Deck #1, #3

Deck edge using vertical strips of leftover Cumaru
Edge

We’re proud of our edge, and I’m particularly pleased that it was my idea: I don’t know enough to have a lot of good ideas when it comes to carpentry, but once in a while I have one.

The joists are ugly – built of pressure treated redwood – so they typically get covered by whatever you use for decking, and this is typically done horizontally. Instead, we used short vertical strips. This used up a lot of scraps (you end up with a lot more scraps when you deck diagonally) but it also looks really cool. The edge of the deck reminds me of a 1970s-era hot tub, when they were built round and of vertical planks instead of the huge square hunks of fiberglass and plastic that are typical today.

The railings are redwood. We’ve seen a lot of creative deck railings, but they always turn out to be old. The codes for deck railings have evolved to the point that it’s really hard to be creative. The posts have to be no more than 6′ apart (we thought the limit was 48″ when we built this one). The top of the railing has to be a minimum of 42″ above the deck surface. The gaps between the rails have to be no more than 4″ at any point. Since our inspector’s turned out to be a dick, and we know he would take great pleasure in catching us out on anything, no matter how small, we’ve chosen a very simple design.

The posts are already in place. We use screws on the horizontal strips that the rails attach to, but we use a nail gun on the rest, and it goes pretty quickly. The hardest part is spacing the rails: due to the curves, not all the posts are equidistant and 37″ or 38″ apart just does not divide evenly at 5.5″ on center (the rails are 2″x2″s; at 5.5″ on center they are perfectly spaced at just under 4″ apart). I re-do a couple, and I mark one so many times it’s embarrassing, but eventually I figure it out. The top of the railing is JUST 42″ high. I hope we make it through the inspection.

The back deck overlooks Schoolhouse Creek
Railing
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