Greengate Ranch Remodel
Remodeling a Daylight Ranch in Oregon

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Backyard #5 - Patio Cover Roof and Stone

I had the day off yesterday - the weather was great. I was able to get the roof deck on the patio and some stone laid around the post bases. Here is a picture of the roof deck:

It obviously takes longer to lay a solid wood as opposed to plywood roof deck - but this picture shows why it's worth it.

I decided to go with straight 2x6's as opposed to tongue-and-groove roof deck. The cost is significantly lower, but it takes a bit more planning and work. The look is slightly more rustic than T&G, and fits in well with the changes we are going to make to the exterior of the house.

  • A 10' 2x6 costs $2.50 right now, while T&G costs $11. The difference here was $100 vs. $440.
  • T&G can span quite a distance (at least 4'), but this would probably not worked well for 2x6. I made the spacing between the the rafters 32" - which took two additional pieces ($11 each). As noted in an earlier post, I like the look of this better anyway.

  • I did have to sort through the pile to get the good boards, but I always do this anyway. We stained the sides of the boards without the mill marks (ink stamps) while they were on the ground. This highlighted a few bad areas, which I cut out.

  • Is it going to be strong enough? No problem - you can put 1/2" OSB on 24" centers with little metal clips to help strengthen the joints where the pieces come together. This is 5x to 10x (my guess) stronger.

  • What about the small gaps between the boards? With black roofing felt on top of the deck, you won't notice any gaps. I did make sure they boards were tight together before nailing. They may shrink a little over time, but I don't think it will be significant.

  • The picture above shows the block bases I built around the posts. These are about 2 1/2 feet high. I used brick to bring them up to the right height, and make a solid base to mud the caps to.

    Here is one of the posts with the stone applied. I did the same general pattern as I did on the fire pit, so it would all tie together. I plan on capping these off with 2" thick tumbled pavers to make a flat surface for drinks, etc.

    Once the caps are on, I will build out the posts to about 8x8 to give them the right proportions.

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    A couple of pictures from Eindhoven, Netherlands

    My preference is to be at home in Oregon with my family, but when traveling I try make "lemonade". Here are a couple of pictures I took in the city of Eindhoven, in the Netherlands...

    I think this first picture emphasizes what the Dutch do so well - create small idyllic spaces. If you look, you see them everywhere.

    The roof on this house is new thatching. I especially like the eyebrow windows. I watched them weave and cut it last year, which was fascinating.

    Yesterday I was in the eastern Czech Republic, and I got to spend the day at a friend's house, working in his garden. It was really nice to be out doing something with my hands, as opposed to being "couped up" in a city with only walking around and sightseeing to fill my time.

    We started at the "cabbage market", which is a farmer's market in the city center of Brno.

    This market has been running for over 700 years. It's similar to Beaverton Farmer's Market, but a lot older.

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Backyard #4 - Patio Cover

    Now that the fire pit is done, and the patio has had a chance to cure, I have moved on to the patio cover. I was able to get the main structure in place this weekend - here is a rendered image of what I plan to build...

    It's a pretty simple design:
  • Ledger attached to the house
  • Main beam to support the rafters
  • Four posts (two on each end) with stone bases
  • Large 4x6 rafters, on a 4/12 pitch (same as the rest of the house)
  • Solid wood roof deck, stained on the under side for the vaulted ceiling
  • Total area is about 160 square feet

    Here is the progress so far...

    The main beam is built up of three 2x8's glued and nailed together. Here is how I calculated the needed beam size:
  • The span between the two inner posts is just under 12 feet, and the rafter span from the beam to the house is 6.5 feet.
  • The general load requirements for Portland, Oregon are 10lb dead load / 25 lb live load (for snow). Even though there are no formal requirements for patio covers under 200 sf in my area, I of course want my project and my house to last (not sag).
  • I looked at various span tables for patio covers (I will link to these below) and determined that I needed either a 4x10 or a 6x8 beam. I wanted a thicker looking beam anyway, so I chose the 6x8. I built it from 2x8's since I am going to wrap it in hardiplank later on. Doing 3 pieces also allowed me to easily leave mortice holes for the posts.
  • The rafter requirements are very light - 2x4's on 24" centers. I think going that route would save a few dollars, but the cover would look light-weight and cheap. After looking at 2x6 and 4x4 rafters on other houses, I decided to go with 4x6's. They are substantial enough to give the cover a "craftsman" feel, and not really much more expensive. These are painted the brown color that we are going to paint the house trim. They should contrast nicely with the stained roof deck. I put these on 32" centers - the spec sheets say I can go up to 48", but I like the look of them closer together. At $11 a peice for 10' long ones, it only cost me $22 extra.

    The ledger on the house took longer to get in place than I thought it would. I took my time to make sure it was square, level and centered with the beam I put up. I attached it with 1/2" lag bolts on 32" centers. If this isn't installed very level and even, then getting everything else lined up later on will be painful.

    I decided to go with a 2x8 ledger, so I could attach a 1x2 lip at the bottom for the rafters to sit on. I did this for two reasons: It makes holding the rafters much easier when you are attaching them, and it covers the bottom gap where the rafters meet the ledger. I noticed this on a number of patio covers I looked at.

    The rafters are attached to the beam with L-brackets and then lag bolted through the tops in to the beam.

    Helpful documentation that I used to design the patio cover:
  • This patio cover building permit form gives a lot of design information. Note that is for a 10lb live / 10lb dead load (no snow)
  • This document is for patio covers in Fort Collins, CO - 30lb live / 10lb dead loads (lots of snow).
  • Finally, here is a good middle of the road one at 20lb live / 10lb dead load.

    From these three sources, you should be able to spec an appropriate cover for your area and design choices.
  • Backyard #3 - Fire Pit Done

    Guten Tag - I am on the road again, blogging from Germany. When I am at home, I am too busy either working on projects or doing family stuff, so traveling ends up being a good time to catch up on the blog...

    Here is a picture if the completed masonry work on the fire pit (mud on the top is still wet):

    I ended up having just enough of the flat stones to complete the top. I probably should have laid them out before hand to make sure - but I could have worked something in if I needed to. This is the challenge / fun of working with left over materials: you don't run to the store if you are a few short, you figure out how to make it work and look nice at the same time.

    Here is the real reason I build the fire pit: to spend time as a family around it. We lit the first fire and hung around for a couple of hours, just talking. I don't understand why a fire makes you sit and talk, but I know it's true.

    We lit the fire, and after an hour, the area all along the brick wall was really hot. THe concrete brick with the block structure creates a good thermal mass. An unintended effect of this is that the heat reflects off the round wall evenly, so no matter where you stand you get warm. We should be able to cook in this with no problems.

    Things left to do:
  • Dig the dirt out of the bottom and put some gravel in there. There is already a drainage ditch under the pit to get the water out of there.
  • Build some benches
  • Put a dedicated hose on the corner of the house (25 feet away) that can be used immediately if the fire looks like it may get out of control.

    Review of the Project / Lessons Learned / Improvements
  • The diameter of hte pit seems just about right. The inner diameter is 3 feet and the outer one is about 5 1/2 feet. Large enough to put big pieces of wood on the fire, but you are still close to the fire.

  • Using the concrete brick for the inside seems like a good idea so far. I used type-S morter (stonger than normal) to lay the brick and block. The 8" block are hollow, so this give somewhat of a thermal break to the exterior stone, which you really don't want to get hot. After two hours of a fire, the outside was still at ambient temperature.
  • The cultured (man made) stone worked nicely. Mixing 4 differnt kinds gave the rustic look we wanted. You could make it look very formal by using a single type of stone. I often see a few square feet of stone for sale cheap on craig's list - get a few boxes and your set to go. I used about 35 square feet in total.

  • If you can build one with a view, do it. If you don't have a view, I would suggest putting up something like an arbor or wall as a nice focal point.

    Material List and Cost
  • 3 60lb bags of concrete for the footing - $10
  • 12 8x8x16 concrete block for footing and base - $12
  • 75 2x3x8 concrete brick to line the pit and top - $20
  • 6 80lb bags of type-S morter - $30
  • Morter color - already had it. Assume $5.
  • 35 sq feet of stone - already had it. Assume $4 a sq ft (could be more) - $140
  • 3 60lb bags of gravel to fill - $10.

    My own cost was $100. To buy everything would be about $250.
  • Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Backyard #2 - Progress on the Fire Pit

    Here is a picture of the fire pit in progress - it shows the interior construction...

    Once the footing set up, I did the following to get to this point:
  • Drew a 22" radius circle on the footing using a string tied to a piece of rebar in the center.
  • Set the block (16x8x6) to the circle - this formed the rough radius.
  • Mortared the brick upright on the inside of the block. I used various thicknesses of mud to get an even radius. These are concrete brick, not clay, which will take the heat of a fire.
  • Mortared brick across the top of the block and the lower brick. This gave the right height for the fire pit walls.

    Here is a cross-section of the design:

    Once the base was done, I started to apply the stone. I am using about 3 types of stone to build this, which I had as left overs. As long as they are balanced, I think it looks good. Also, the other stone in our house is a rustic mixture, so this fits right in.

    Here is the first bit of stone laid in place. I plastered the top to make sure no water will run down behind the stone once I'm done. I doesn't freeze very hard in Portland, but keeping water out is always a good idea.

    In this picture, I have about half of the stone laid. In my stone pile, I have a couple of boxes of flat slate-style pieces, which are shown set on the top. These will be the cap stones. The bottom edge of the cultured stone definately has a factory edge. I will chip these edges back and rub some mud on them to give them a more natural look.

    Hopefully, I can get this project done in the next few evenings and have a fire this weekend.

  • Sunday, May 03, 2009

    Backyard #1 - Patio extension and fire pit.

    Since my son is home and helping me out for a few weeks, I am trying to get a whole bunch of heavy work done in our backyard. Here is my "master plan" for things I want to add this summer:

  • Extend the patio along the back of the house, and make it about 10 feet deep.
  • Cover the patio with a roof (asphalt comp) that matches the existing roof - 18 ft wide and about 8 feet deep.
  • Put an under-deck rain cover under our main deck (10' x 30'), and possibly under our bedroom deck (8' x 14').
  • Build a fire pit
  • Build a series of terraced stone walls for a raised-bed garden up the hill to our garden shed.

    We started off by pouring the patio, and extending it over to the stairs that lead to the upper deck.

    This ended up being about 180 sq ft at 4" deep, which translates to 140 bags of 60# quikcrete. It basically took a full day to mix, pour and finish it all. We are keeping the concrete wet and covered with tarps for a week, so that it cures properly.

    Luckily, I have a small cement mixer. Mixing all that by hand would have been way too much work.

    Here is the portion of the patio we will cover over. We also tore out the old sliding glass door and put french doors in. The pre-hung units actually go in fiarly easily.

    Here is the foundation for the fire pit...

    It's not very pretty right now, but its round, level and solid. The rain-drain line that we put in the yard runs directly under this (about a 18" down), and is back-filled with gravel. This will become the drain path for water put, once we dig the cover dirt out and fill the bottom with gravel.

    This picture shows where the fire will be located - about 20 feet off the deck with a good view of the woods.

    I am still deciding what material to build the fire pit out off. Most likey it will be covered with some extra stone I have from other projects.
  • Window Seat #2 - Done with Sheetrock

    I finished the sheetrock work on the window seat this week. I need to texture the walls, along with the entire wall of the room in the next few days.

    Once the texture and painting are done, I will build the seat, which will have a bead board front to match the built-in book shelves. I am juggling this project with a bunch of backyard work, since my son is home right now to help out.
    See my article library on eHow...