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Old 05-09-2013, 01:42 PM
Location: West Chester, PA
49 posts, read 92,655 times
Reputation: 21


*If you don't want to read everything just focus on main question in bold
My fiancee and I are closing on our house on May 22nd. It is a nice single family home on a half acre. It is a bit of a fixer upper in a sense since it is 50 years old and certain things are out of date and not up to today's standards. Luckily for us we are closing right before the holiday weekends, which no one in our families do anything for, so we will have friends and family at our disposal for cleaning and work.

I am putting somewhat a schedule and timeline together and wanted to know how long and how many people would it take to take down a second story elevated deck provided we have all the required equipment(saws, pry bar, hammers, etc...)? Is it realistic to be able to take it down in a day with the help of 2-3 other guys and myself?

That is the main question I have, however if anyone has any input on the following areas please feel free to chime in as well.
-We are having an estimate for refinishing hardwood floors the day after we close just to get a professionals opinion on the condition of the floors. During our tour and home inspection, the floors did not appear to be nicely finished, and there were a couple stains. If they recommend full sand and refinish, we will likely do that ourselves and rent the sanders they have a lowe's that are more user friendly than a drum sander. The house is about 60-70% hardwood floors so I'd rather sweat and do it myself than pay big bucks to have it done. We aren't planning on moving in right away so we would have any obstacles.

-Painting. Likely going to be painting everyroom except the kitchen. Should we do this before or after the floors? We are bought paint and supplies at the 40% off Sherwin Williams sale a few weeks ago.

- We are also planning on installing central air, since there is only Natural Gas Hot water baseboards. My dad is an hvac tech so once he recovers from his recent surgery he is going to do that for us, as well as some electrical cleanup.

-I've done a ton of research so far, but if anyone wants to provide some tips for the transition from apartment to first time home buyer life(we have our apartment til mid-June so plenty of time to do work and what-not before we actually move in) I'd appreciate that.

Sorry for the long post
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:14 PM
5,075 posts, read 11,141,486 times
Reputation: 4669
Posting the dimensions of the deck would help. Is it 10x10 40x200?
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:09 PM
Location: Alaska
5,356 posts, read 18,603,153 times
Reputation: 4072
How far off the ground is the deck? I was able to remove a 6'x10' deck, 6' off the ground, by myself in about 3 hours. Initially, I was just replacing the deck boards, but after pulling them off, one joist was completely rotten (previous owners hid it by sandwiching it between two boards), and two others were on their way. I bought a corded reciprocating saw that made short work of the removal. Do get extra blades as you'll likely bend a couple. If the deck is above 6', add a little time for moving ladders, but do as much as you can from the deck. For instance, pry up the deck boards and lay them back down. Then work your way back to the door.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:22 PM
Location: Houston, Texas
10,447 posts, read 49,802,479 times
Reputation: 10623
No self respecting Contractor would let the homeowner help them with any task. Is that what you have in mind? Professionals can knock out virtually any size deck demo in just a few hours. And obviously they have the tools needed. Even you and a few friends can demo even a large deck in less then 5 hours and place it in a dumpster.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:30 PM
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 18,229,183 times
Reputation: 10356
Way less than a day for the deck, depending how big it is. Half a day or so, probably.

Do the bulk of the painting before the floors. So baseboard/quarter round/basic touch up after the floors.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:03 PM
Location: Johns Creek, GA
17,532 posts, read 66,580,145 times
Reputation: 23735
If there's nothing under the deck-
I can have it "down" in 10mins. Chainsaws are wonderful for that.
Once it's on the ground- chainsaw through every joist cavity and carry to roll-off.

Three guys- down, cut up, cleaned up, and gone; 3hrs.

Did I mention how much fun demo is?
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:19 PM
41,813 posts, read 51,318,365 times
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Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post

Did I mention how much fun demo is?
I worked construction for short time in my youth, we were demoing these walls inside a commercial building that were about 20 feet high. We just cut off what was attaching them to the ceiling and then cut about 10 foot sections. Then the fun started with the gasoline powered wheel barrow... Timber! LOL.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:21 AM
Location: Spring Hill, Florida
3,178 posts, read 6,872,573 times
Reputation: 3593
As a former PA resident (from the 'burbs on the other side of Philly), you might want to make sure you don't need a permit to demo that deck... Nosy neighbors might turn you in to code enforcement. I don't know if you need a permit or not, but it may be a good idea to check into it.

This might apply to you:


Best of luck.
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:57 AM
4,761 posts, read 14,358,681 times
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The thing with that is safety. A 2nd story deck has a LOT of "potential energy" should it fall. Just one board falling on someone could do a lot of damage.

So it may be best to take it down one board at a time. Or use a crane to support the weight while the supports are removed, then lower it down.

Or maybe if it is supported by posts from below on all sides, unfasten anything connecting it to the house, then get a long cable and pull it down with a truck or whatever.

Once it is safely on the ground, then you can quickly chop it up with a chainsaw and haul it off.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:16 AM
Location: West Chester, PA
49 posts, read 92,655 times
Reputation: 21
Thanks for the tips guys, all very good information. Deck is roughly 10 by 15...maybe 12x20. We really didn't go on it once we saw the structure. Sellers are giving us credit to rebuild though which is great.

We are in West Whiteland, but I'll talk to them about permit for demo...we are rebuilding the deck so I need to get a permit for that. I just went to get the deck down asap since it is not structurally sound...and prefer to not use my new homeowner's insurance policy so soon

Last edited by jzamorski113; 05-10-2013 at 10:27 AM..
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