This guy is better at this than you or I will ever be at anything

This is some serious skill.

galliher & huguely alley delivery

I had a delivery this morning from Galliher & Huguely for a small load of lumber, and their driver managed to get it on a forklift down our undersized alley and all the way to the back of our house a few doors down from the end. So what are we building now?

The warm weather lately has been an inspiration, and we are pulling the trigger on expanding the deck. We didn’t actually want to expand it for a long time — we were just getting used to having a yard that we could use, and neither one of us were eager to cover any of it up with a new deck.

backyard after finished lights

With the complications presented by two little ones in the house, we realized that we didn’t use the yard — especially for meals — as much as we wanted to. And with a front porch that was too small for the four of us, we were missing lots of opportunities to eat outside. (Related: I just realized I never wrote about replacing the front porch! Coming soon!) It was a huge pain to take meals down and eat in the grass. And though we bought a little table and chairs awhile back, they took up too much space in the yard to keep set up all the time.

And frankly, it’s just easier to step out the door into a closed-in porch space rather than having to go up and down a full flight of stairs to the yard. For the kids, we can put a gate at the top of the stairs and then let them roam outside the door without worrying if they’re under the house emptying the rain barrel or eating fertilizer.

I got the push I needed watching the house two doors south of us get flipped back in 2015 with the addition of nice big back deck. And I coveted it immediately!

When we were first moving in 5.5 years ago, we rebuilt the back stairs which had no landing, were far too steep, and could have fallen down at any moment. We added a small landing so we could move the stairs all the way against the edge of the property and avoid eating up valuable backyard space. Which also gave us the flexibility of adding a bigger deck down the road if we wanted, something we couldn’t afford to do at the time.

back stairs and landing brand new

Our neighbors two doors down the other direction have exactly what I wanted to emulate, with stairs in the same place on the side, and then an 8′-deep deck. You can see it here in the background, two doors down.

Neighbors back porch comparison

So we’re keeping the stairs and the existing landing and then adding a new deck that’s about twice as deep as the landing, stretching across the full width of the house minus the stairs. So about 14-15 feet wide or so.

I went back to one of my trusted contractor guys — the same one who did our bathroom soup to nuts in nine days a year ago — to come and pour the footers and install three 6×6 timbers and attach the ledger board to the house for me. Both are things that are hard to do solo, and with attaching the ledger board into concrete, a thing that I’ve never done before.

And then, this weekend, I’ll start by tearing down most of the railing on the old porch, adding the two 2×12’s onto the top of the 6×6 timbers for the cross beam support, and then building the deck itself.

Galliher & Huguely, the best DC lumberyard that I highly recommend just up N. Capitol (actually Blair Rd.) near Kansas Ave, delivered all of my materials this morning. (Free delivery over a few hundred bucks) And this heck of a forklift operator managed to squeeze all the way down the alley. I watched him the entire time and he never even grazed the house or the alley buildings on either side, often with just 3-4 inches of clearance.

deck lumber deliverygalliher & huguely alley delivery

The 6x6s and the ledgerboard should be in and set by the end of the day. I’m excited to get underway this weekend. I’ve never built a full deck entirely on my own, though I’ve also got two similar decks nearby that I can go and peer under at any point. Check back over the weekend, provided I can even hold up my phone to take pictures at the end of Saturday. Planning on a workout!

The back deck expansion

The entire Flickr photoset of this project is here.

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