunshine and I plan to enjoy this for all its worth.

With the exception of a cedar trim strip, a couple of 2x6s, joist hangers, and the self-tapping screws The Monk insists on using (for good reason), all the materials were either salvaged or left over from last year’s projects. Which will make sitting out there even more relaxing.


  1. fred
    fred June 8, 2018 10:42 pm


  2. khperkins
    khperkins June 9, 2018 2:51 am

    Great job. The more you write about the Monk, the more ilike him.

  3. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran June 9, 2018 5:26 am

    Looking good, Claire! Nice deck! The Monk and you did a great job!

  4. Joel
    Joel June 9, 2018 6:13 am

    Wonderful! I love being reminded of what a disaster that place was at first, and how far it has come. The neighbors must LOVE you.

    And congratulations at dodging another “rotted foundation” bullet. I would not have had the guts to tackle that place. You’ve done so well. You’ve got me WAY beat for ‘cute.’

    Question, though: That downspout next to the deck where the water is being routed under the deck: Where is that water going?

  5. DistOne
    DistOne June 9, 2018 6:17 am

    Excellent amazing work for two people in one day!

  6. Claire
    Claire June 9, 2018 8:01 am

    Thank you guys. Yep, The Monk is a wonder and the transformation of the house boggles even my mind.

    Joel, momentarily, the water runs into a 50-foot flexible pipe, all the way under the house, across the lawn, and into the grass next to the street. Eventually, all the downspouts will feed into buried pipes and drain onto a future rock garden on the street side.

    No worries; we’re not dumping rain runoff under the house.

  7. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan June 9, 2018 8:28 am

    Amazingly fast and beautiful.

    So, they have this wood perservatives for the cut ends of treated wood. Oil with some copper, I believe, tinted to match rest of your treated wood. Quart size was quite reasonable priced, and a little goes a long way, since you only use it on the cut ends. Impress the monk, buy some and start putting it on those cut ends. (Unless you’ve already been doing it, can’t quite tell in the pictures).

    Pressure treated wood only goes so deep with the perservatives, and when you cut it you leave a small portion of raw wood exposed to the elements.

  8. Comrade X
    Comrade X June 9, 2018 8:58 am

    I’s likes!

  9. Claire
    Claire June 9, 2018 9:23 am

    Thanks, Comrade and FishOrMan.

    We’re ahead of you, FishOrMan. We’ve been using copper-based wood preservative on every piece of cut lumber that’s at or near ground level. You’re already seeing it on the cut ends of the decking, although since it was just a single coat applied in the rain, that’s not easy to notice. I also applied it to both ends of the support posts. I’ll go back with another coat on the decking when things dry out.

    Also when we open up anything at foundation level, we hit it with a spray that’s strong enough to kill termites (though of course we also remove termite nests and wet wood when we find them — none this year; one nest last year).

  10. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan June 9, 2018 12:16 pm

    Makes me very happy to know you are preparing for enjoying that porch for a very long, long while.

    I used that copper stain on all framing and 25-year trex decking, even used waterproof decking tape on top of all floor joists — I plan on getting my money’s worth, and then some! Sun broke out here, gonna go enjoy it. Love YOU!

  11. Claire
    Claire June 9, 2018 5:37 pm

    “even used waterproof decking tape on top of all floor joists”

    I’m quite impressed. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as waterproof decking tape.

  12. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan June 10, 2018 12:39 am

    Yup, basically extra wide duct tape, (the good kind), running down length of floor joists just before deck boards are put on. Leaves and such, which get stuck between deck boards, won’t sit directly on top of wood joists, but the tape, (as long as it lasts). I even used some on top of the 4Ă—4 supports where deck spacing might have allowed debris to accomulate on top of. I figure it should help the under support last another five years, that makes it worth it right there, especially when dealing with the composite decking that hopefully is still looking new in 20+ years. Also, I hate the idea of redoing work I’ve already done. I imagine that feeling is only going to grow stronger the older I get.

  13. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit June 10, 2018 5:01 am

    Wow! Nice work Claire and Monk!

  14. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas June 10, 2018 8:32 am

    Pretty cool, amazing transformation(!)–and thanks for pictures.

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