FOLLOW-up on deck. Over the last couple years I asked questions here
about building a deck that could be partially disassembled (to build
something undderneat) and I've thought and maybe posted about how to
combine it with a new stairway to the basement (maybe by having the
steps to the deck counter-levered or on springs, above the stairway,
so the stairway to the basement wouldn't take up valuable space in my
little townhouse back yard), or combining it with a storage locker for
a bicycle and lawnmower, or general storage underneath the deck,
And fiinally the plan was to have no deck at all until I could make up
my mind. Maybe have no deck at all and just more grass.
So I started to tear this 12x6 foot deck apart, and I only needed my
hands, no tools, until I got to the part underneath the two-fooot 2nd
floor overhang, where it was still in good shape, nothing loose,
nothing rotting. So I sawed off the middle 2x8's, put in posts in
the middle and further back on the sides, sawed off the outside 2x8's,
and put a 1x8 fascia? board along the front, and I have a mini-deck.
I really like it. It's like an outside workbench. And without the
railing, I have a better view of the yard from the living room.
If it is high enough off the ground to serve as a workbench, you'll
probably have to add a railing back when you sell the place. I'm
assuming there is still a way to walk out on it, of course.
As a matter of fact, either my next door neighbor or my nemisis, the
wicked HOA president. had called the county inspector on me in Apriil
I think, which is pretty strange since I had pretty serious abdomnnal
surgery in January, and they both knew it, and knew I wasn't in shape
to do any work yet, and I had even told the neighbor I would get
things done a couple months later when I was better, and I thought he
smiled and said that was fine. And I meant it. I would have done this
all two months later.
The county gave me iirc 60 days, and I did most of the work in the
last 3 weeks of that. I also assembled a firewood rack and removed the
cut up tree from the deck to the rack, and cut up the parts of the
deck I think are not treated with a little electric chain saw. It's
amazing how powerful those thing are. (A friend gave me this one when
a tenant at the ministorage she runs left it behind. It turned out he
had the blade on backwards and he problably thought the saw was no
BUT THE POINT IS, I found the Baltimore County building code online,
very very very very little detail, but four pages on decks, entirely
diagrams with a few notes on the diagrams, and iirc 32 inches was the
height at which it had to have a railing and perhaps steps (not
clear). I measured and it was 2 inches less than that, but then I
measured again a few days later, the very morning the inspector was
expected, (or the next day), and the two inches had disappeared.
I COULDN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO LOWER THE DECK and still keep it
horizontal, so I decided the raise the earth. I rushed to HD and
bought some topsoil and put enough down in the low spots to "lower"
the deck enough.
The topsoil was wet and something like a child's modeling clay. It
certainly didn't sprinkle like I thought it would. (Not even weeks
later after it had time to dry.) I went inside for a couple hours and
that mght be when he came. I got a phone message the next day that
everything was okay he woudlnt' be back, unless he got another
Since then I've caught up on almost all the outside stuff, though I
still have to replace some marginal fence pickets.
The neighbor however moved out in August, and though there is no sign
in front of his house, it seems to be for sale. I googled his address
a few weeks ago and one real estate company said a short sale was
anticipated, and because they take at least 4 months to approve
(because it used to be there was one lender, but iiuc since the debts
are resold, there are lots of lenders that have to approve settling
for less than the money owed.) they weren't going to even show the
house and they urged people not to buy it. (although if you could
wait 4 months or more, it was selling for 25% below what it sold for
in August of 2007 when he bought it when prices were their highest. )
Thursday night he was back for the first time, sitting behind a fence
making phone calls, chatting. Maybe he was inside earlier. The next
day a building inspection company was there, with a ladder. And now a
different webpage says the house is under contract. I never saw any
realtor show it. I wonder who bought it. Maybe he's not moving in
for four more months?
I appreciate your pointing that out. Although I may be dead by then.
The neighbor left (and all my previous neighbors were nice) and if we
can get the pres out of office, I'm willing to live here the rest of
Yes, the sliding glass door from the living room.
I also didn't build steps from the deck to the grass. So far, no
problem, but if I do build steps, their height will end up being the
full 32 inches and I'll have to put in a railng for the steps.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.