July 22, 2014

The New Cabin Deck

Up at the lake progress is going relatively quick, but those of you who are long term readers (thanks!) you'll know that for me, even ahead of schedule isn't quick enough. You may recall that we've been making some major changes to our cabin up north in order to accommodate a third bedroom and build a new door.  Here's a reminder of the before and after plan.

<--Before   After-->
We succeeded in creating the third bedroom and installing the new door as our new entry.  Inside the entry is looking pretty good, thanks to the entryway bench I built

But although I love the new, centered and symmetrical door on the exterior, it still needs a bunch of work.

For the time being, we've stacked some cinder-blocks and big slabs of granite that we found behind the garage and are using them as steps.  Yes, you heard me correctly, our cabin is located near an area of Minnesota that they call Granite City, and granite is so plentiful that you can find it everywhere.  Park benches, little league field concessions counters, and in a pile out behind your garage.  

While these "fancy" steps help us get in and out right now, they are only a temporary solution.  The next big project is to add onto the existing deck, curving around the side of the house and adding an additional set of steps up to our new front door.

So we began the deck project.  The plan was supposed to be simple.  Remove the decking from the top of the existing deck, add the posts and joists for the expansion, and then install new decking over the full new deck. 
But things never go as planned, and when we took up the old deck boards, we found this:


Rotten boards, eaten apart by 1" long, man eating carpenter ants.  
 These joist definitely wouldn't be safe to support our new decking


But what's worse, is that the damage also against the ledger board of the cabin.  Which means those little jerks were eating into our home. 

This, my parent's dog Winnie can confirm, was really bad news. Ruh-roh.

So instead of quickly removing the top, creating the addition and redecking the whole thing, we entered operation tear the whole deck down, eradicate the ants and fix the exterior of the cabin. 

Helloooo project delays. 

But if I'm thinking positively I can say at least we did have this plan and remove the deck.  If we hadn't, the ants may have continued to eat into our cabin until they ruined the foundation.  Now that, that would have been really bad. 

So here's to the terrible DIY discoveries, that could have been much worse.  Cheers friends.


  1. Amanda B.July 23, 2014

    Just wanted to chime in and say i'm a long-term reader! I love your projects, even though some are more ambitious than I expect to ever take on myself. Keep up the good work, and I really enjoy the blog!

    1. Ahh- thanks so much Amanda. It's so nice to get encouragement- especially during rough DIY moments like this one. :) Thanks for reading!