Porch Decking Installation Starts Up

Day #74

July 4, 2019 – As promised, we got our Trex composite decking delivery this morning. Lowe’s called around 6:30 AM and the delivery guy showed up at 7:05 AM. Let the porch decking installation commence!

Porch Decking Delivery
Trex composite porch decking on the delivery truck.
Porch Decking Onsite
Lowe’s delivery guy dropping the decking in front of the porch.

Today was one of those days that you just wish you could start over. I didn’t sleep well last night and I was grouchy when I got up. I started the porch decking installation but it went very sloooowwly and I made a beginners mistake.

We decided to “picture frame” the porch into four sections. This will make it easier to get to the underground plumbing in the future. I am using Trex Hideaway hidden fasteners to attach the decking. They are removable so having a separate section over the plumbing makes sense. No need to remove all the decking if we have a plumbing problem.

“Picture Frame” Support

To install a picture framed deck you have to add additional support framing. This is necessary to accommodate the change in direction of the “frame” piece. The additional support framing is installed at each side of the picture frame. For reasons previously mentioned, I had some sort of brain fart and couldn’t quite grasp the solution. It took me like forever to figure it out.

Picture Frame Support
Additional support framing for “Picture Framed” deck.
Picture Frame Support Framing
Installing the “picture frame” support.

With the picture frame support completed in the first section I could start installing the porch decking. The gapping requirements of Trex decking are ¼” between the sides and ⅛” between the ends of the deck pieces. To keep the snakes from coming up from under the deck I placed a layer of fine mesh screen before install any decking.

Fine Mesh Screen
Fine mesh screen to keep snakes off the deck.

Beginners Mistake!

A picture framed deck has 45° miter cuts in the frame pieces at each corner. I our case we will only have 45° miters at the outside corners. To make each miter work you need two full width planks to meet at each corner. The logical place for me to start was on the outside and work in towards the cottage. This way I would have full width pieces at the outside corners. If I had to rip the last deck piece to fit it would be along the cottage and mostly hidden.

Well, where do I start…? At the cottage side, of course! Thank goodness I only got 4 pieces in place before I quit for the day.

Porch Decking
Porch decking installed starting from the wrong side!

Around 6:00 PM I had enough of the sun, heat and humidity so I packed it in for the day. Robrandi and I went out to Wingman’s to grab a bite to eat. As usual, it was great.

When we got back later in the evening the rest of the family and the wolf pack started to arrive. Beam Master Troy made a comment. He said, “I would have just started the decking on the outside and worked back to the cottage. That way the rip will be along the house.” Okay, I heard what he said but didn’t digest the information until much later.

So much for the first porch decking installation day. More to come tomorrow.

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