As of this weekend the work on my slab is 100% complete and its about time. All totaled it took 40 yards of fill, 10 yards of concrete, several hundred feet of rebar, 32 sheets of rigid insulation, 30 “j-bolts” and some funky deck brackets.
Maine Deck Bracket Installation
My weekend started by drilling 16 holes that were 6 inches deep into the side of my slab. My Dewalt drill running in “hammer drill” mode was sucking down one battery for every 2 holes. Each hole was taking about 10 minutes to drill. When all my batteries were dead I went out and bought a new 1/2 inch bit to hopefully speed things up (and it did for about 2 holes).
My dad who is a retired machinist suggested that the carbide tips could probably be sharpened with a diamond wheel mounted to a dremel. For anyone in a similar situation, I suggest that you research this idea…I think it would greatly speed up the process.
Once my holes were drilled, I used some wedge anchors and epoxy to fasten them into the concrete. You don’t need to use epoxy with wedge anchors but I personally thinks its a good idea and for 20 bucks its cheap insurance.
Once the epoxy was hard, the bracket bolts were snugged up. I then clamped on the 2×8 pressure treated boards and marked the holes for the two outside brackets. After drilling I bolted the joist in place and marked the other holes. To transfer the holes to the second ledger board, I simply clamped them together (matching the crowns). The two ledgers were then bolted to the brackets with 16 galvanized bolts.
As I was typing this I realized that I forgot one very important step. The copper treatment in the pressure treated wood reacts with other metals in the presence of water. This means that as installed my deck brackets are going to slowly be eaten away by the wood that they are in contact with. All this because I forgot to install the plastic spacers I had fabricated. The good news is that I still have access to the nuts and can unbolt each bracket enough to slide the spacer into position.
This is a great example of why contractors work faster than DIY builders. They typically don’t make these kinds of boneheaded mistakes that make them do work twice! Also notice I said “typically”….i’ll leave it at that.
Once the deck brackets are in place I needed to wiggle the foam insulation into position. To accomplish this I had to cut out pockets where the bolts and deck bracket would interfere. The best tool I found was a hand saw and a Dremel Multi Max equipped with a flush cut blade. With all the pockets cut the foam fit nicely into position.
Once the insulation was in place I added the frost skirt, taped it, and backfilled the remaining walls. I will use a can of non-expanding foam and scrap foam board to fill in my pockets. I am using non-expanding foam because I “think” it will have a better R value and be more dense than the expanding foam.
Starting the Porch
Since the Patriots game started at 4:25PM I had a bit of extra time to get started on the porch. I cut two boards for the front ledger and two side pieces. I tacked nails in the four corners so I could measure the squareness of the layout. When I was satisfied I nailed everything with the air nailer using galvanized nails (very important in AQT wood). I also tacked in 2 corner boards to maintain the squareness of the assembly.
To complete the job I drove eight Timber Lok fasteners thru the sides into each set of ledgers. These fasteners can hold the outside boards to the ledgers with considerable strength, they also can support large shearing loads (deck full of people).
A truckload of framing lumber is scheduled to arrive this week and I will begin framing if I can get a number of consecutive sunny days.