So, I'm building a new deck at my house and wanted to share my plan and get suggestions, ideas, and comments. I posted over at gardenweb, but it seems like the whole forum there (while FULL of great posts) isn't getting hardly any new posts or replies AT ALL.
Additionally, I've gained access to scrap granite from a countertop installer and I have a few ideas. I'll share those, and would LOVE comments and suggestions on that as well.
Ok, so the deck. Due to my door elevation, and the grade behind the house, here is the plan:
At a sliding glass door off my sunroom, I've already built a 15'x10'ft section. The two corners away from the house are "chamfered off" 3ft back from the corner both ways. That gives the angled sides to be 4'3" long.
From that, I'm stepping up (and continuing down beside the house, and out with an 18'x18' section. It'll actually be 22ft wide at one part since it comes back and matches the contour of that "chamfer" of the first deck, on that one end. Make sense?
I'll try to attach a sketch if I can figure out how.
The section at the door only has a 4"x4" at the shallow end for a face board and that 4"x4" clears the ground by only 1.5". It gradually gets higher at the other end so that down there a 2x6 clears the ground by about 8".
The step up section will obviously be 7.5" higher, at its shallow end and gets some higher from there. Never high enough to need a hand rail so I'm only doing benches on the perimeter.
Off of the large section, on the far opposite corner from where the door is, I'm "chamfering" that off as well and there will be a gazebo pushed up against that corner such that you walk right into it off the deck there. It's the nice composite material and fully screened. It came with this house. The smaller section is sitting on about 20 concrete blocks with 4"x4" "posts". The tallest post there is only about 8inches tall or less. The large section will also use blocks and posts but additionally will have about 6 posts will be dug down and have concrete poured around em for extra stability. its a freestanding deck, not attached to the house.
I'm building the whole thing out of standard pressure treated pine lumber as this is not my dream house, and I'll prob be here less than 7 years.
I will be stain/sealing it so I'd love suggestions there. I've read LOTS of opinons on what to use. One Time Wood, TWP, Cabot, Sikken, Olympic Max, and others. I'm def leaning toward something semi transparent, or even less.."toned" as its called and something oil based that soaks in. Not a top coater. I'll buy at the big box store, or order online, if I just knew what to get. I need to decide because I hope to be ready to seal it by next week.
I love a rich light red/cedar color, but I've read to go as light as I can stand it, because it'll get darker over the years as more layers are added.
Also, the gazebo has a grey deck, and a light creme colored framing so it sort of needs to match it, but I do NOT want a grey deck.
Suggestions, ideas, and thoughts welcome!!
I have come across access to scrap pieces of granite from a countertop installer. I have some big pieces now that I plan to use for a bar/counter on my deck on both sides of my grill. One is 67"x18" and another is 52"x18" and a third is 36"x18". They are gorgeous. Still working out how to go about that. They have rough edges on one or two sides. I'm thinking of roughing them up all the way around and use em like that. I think its called a rock finish?
I have not decided if I wanna build it in like a cabinet for storage, or more like an overhanging bar which you could sit at and eat. Ideas? Suggestions?
Next idea, I wanted to use some where you step off the deck as a pad or walkway there. I've been reading about how to rough up these gorgeous stones. I'm hearing carbide sandpaper, torch and water (makes it look flamed I hear???), and using a sealer with sand mixed in.
Ideas? Suggestions? Sand between slabs? Grout between slabs? What is a "flamed" look?
I've also read the edges of the finished face are sharp and I'd need to dull those edges to keep from cutting your foot.
Next idea was to use all of the granite "backsplash pieces" as an edging for a flower bed which lies along the walkway to the front door. He has hundreds of "slivers" of stone that are about 4" wide, and anywhere from 6 inches, to 2 feet long, countertop thickness. Most of these are clean cut pieces. I'd use a hammer, and rough up the edges to a "rock finish" about 3 inches wide, and varying lengths, and then stagger stack them about 3 sections high as the edging to the flower bed such that from the side you have a "rock face stacked slab look and from the top you have a beaitful smooth surface finish. Thoughts?
I would use a couple larger pieces to make some kind of outdoor table or planter type thing. For example I have one piece that is about 28" wide by 24" long. Gorgeous almost perfectly square cut piece. I thought of just framing a small table from wood, or trying to bend and weld rebar. I'm concerned about the weight somewhat and the chance of the table flipping over has to be nill cause it would break your foot.
One of my friends suggested using granite chunks to mosaic the seat of my perimeter benches, but I think the weight would strain my deck framing, and it would be a lot harder than even a wood topped bench on your bottom. So, feel free to comment, but I'm thinking this is a bad idea.
I was trying to think of things I could do with this beautiful stone that is otherwising going to be wasted, and pushed in a hole and buried.
I thought of building a large outdoor fireplace. (Yes, the installer has told me that I can get all of his scrap I want. Most of it is small chunks the size of your foot, or a shoe box, or longish strips 6 to 8" wide and a ft to 3ft long.)
On the highest end, furthest from the door, and adjacent to the corner where the gazebo will go is where I thought of building this fireplace/firepit. The deck surface will be about 20" off the ground. The nearest point of this fireplace would be about 4 ft from the back of the fireplace thats part of the house. Its a vinyl siding house.
My plan: Pour a 4" concrete pad, the size of the fireplace. It would be about 4ft front to back, and probably 6 ft wide. I'd nail the size down obviously before I pour.
Use cement blocks, and some mortar, and build up the "skeleton" of the fireplace from the pad. It would probably come up to about 4 or 5 feet above the deck surface. I'd use these granite countertop chunks, different sizes, to cover every visible surface of it. even the inside of the fire box would be a wider slab across the bottom, and the sides and top also built up. I could flare out the sides from the fire box, so the flames reflect lots of light off the gorgeous stone all the way to the edges.
I could either do a short chimney, or slant the roof of the fire box to direct the smoke out the back side, leaving a small rear opening at the top of the fire box on the back for smoke to exit.
I may even design it with the idea of adding gas in the future, though it would have to be an LP tank cause there is no gas on our street.
Would this idea work? Would chunks of 1 1/4" granite be too heavy to mortar to a block face? Would the whole thing be dangerous with its weight, or the fact that it would be sitting up next to the deck?
I would design it so that the actual fire box sits a couple feet back from the deck, with a "hearth" extending just to the edge of the deck and then maybe another foot of stone "hearth" actually sitting on the edge of the deck. (Minimize sparks hitting my wood deck.
Any suggestions or ideas???
Thanks for reading my post.
If I can clarify anything, please let me know.
Pics of site and house.
Rear of house: