Friday, July 13, 2012

The Deck Cover

When you move into a new place our experience is that you have about 2 years when projects are exciting and after that the joy diminishes and you get used to the way things are. The next time you get a big spurt of "house project" energy is when you are going to sell, and then you are torqued that little changes weren't done sooner. With that in mind I wanted the deck covered by my birthday. Why? Because it means we have been in the house for 6 months. We got the bulk of it done a couple months ago and are still doing the finishing up/problem solving things that make it enjoyable to be out there! We encountered a few unusual problems, as usual.
If we were starting from scratch the deck would have been a concrete patio. Since it was a perfectly good deck, and we won't be here forever, we decided to keep it. A problem, however, is this ledge over the downstairs TV suite (family room, bathroom, bedroom). This used to be the marquesina. Therefor the ledge is a little low. Too low to put a deck cover under. This turned out to be a problem because water hits that side of the house kind of horizontal and then sheets down, across the ledge, and into the groove under the ledge thus dripping in front of the sliding doors where I want it dry. It was way too low to put the cover under it so we had to go above it. The first solution was to caulk where the zinc meets the header where it attaches to the house and lay a linear bead of silicone on the ledge itself to direct water. This works great if it isn't a big, wild rain. We'll have to see how it works long term - we could put a gutter or half pipe under the groove and collect everything.

The other discovery is that when it rains hard the rain comes half-way under the cover because it comes in at an angle. Even if we made a bigger overhang it still would come in. Sometimes it comes in from the mango side also. My solution to this is not the prettiest but is very functional. I got a piece of plastic white lattice type stuff. The holes in lattice where too big, wood maybe would look better but not hold up (tons of staples) and a bamboo screen would mold and flap around. I wanted the rain blocker to be there when it rained and be raised up when I don't want it (like Dec - Mar).  You can see it hanging there. It is hanging and then bungeed to the railing to prevent flapping (this is a perfect location for a deck - very breezy). I have to figure out how to anchor it up top but the plan is to swing it and attach it to the beams above. I found these neat screws that were perfect. Now I can swing the whole deal up and out of the way when not needed! To hide under the deck I opted for Heliconias that grow 12-15 feet tall. The flowers are deck viewing height and when they are bigger should hide under the deck. Another discovery came inside the house. The deck cover was up and caulked and functioning. Inside the upstairs room there was this orange glow! The sun reflects off the covering and colors the whole room!

We got a table and chairs. I have plastic chains so I can hang 3 hanging baskets of trailing plants (haven't picked them yet) as a psuedo-wall, and I have another plant stand for more plants. A table cloth and a vase of flowers will make a nice lunch/dinner spot in good weather. For now it is usable thanks to Jeff putting in a light. My plaster chicken family has found a home on the wall as well. I can sit down there and read at night in the breezes while Jeff watches TV. I can use the computer. I need to hang the hammock when the weather is a little drier. I think it turned out great. The project only took 3 days once the thinking was done. The size is 16 feet wide and 12 feet out from the house and was determined by the existing deck and size of the zinc. I still have more than half the deck in the sun because you gotta have it! When I paint the house next year and the plants all grow up it will be even better. The deck? This project is pretty much done. Thanks to Jeff. Another tip though is to figure out what you need and have Home Depot deliver it. They deliver for 96 bucks and that is far better than making a bunch of trips to pick up very long heavy things and have them pixie-stick on the road when an asshole does a ping pong from right to left lane and cuts you off. Not to mention you can spend all your time working on the project instead of getting the materials! Far less frustrating. I just love living outside!!!


Linda Duerr said...

Thanks for the update! We are still wondering what we will do for our deck. Our problem is we don't want to do a steel roof because it's too dark. WE have a fiberglass clear roof on a deck on our house in NJ but I'm afraid it will melt in PR! Love the idea of the lattice.

Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...

We picked zince because we wanted a shaded, cool place to be that is rain free. You can get fiberglass here but it will crack in the sun and with all the grooves will trap leaves and get black when they mold. You could consider a pergola with a living roof of any number of plants. Not waterproof but maybe you don't need it to be!

Linda Duerr said...

we want a waterproof deck, I love to sit out in the rain and it gets too hot when it's not covered. Our first year we had the deck replaced and just used it as is. It was great in the early morning but then we scrambled for shade the rest of the day. The tarp worked great since we are only in Rincon a few weeks at a time, but tarps rot VERY easily. So I showed your plan to my husband (Bob) and it looks like we might do it your way! i just didn't want the kitchen to become too dark since the only window is off the deck.

Kylee Groves said...

This is an interesting project! The deck is a very comfortable place to stay, especially during mornings, where you can read the newspaper while sipping hot coffee. Covering it is more ideal because it will be more functional, not only in any occasions, but also in any season. Anyway, I’m glad you’re happy with the result and hope to see more of your DIY projects.

Kylee Groves