Adventure In Home Improvement

Tim the tool man here again with another episode of home improvement. This time as I strap on my trusty tool belt with hammer at the ready I am setting out to build an addition to our outdoor deck. The original deck when completed was 144 sq. ft. and it is a beautiful addition to our back yard. But, like everything I have always asked could I make it better and improve the original concept to allow more space for an outdoor kitchen. After all this is Florida home to eternal sunshine. According to our illustrious legislators though who have consistently stated that the sun is unreliable have done their best to keep solar energy from being a real alternative to easing the ever increasing utility costs. I must add with the latest news about climate change which concerns every living being on this planet our government officials are now considering adding sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to combat global warming. The lunacy of this it is purely evident when all it would take is to use the green energy sources that are already available to reduce the effects that have made this planet almost uninhabitable.

Another aspect to the lunacy of government officials mainly our Republican led legislature is their refusal to acknowledge that solar energy is a viable and very reliable source of energy. In Florida they have made is clear that major utility companies like Duke Power, Progress Energy and Tampa Bay Electric who all derive their energy from fossil fuels and nuclear power will continue to suppress the affordability for home owners and developers from integrating solar energy systems to reduce and even substitute their energy from the major utility companies. As a result too many are slaves to the major utility companies. Even with the states largest solar farm, and reduced gasoline prices people are paying more per kilowatt used The energy costs keep increasing every year.

As a home owner it is also important to notice that a recent study has found that adding a solar power system to ones home increases it’s market value by over $15,000. Unlike adding a swimming pool which actually detracts from the overall value a solar power system is a well worthy investment but, in Florida too many aren’t able to add that kind of value to their home all because our Republican led legislature keeps refusing to allow legislation that would make solar power an affordable consideration for home owners and developers. In states like Georgia, Michigan and even California all have made the transition from traditional power sources more affordable for home owners, and developers to utilize solar and wind energy systems. Cost effective in every aspect without the need to keep paying those high end energy costs of all the major utility companies who by the way still depend on fossil fuel. This in itself is more than enough reason to realize that any attempt by government other than implementing green energy systems is a futile effort which only will keep us relying on the energy that powered the first and second industrial revolution. These fossil fuel sources are the greatest contributor and one of the greatest threats to mankind.

With that in mind time to start building our deck addition. Fortunately, the vacant lot next door was bought by Domain Homes, a major developer of single family homes. I must tell you that the homes that Domain builds even though they say luxury, are basically nothing more than cheaply constructed shells. Not my idea of how to design and build a home especially down here in Florida. But, that is another story. Putting that aside I managed to scoop up the leftover materials after the first phase of this new home was constructed. Now, I had to make a partial blue print design for our deck addition. With their surplus building materials I managed to acquire which included lumber, bricks, and cinder blocks I had to modify my design to accommodate the materials I got. This, to complete the design of our addition. To attach the flooring to the support floor I made my way to Home Depot for deck screws which was the only outlay of cash I had to make. Deck screws came to only $9. Think of building a deck for only $9, we saved a bundle of money.

Now, that I have enough 2×4′s, 2×8′s and even 2x 11′s all of varying lengths along with the cinder blocks which are used as the foundation for this new deck it is time to level the ground. With my trusty tiller, garden rake and yard roller I managed to level the ground. Next, I placed the cinder block foundation and used my yard level so that the deck would evenly match the height of our existing deck. All according to the blue print design that I made. As the foundation took shape next came the support floor which consisted of 2×4′s measuring 4 ft. To make sure each 2×4 was 4ft I used a jig saw. When that was done I place each 2×4 across the cinder block foundation. Now the basic structure was formed it was time to cut the lumber at 6ft lengths to overlay across the support 2×4′s. All my cuts were done with my table saw instead of the jig saw. This, to make sure that each floor board would be an exact fit according to my design.

As the last board was placed matching the height and adjoining our first deck it was time to grab my trusty drill to anchor the floor boards to the sub floor using the deck screws that I got form Home Depot. As I put the last screw in place my knees were sore from kneeling I stood up and gazed at the completed addition to our back yard. The real purpose for the cinder block foundation was to keep the wood even though it is pressure treated away from carpenter ants, termites and other assorted menacing bugs. Our soil in Florida is a haven for all sorts of menacing insects.

The final phase to make our two decks one is staining with a waterproof base stain of matching color. Luckily, I had just enough leftover stain from last years coating of our first deck. It took 1/2 gallon to complete both decks. In a few months before the end of May I will have to put a second coat of stain to make our decks withstand the summer heat and humidity along with preserving it from all the rain and incumbent weather that is sure to arrive. Now, as I stand back and really take a look at our completed expanded deck next comes to barbeque area that would make the back yard our little own vacation spot. But, that is another project. This is Tim the tool man saying see you soon.

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