Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Deck benches and more

Once the drywalling in the corner room was finished, I couldn't really contribute to fixing that and doing the hardwood floor and stuff, so I have claimed the beautification of the deck as my pet project. It started out like this:

Then I took the benches off. Several boards were rotting, as were the boxes on the corners. They ended up as this pile of scrap wood:

Now we were left with the 2x4 railings, which our inspector had told us was too wide for code. So, I looked up the International Residential Code, which said you should have a railing height of 36" (check), it should be able to take some huge number of pounds (probably check, I wasn't going to throw myself against the railing or anything), and spaces between the ballusters must be 4" or less. Woops. Ours are a tad farther than that. However, the code also said that for decks where the ground is less than 30" from the top of the deck surface, no railing is needed. I double-checked Cobb county code, and they said nothing about modifications to that rule. At the highest part (over there on the left of the above pic), the deck surface is about 29" from the ground. If we plant anything there in a raised bed, it'll be higher.

So basically, we don't need a railing all the way around the deck. However, we do want deck benches. We have a few choices:
- build freestanding benches that you can move around (kind of unstable)
- build benches that require you to cut a hole in the decking for the 4x4 support (fine for new construction, but hard to do for ours)
- build benches using premade brackets (you supply the 2x4s, and pay for the brackets)

I think we're going to go with the deck brackets. There are two kinds, resin and steel. Resin looks like this when assembled:

This type has to be spaced 2 ft apart, with 1 ft on each end (those are the maximum recommended distances). So, for a corner with 10 ft of bench on either side, we'll need 10 brackets, or 5 2-packs @ $30 a pack from Northern Tool or amazon.com.

The second type, steel, looks like this:

They have to be spaced 4 ft apart, with one at the corner. Basically it'll be $24 for the corner bracket, then $20 for each additional 3-4 ft of length we want after that. So We could do 12-ft benches on either side for $144, or 8 ft for $104. We'd buy them here.

So we get to pick our favorite from those. We'll cover the rest of the edges of the deck with one of those plastic storage boxes for cushions and whatnot, a hammock/pergola, the grill, and my other pet project, the vegetable planter box. That way, even though we don't need a railing, we'll still have some barrier between us and the 2.5 feet to the ground. I'll post a planned layout shortly, plus more on the planter box.

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