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Jul 21, 2015

Under-deck Enclosure with Access Door

We got some work done on the backyard this weekend. If you recall on my last post, I mentioned that we wanted to enclose the bottom of the deck, re-sod the lawn, and re-stain the fence. Well, the deck is now enclosed!

under-deck enclosure with access door

How about a little before and after?
under-deck enclosure with access door

It ended up being a fairly simple job - about 6 hours to enclose the sides (including set up, clearing gravel, and measurements), and then another hour to build the access door.

We chose to have the enclosure inset from the edge of the deck so that we could attach it directly to the support posts and give it more stability. There was a layer of gravel under the deck the went right out to the edge. We want the grass to eventually run right up to the enclosed part, so that meant digging up and pushing back the gravel that was in front of the posts. I was voluntold for that job as I was the one who pressed for the extra grass.

under-deck enclosure with access door

What a miserable job. I had to switch to a gardening hand cultivator to dig up the gravel because just digging with my hands wasn't getting it done. There is still some gravel left behind, but we'll dig it out when we put in the new soil and sod.

We started the enclosure by building out the posts on the left hand side with some scrap 2x4s so that the vertical boards would cover the concrete at the bottom. We decided not to do the same at the front since the amount visible was pretty small (our ground is really uneven.) Once the new dirt and sod are in the concrete will probably be covered anyway.

under-deck enclosure with access door

We ran boards horizontally from the house to the corner post to give a support framework for the vertical boards. Tom attached a length of 2x4 to the house to give a starting point for the support boards.

under-deck enclosure with access door

The vertical boards were then attached to the framework beginning at the house and working to the corner. Each board had to be measured individually because of the slope of the yard. In some spots Tom had to notch out the tops of the boards to fit around the deck beams above.

under-deck enclosure with access door

Master saw operator and her trusty sidekick:

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

The front was done the same way except we only went to where the under-deck access door would be.

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

We then skipped over to the right side to fill in the area between the upper and lower decks and continue around to the front again. The front part of the upper deck sticks out to the right a couple of feet more than the back does (as that's where the stairs joining the two decks are), so the post at the front isn't exactly centered. That means that the fencing would have to extend past the post to line up with the lower deck otherwise there would be a gap between the enclosed area and the lower deck and I didn't want anything making a home in that narrow space.

The upper deck overhangs the lower deck a little bit, so we screwed a 2x4 into the lower deck along the edge and Tom built a framework out from that 2x4 and also out from the post at the front, having it meet where we wanted the corner to be.

under-deck enclosure with access door

We could then attach the vertical boards along the side to the joists on the underside of the deck and to the 2x4. This one took a bit of work because we had to go down the steps as well as cutting out around the beams. Tom spent a fair amount of time lying under the deck, working in the near dark, with me trying to direct him from the outside. Finishing up the front right-hand side was a piece of cake after that.

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

The door was built nearly the same way as the sides. We attached top and bottom horizontal boards to the posts, as if we were going to enclose it all, except they were just attached with finishing nails so that they could easily be pulled out.

under-deck enclosure with access door

The vertical boards were then attached with screws to the support boards. Four barrel bolts were added - two top, two bottom - between the door and the sides. These bolts will keep the door in place when it's closed.

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

We then added two handles to make the door easier to lift in and out of place. Once the hardware was in, the bolts were unlocked and Tom pulled the door outwards so that the nails holding it to the deck would let go. He then pulled/snipped off any nails or screw ends that were sticking out of the back. The door can then go back in place and the bolts hold it secure.

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

Tom was against this project initially, but even with just the first side done he admitted that the deck looked so much better. The wood we used was MicroPro Sienna, which is a new type of pressure-treated wood that is treated with a more environmentally friendly preservative than traditional green lumber.

MicroPro Sienna

I like the redwood stain colour that it comes in - I wish it had been available when we were re-building our deck a few years ago. We might have to stain the upper part now just to match!

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

We used 1x6x8' boards and calculated that we'd need 32, about $125 total plus $15 in hardware. We ended up taking 5 boards back, and had about 2 full boards worth of wastage - only 1 bad cut! - so all in all, not an expensive project.

under-deck enclosure with access door

The dogs are a little disappointed that they can't go under the deck, but there's still a slight overhang at the front that Sasha makes sure to use every day. And Chloe hung out under there as much as she could while we were working on it. She probably thought we were building her a doghouse.

under-deck enclosure with access door

The other one spent the day trying to figure out how to get out of the yard. Good thing she's cute 'cause those brains aren't going to take her far.

under-deck enclosure with access door

The new soil is being delivered this week and if we're lucky (ha, ha!) we might even get the sod in place by the end of the weekend.

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door

under-deck enclosure with access door



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