Thursday, May 21, 2009

Got it

I was constantly in search of my future BBQ. I visited Sears, Home Depot, Lowe's, and WalMart. And I checked Craigslist daily. Well, I finally found one on Craigslist. No small grill :) Definitely takes the new title "Man Grill". Needs some cleaning but should last a long time.

Here are the pictures. It is a Weber Summit S-670. Great deal for a great grill.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Decking Complete

This past weekend I was determined to finish the decking because the previous weekend was a wash because of my brother’s wedding. I started around 9:30AM laying down decking boards and soon after Anthony arrived to help. We worked fervently until 5 and completed the decking. This totally transformed the deck into a new beast. It made all of the previous pain worth it. We finally had a 260 sq. ft platform to walk on. After finishing the decking, we moved to adjusting the stairs.

There is a 2x8 pressure treated lumber attached to the bottom of the stringers to keep them square and rigid. This increased the overall of the stairs by 1.5” (a 2x8 is a dimensional measurement – the actual measurement is 1.5” x 7.5”). This made the top riser 4 inches - small by anyone’s account. The bottom riser was 7.75”. When you attached the tread on to the first step, it would bring it to 8.75”. Too much for a comfortable riser. So we notched each stringer for the 2x8 and attached it. This made a much more manageable top and bottom riser. We then attached the stairs using the same ¼” x 3” lag screws.

On Sunday, I attached the final 2 posts to the bottom of the stairs for the railings. After that, the weather was not looking good, so we stopped and instead went and bought my wife a new vacuum and I looked at the grills at Sears, but didn’t like any of them. Still like the $450 Blue Ember grill at Lowe’s. A good compromise of size and features.
Paul and I finished putting the treads and risers on the stairs last night and things are moving. I hope to cut the sides of the decking tonight that overhangs the deck as well as clean the deck. We are supposed to have 2 days of no rain, so I hope to seal the deck with a clear sealant tomorrow and a couple of more coats after that (maybe 6). Then this weekend railings. Then we call the inspector for final COC (Certificate of Completion) and then Lattice to keep animals out.

Now onto the pictures.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Latest Updates

Sorry for the lack of posts, but the past 2 weekends we have been busy with wedding "stuff" for my brother who just got married on May 9th. I was the best man, so that was my priority.

I like the look of the cedar A LOT!! I think it looks better than composite decking and I have always loved the smell of cedar. It won't be much work to stain the deck every year since I don't have to do the railings!

We have finished half of the decking boards. We started in the middle of the deck. You are probably wondering why. Well, we were going to start on one of the ends, but we couldn't tell if the board was straight. I am more worried about the board looking straight to the eye, than of it being square.

So, we started in the middle at the middle post and it looked perfectly straight. The problem we ran into is because it is wood, as it dries it warps, bends, etc. We started with the straightest board we could find. Then we used clamps to persuade the other boards to stay straight. We had to do some minimal shimming to make the boards even.

The problem with the clamp is that we started overtightening it and causing our spacers (8d nails) to cause impressions on the sides of our cedar decking. We used some laminate flooring spacers which helped, but they kept getting stuck. We finished about 5 rows in about 5 hours...not good progress at all!

So, I decided the clamps had to go and since they are 4 foot clamps, we were going to reach their limit very soon. I use ratchet straps in the truck all the time to tie things down, so I figured it was worth a shot. I set up 4 straps across the length of the deck and we ratcheted the boards down and it worked like a charm. Plus, we didn't have to move the straps which moved things along quite nicely.

So, half of the decking is finished and this weekend I plan on starting around 9 and finishing the rest of the decking done on Saturday. If time permits, I will also fix the stairs and put decking on those.

Then on Sunday, I hope to clean and seal the decking boards. More pictures to follow.

What to complete after decking:
  1. Stairs - I need to disassemble the bottom and readjust because the bottom riser is 1.5" larger than any of the other rises and the top riser is 3"...small step. So if I inset the 2x4 connector into the stringers, it will make this better.
  2. Railings
  3. Trim/Lattice
And then we will be done. Then there will be a lapse in time until the next big project because of lack of funds :). But I am planning on buying a new grill because I sold mine to my dad. This will happen in the next couple of weekends.

Everyone says Weber, but they are twice as expensive as any other grill. My last grill I bought at Walmart for $250 and it lasted me over 3 years and now my dad has it. I keep the grill covered and do a yearly thorough inspection and cleaning to prolong it's life, so I probably will buy another cheaper grill.

I really want a large cooking area (more than 500 sq. in), no SIDE BURNER (difficult to find) and less than $500...would be nice if it was closer to $300.

Here are 2 that I like:
  1. - I like it because it doesn't have a side burner, but instead has a second covered grilling section. Also has infrared, but being that it is $300, I am assuming that it is not the best quality infrared cooker out there :)
  2. - I like the sonar fuel gauge. not sure how much the main cooking area is as total cooking surface is 675 sq. inches. Has a side burner, which I can deal with. I don't like the small storage area underneath...probably can only fit the propane tank and not much else :( Has a infrared rotisserie burner, which probably requires the purchase of the rotisserie feature.
I will eventually visit both of these stores and do some more research before making my decision.