Sunday, May 9, 2010

We have had an interesting run with the latest project: stairs. I think you need to have a little more practice than we do to have the kind of success with stair building that Bob Vila has. In a 9 minutes video on TOH, Bob can build three stairs. It took us 16 hours to build six stairs so you can see how experience can pay off--that and good video editing.

It started on Thursday when Justin framed and poured a little concrete pad for the stairs framing to rest. We had all of the right tools to finish the concrete with nice edges and even etched our initials into the slab--even our cat Tink got into the action and walked across the fresh (wet) concrete. On Saturday, we went to the lumberyard to pick up 2x12s from which to cut our stair stringers. It was supposed to be an easy arithmetic problem: height of the staircase divided by number of stairs equals height of the stair risers. But somehow, we had the height of the staircase wrong. Justin had cut three of the five stringers before we figured this out. Bummer. That was a $60 mistake and enough frustration for the day. We closed up early and met some friends for a sunny afternoon party.

Sunday morning, Justin was up early to get the coals ready in the smoker for a beef brisket. Ready to try again with fresh lumber, he cut up the remaining stringers and started hanging them on the joists.

Did I mention that this weekend offered the sunniest of sunny days? Here's a shot of Justin lining things up before he realized that they didn't line up.

Things were cooking along splendidly until all five stringers were installed and something was off. For starters, the whole patio and new concrete pad were not square to the house so the stairs landed a little cockeyed (hopefully this will hardly be noticeable after we get everything trimmed out). Second, the five stringers somehow were not the same despite using one as a template for the other four. So, after several attempts to tighten up screw joints, we opted to try a little kludge that won't be noticeable after everything is finished. Whew! Around 2 PM, I took a walk to the store and when I returned, Justin had cut all of the decking and was halfway into installing it. Around 4 PM, we were cleaning up all of the tools and sawdust and smiling because it seemed like we had built a set of stairs that looked just like we had imagined. So, it only took the whole weekend but we are finally able to descend from our new deck to our new patio without a 4 foot leap!

The finished product! So pleased with the color match we accomplished between deck & patio.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sarah, Buffy, Sean and Ryan all had smoked brisket for Sunday dinner, also. What a coincidence!!!