New Deck and Patio

We had a great view from our kitchen windows but something was missing….

Grilling in the dirt under the screen porch with the spiders & random lawn equipment (moved prior to this pic) is really not appealing.

Especially when you have to use the stairs of death to get there & back with hot food.  There wasn’t a landing outside of the porch so it was almost impossible to get in and out because the door opened over the stairs.

These babies have been a PITA since we moved into the house.   Before we moved in they weren’t even attached to the footings – the whole staircase could be moved by pulling on the bottom rails – and you didn’t even have to pull hard.  As part of the repairs prior to closing, the stairs were secured & the screen porch was jacked up & leveled because it was slowly sinking but long story short the contractor that did the work was an unprofessional hack.    So we were left with this slightly less rickety but way too narrow & steep set of stairs.  You felt like climbing a mountain when you walked up & I tripped a couple times carrying Liam up but luckily didn’t fall.

The screen porch was also still sinking & no longer level 1.5 years after the last “fix”.  We started getting quotes on different deck & stair options over a year ago & finally found a contractor in May that offered the best solution – albeit not the lowest price.   Most of the time “best” and “lowest” don’t occur in the same sentence when talking about home improvement so we decided to go with them and finally get this project done.

Here is one more before shot.  I do miss the pretty grass that we had – there was definitely some damage to the landscaping during the project due to lots of feet & some heavy machinery.

After signing on the dotted line it took three weeks and a phone call with the owner of the company before we had our first meeting with the (2nd) assigned project manager.  This was annoying because we expected the timeline to be quicker from what the sales guy told us before we signed the contract.

After the initial meeting with the PM, the process started speeding up.  The permit was pulled within a couple days and the survey of our lot was completed by the end of the next week.  The crew started work exactly 1 month after we signed the contract.  The deck building went very quickly and the whole thing was up within 2 days except for the support posts.  Everything including the screen porch was propped up on temporary supports until the concrete pad under the deck was complete & dry.

When they dug out the foundations of the original support posts under the screen porch, they found that the posts were sitting on dirt & concrete had just been poured around the posts instead of actual foundations – that is why it was sinking.

We were very hesitant to walk on the porch or deck while it was being held up like this.  The concrete pad under the porch was where the project slowed down again and went off the rails a little.

It took another full week to dig out under the porch & build the forms.   The original intent was for the patio to be a full step down out of the basement door so there would only be about an 7-8″ drop on the front edge to the yard.  This didn’t work out due to the placement of the foundation so the patio had to be poured at the same level as the foundation. That left a 16-18 inch drop at the front & edge of the patio.  We decided to fix this issue by adding a railing to match the deck around the front & edge of the patio so no one would fall off.

They finally poured concrete 2 weeks after the first crew started on the deck.  The whole timeline was supposed to be 2 weeks so heading into the third week we were getting impatient again.  We had to push hard to get the deck crew to come back on Friday of the third week to finally put up the support beams.  The entire house shook as they were hammering in the beams.  They also built the rail for the patio on the same day.

Our stress level was also higher during this part because we found out that we had to replace BOTH of our air conditioners.  NOT Cheap (either)!

The concrete guys tried very hard to minimize the damage to the grass & did bring in hay & pine straw to limit the erosion after they were done but we will still have a good bit of work to do this fall to get the grass back in shape.

We asked for an add-on quote on our front porch (see issues in this post) during this process & that is where the project took a wrong turn.  I’ll save that for a future post because I already have too many pictures for this one.

The final inspection passed & the final walk-through with the PM was exactly 2 months after we signed the contract.

Sooo…after all that here’s the finished product.

There is now a landing off the screen porch and short set of nice wide stairs down about 5 feet to the deck.

The grill is so much more convenient now that we’ve already started using it more (as soon as the support posts were installed).

The decking is composite w/ aluminum balusters.  The pressure treated parts of the rail will eventually be stained but we need to wait until September.  The deck is 12′ wide & 20′ long.

We had a double gate installed to match the railing to keep the kiddos in.

The main set of stairs is such an improvement!  The stairs even have LED lights that come on automatically when it gets dark.


The area under the screen porch is so much better now too.  The space is actually usable and the railing ties it into the rest of the deck.

It’s an impressive addition to the back of the house.  I can’t wait to get some furniture so we can start enjoying it!

We need to do some landscaping around the patio – right now it is just dirt covered up with hay – but one thing at a time.  We’re very happy with the finished product even though it was painful at times during the process.

One Response to “New Deck and Patio”

  1. Michelle says:

    This looks awesome!!! Love it!!!

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