Not without my Hammer: A Home Improvement Saga

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

I bought my house in 2007. It had a 12-foot-wide deck on the back. Over the course of three years, the deck deteriorated to the point that no one wanted to go out on it. The wood used was not pressure-treated, was poorly painted, and was seeping.

In short, your basic nightmare:

See the corner where the chimney meets the siding? Remember that. It will come back to haunt us later.

We had Big Plans. We were going to tear off the top of the old deck (the structural members were in good shape) and extend the deck from 12 feet to 16 feet.

Demolition was fun:

In this one, you can see how much wider we made the deck:

You can also see that corner by the chimney. We had to remove a trim piece and discovered horrors beyond imagination, er, wood rot, and little bubbles that could be eggs or fungus, that popped and squirted alien goo when you touched them.  We chose to ignore it. Nothing was going to ruin our deck! Nothing!

We finished the majority of the work that weekend. Putting the rails and spindles took more time. Total cost: $800.

Then we addressed the wood rot. The water was leaking between the chimney and the roof, due to poor flashing and inadequate drainage (the chimney is five feet wide). Thankfully, the damage was limited to the exterior siding – which turned out to not be siding at all. The geniuses who repaired the wood rot before I moved in had simply tacked up a sheet of regular plywood under the window and painted it. AWESOME, GUYS. THANKS.

So we had to have the chimney re-flashed. And the roofer installed a cricket to divert the water to the gutters.  The good news is the rest of the (original, 1968) roof looks “pretty good” and has “a few good years left.”

And now we have to remove and replace the siding plywood with real siding, and paint it. And then we wait for something else to break.

Total Cost: five years off my life.

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