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Project: Walkway with at Twist

in Home Improvement Projects

You wouldn’t even notice this one unless you really know what to look for.  Kirk Davis and his lead landscaper Robert installed a walk way for me in my back yard.  I knew there was a better way to do this than what I had planned so I asked Kirk about it and he said to just let him do it for me.  When it was all done, I am glad he convinced me of the expenditure.  He started by delivering to the back yard what seemed like a lot of Arizona Flagstone and even more sand and gravel. The next step was to determine the layout of the walk.  I thought just a straight shot out the back door and through my garden.  NO said Robert.  Too boring.  He suggested the gentle curve and again, I am glad he did.  I guess that’s why he gets the big rocks!  When the where was figured out, the next move was to dig out 6” deep of sod and soil. This trench in the lawn was filled 2/3 with sand and gravel.  Then...

Project: Deck Reconstruction

in Home Improvement Projects

A few weeks back, I was called in to rebuild a deck that had failed.  Failed is not the right word.  This thing disintegrated!  The deck was built technically right with the right size timbers and dimensional lumber for the substructure, however, Fir was used rather than redwood or treated lumber.  In many places the bottom the joists were in direct contact with the soil.  This on it’s own was a problem in the making.  But there was more. The deck design incorporated a skirt that went from the walking surface to the ground.  This reduced airflow and trapped even more moisture.  But there is more. The other issue was that the composite decking was installed with zero gap between the boards.  So, over time, the combination of ground moisture, gutter run off, rain, snow and humidity all started eating away at the structure and in just a few years after construction, the deck fell...

Project: Garden Gate Arbor

in Home Improvement Projects

This was a fun woodworking project done in the winter of 2008-09. While not a remodeling, it was a home improvement. My customer asked if I could build her a garden gate arbor off a set of plans she picked up at one of the box stores. I took a look at the plans and while well done as far as a how-to, the suggested materials were inferior. The plan called for pressure treated lumber. As you might know, pressure treated lumber is not dimensionally stable and is prone to warping and cupping in an application such as this project. It also looks goofy with all the little hash marks in the surfaces. I suggested a high grade of Cedar and that is what we went with. The lumber was very expensive, but worth it. The result is a very sturdy assembly of laminations held with gorilla glue and counter sunk plated screws. I set the leg posts into concrete footings and the wood is finished with a UV...

Project: Curved Deck

in Home Improvement Projects

Here is a backyard deck built last summer in Star, Idaho that had something different.  The space was there and I was told to fill it with a deck that would allow for flowers and plantings around the edges.  The redwood substructure was built over dug in concrete footings and deck blocks.  The fascia edge of the deck was wrapped in Trex 1 x 12 materials prior to the walking surface being installed. Here’s a tip.  If you bend Trex like this, do it on a nice hot day, it bends much easier.  The decking is 5/4 x 6 Trex Accent Series attached with Senco trim head square drive screws.  I left the boards running long and then transferred the perimeter line to the surface plus an inch or so for the overhang.  The cut was made with a Bosch Jig Saw, very slowly and carefully.  I cleaned up the cut with a belt sander and then put a Router to the edge with a radius bit profile. I have not been...