My Summer/Fall project

Well, lets start by saying that this wasn’t the project I’d PLANNED to do for the end of summer/fall.  I’d PLANNED to be putting in all sorts of ice dam preventatives, including proper vents in that attic space where the wood burning stove chimney is.  I’ll still be putting in vents, but I won’t be doing any of the rest of it.

On the evening of August 15th our front deck collapsed, with me, my husband, and both dogs standing on it.  Thankfully it was less than 3 feet off the ground and we’re all fine (though Arty is now terrified of the front door).

A look at it in daylight and we assumed that the ledger board must have rotted out.  But we could also see that it had been attached to the house with nails (3″ nails).

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Since it was safe to assume that the entire length of it was attached to the house with nails (vs screws or bolts) we made the decision to just pull the entire deck down, salvage what we could of the wood, and toss up a set of stairs.  We’ll figure out a replacement deck at a later date.

That wall where the front door is, is the living room addition done by previous home owners.  Not sure if it was done by the folks we bought from, or from before them (I suspect the folks we bought from though).  When they built the outer walls, the wall sits on a heavy timber that sits on the concrete block wall, then outside of that they put a (NOT pressure treated) chipboard before wrapping the addition with house wrap and putting on the siding.

The deck ledger board was NAILED through the house wrap into that chipboard.

It wasn’t the ledger board that rotted out.  The ledger board was fine, a very nice 2×12 piece of pressure treated lumber.  It was the chipboard that rotted out.  Right up under the housewrap and siding.  The ONLY thing that was holding up the deck in that corner was the small portion of the nails that made it into the heavy base timber.  I have no clue how it didn’t collapse under the snow-load last winter.

We’re going to have to pull down the siding and housewrap, remove the rotted chipboard, make sure the rot didn’t damage anything else, replace it all, and redo the housewrap and siding.

But thats not the worst of it.  We found a few more things when we pulled down the deck.

1: the guy who installed our Direct TV really was as big of an idiot as we took him for:

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Yes, we knew he’d run the cable under and then up through the deck, but we didn’t realize till we were pulling it all down that he’d drilled through the ledger board.

 

2: The former homeowner who installed the security lighting likely did it himself:

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That is the wire up to the indoor switch for the outdoor security lighting, with the wires running from it to the fixtures.  Just hanging like that in the crawlspace.  No tape.  No box.  No support.  And I’m pretty sure those are the ground wires just sticking out random.  That all by itself caused some profanity to be said.

 

3: The fact that the whole house was crooked last winter wasn’t a fluke and we should have checked ALL of the house supports under the original structure as soon as things thawed (we checked the rest of the house, but this corner is hard to get to so we assumed that since the rest of the house looked ok……)

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A bit more profanity was let go as we all looked at that.

We called our homeowners insurance, and they informed (this past Tuesday, cause the local guy is a massive PIA to deal with) us that its “wear and tear” and therefor not covered.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to argue the point.  I have to dig through the policy and look at the exact wording of whats covered…..

Yesterday (Thursday) we had the whole house re-leveled and new supports put in.  The sales guy for the company we hired about drove me batty, but the guys who actually did the work were great.  It was done quickly, with minimal fussing.

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I’m still waiting for the town to get back to me on whether I need footers for a small landing and 3 steps up to the front door.  If we do then we’ll need to breakup the 6″ deep slab that was poured under the deck since there was no permits done on it and I can’t prove there’s footers under it.  I’m really hoping I don’t have to.

And now I need to dig through the electrical code paperwork to figure out if its legal to have a junction box in the crawl space or not (I suspect not, at least technically, though its certainly accessible since that portion is still skirted).  And get those wires supported and taped, and……we still have the side of the house to deal with.

Oh, and its looking like there were no permits on the living room addition either…….

6 Comments

  1. Comment by joated:

    Jumping jehosiphats! Looks like youve got your work cut out for you. Some of this reminds me of the work I would have been doing at the Bolt Hole…if I still owned it. (Thank goodness the sale was “as is”!)

    Best of luck making the repairs.

  2. Comment by bogie:

    I am glad everyone is okay after the deck collapse. Poor Artie, I can understand why he is scared. Heck, Prince was very leery of any shiny flooring after he slipped and fell while playing with Missy once.

    What trials and tribulations you are going thru with your house. Hope the town works with you and maybe grandfather’s in the unpermitted work. Around here, the junction box can’t be covered by sheetrock, but I don’t think the location is an issue (disclaimer, I’m not an electrician, didn’t even play one on TV, and haven’t researched such things for your type of structure – there I CMA – LOL).

    • Comment by Ruth:

      After spending the weekend reading, if I’m reading it right a junction box in the crawl space is fine as long as there’s access to the crawl space, and there is. So once I get it in a box, re-wired, and taped, and properly supported it should be fine…..At least there. I’m a little leary now of what we’re going to find for electrical under the addition!

  3. Comment by Mrs. S.:

    Sorry you have more unexpected projects to do. Glad everybody’s alright. Hopefully Arty eventually forgets.

    • Comment by Ruth:

      I think the fact that we’re going not to replace the deck itself right away will help, but the fact that the town is dragging its feet getting back to me is driving me nuts!