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Discussion Starter #1
I'm finding myself with more time than money and really need to tear out my completely rotten on ground deck. Especially now with the time vs money situation I think pavers are going to be the way to go. I have seen some videos and think I got a pretty good handle on the ground prep and compacting.

I'm in Minnesota so I do have to deal with hard freezing and snow and ice.

Questions I have remaining are 3

#1 there is currently a ledger board from the deck pretty much ending at the level where the pavers will be. When we had the siding done a few years ago they installed the proper metal strip n such so I'm kinda thinking we should just leave that in place and come up with a creative way to decorate it and the metal ledge. I do have a chunk of it that is missing from earlier adventures but maybe that will be solved with question #2.

#2 is its about 20" from where this patio will be to the main entrance to the house. I was assuming it would be easy to build a mini retaining wall sort of steps and compact and do pavers or maybe larger stones for the steps? Right now the first steps are about 30' away at the driveway and the last step is from whats left of the deck into the door. Could I just build up more class 5 and make it kinda like it is now with the deck about 14" up then slope down the 14" over 24' to meet the driveway? The whole area is about 350 square feet so I don't think more class 5 will kill me to raise half of it 14". Thats only another 6 or so yards of material so another $150 on the $1500 in materials already planned.

If I did do the build up that would mean material against the ledger board. I think its treated wood but that doesn't seem like the best idea. I wondered about replacing it with ridged foam insulation? That should not rot and would give some flexibility? Or just some metal flashing against the board? Metal flashing against the foam? We have gutters and lots of slope away from the house so water really should not be an issue.

#3 at the end of this patio before the good condition asphalt driveway is a gutter downspout. Right now it just dumps under the deck and we hardly ever notice water running into the grass. Guessing what would be the best plan is to put in one of those drain boxes and a drain pipe running down hill into the nearby woods? How deep below the paver surface should that be? I have a limit as to how deep it could be because right there happens to be where all my utilities come in. Do I get some larger stones to bridge over the drain pipe? So I won't have much compacted material over that area?

Kinda on that last subject is there any concerns about compacting over burried gas and electrical lines?
 

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Not an expert on your situation but here are some thoughts. #1&2 - The ledger board is probably treated but not for ground contact so I wouldn't bring in dirt/class 5 up against it even with metal flashing. It could be replaced with a "structural treated" board. However, the existing board is probably nailed/screwed or lagged to the rim joist. If the board is replaced, I would not want any water penetration around it into the rim joist and potentially rot that area down the road.

Without pictures I am having a tough time envisioning it completely. What about a step from the ground pavers up to the top of them ledger board to get into the house. This eliminates the rot mentioned above. There maybe code requirements of it being a "landing" (bigger area) than just a step.

#3 - I have several concerns with burying gutter discharges. One is the weather. In MN, if there is standing water int he pipe it will freeze and next thing you know we get rain. You do not want any water to be trapped so you have to have a good slope and open end (not in a pea gravel pit). Then the other concern is what is your lot like, do you have a lot of leaves, pine needles etc that could plug up the discharge pipe? I would go 2' below paver base and make sure it is compacted good before you put down pavers. Your pipe should be solid wall under pavers, after that you could go drain tile with a cloth sleeve. Maybe better to go solid pipe the whole way in case you have to snake it at a later point for cleanout.
 

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I'm finding myself with more time than money and really need to tear out my completely rotten on ground deck. Especially now with the time vs money situation I think pavers are going to be the way to go. I have seen some videos and think I got a pretty good handle on the ground prep and compacting.

I'm in Minnesota so I do have to deal with hard freezing and snow and ice.

Questions I have remaining are 3

#1 there is currently a ledger board from the deck pretty much ending at the level where the pavers will be. When we had the siding done a few years ago they installed the proper metal strip n such so I'm kinda thinking we should just leave that in place and come up with a creative way to decorate it and the metal ledge. I do have a chunk of it that is missing from earlier adventures but maybe that will be solved with question #2.

#2 is its about 20" from where this patio will be to the main entrance to the house. I was assuming it would be easy to build a mini retaining wall sort of steps and compact and do pavers or maybe larger stones for the steps? Right now the first steps are about 30' away at the driveway and the last step is from whats left of the deck into the door. Could I just build up more class 5 and make it kinda like it is now with the deck about 14" up then slope down the 14" over 24' to meet the driveway? The whole area is about 350 square feet so I don't think more class 5 will kill me to raise half of it 14". Thats only another 6 or so yards of material so another $150 on the $1500 in materials already planned.

If I did do the build up that would mean material against the ledger board. I think its treated wood but that doesn't seem like the best idea. I wondered about replacing it with ridged foam insulation? That should not rot and would give some flexibility? Or just some metal flashing against the board? Metal flashing against the foam? We have gutters and lots of slope away from the house so water really should not be an issue.

#3 at the end of this patio before the good condition asphalt driveway is a gutter downspout. Right now it just dumps under the deck and we hardly ever notice water running into the grass. Guessing what would be the best plan is to put in one of those drain boxes and a drain pipe running down hill into the nearby woods? How deep below the paver surface should that be? I have a limit as to how deep it could be because right there happens to be where all my utilities come in. Do I get some larger stones to bridge over the drain pipe? So I won't have much compacted material over that area?

Kinda on that last subject is there any concerns about compacting over burried gas and electrical lines?
A picture is worth a thousand words...

Too hard to give ya advice without seeing it. We could end up talking about something meaningless, ignoring something important, making things worse without the knowledge of a more complete picture.

Trenches always settle. That's what all those line cracks are in parking lots - power for lights, or some other underground like plumbing. In residential building, we only ever worry about getting below the frost line for the house footing and plumbing. So you will experience freeze / thaw and up / down movement on anything built above that. Worse if disturbed ground like over those trenches.

Never bury anything that wasn't meant to sit in water because that's what it'll be doing. As earth graders, we're not supposed to bury above brick ledge even. We grade to the brick ledge - the lowest brick because the waterproofing only goes that high with a fudge of 8 or 10 inches above that for snow and rain against the exterior wall. That's why siding has the concrete reveal below it. The siding is not meant to be in water. Neither is any ledger board.

Surface drainage is always prefered to underground when talking small areas like around a house. When you go with underground drainage you run into the exact thing mentioned above. Water can freeze in the pipe and thus stop your drainage and go unknown for sometime. A mansion with underground drainage for the roof's downspouts had a low spot from settling and / or poor installation. Water settled and froze in that low spot when the cold air moved in. That frozen-water plug along with another low spot in a pipe in the attic on 2 other roof drains blocked 1/2 the downspouts drainage all the way up to the roof. When temps and sunlight were just right, the flat roof snow and ice melted, flooded and that weight broke lose a fitting in the attic where the roof drains drained to. The fitting in the attic pulled apart and leaked much of the flat roof's flood thru the ceiling and onto the fourth floor living area. All from a clogged downspout drain out in the yard and one in the attic. I diagnosed this particular home. Homeowner thought his flat roof was leaking. Nope. It was quite waterproof. Like a bathtub with a pulled apart shoe assembly from a clogged drain on down the line filling the pipe up with water / ice.

Hope that helps. Probably not - lol. Pics would tell me so much more....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did rig up a water level and get a laser detector. I think for this I will use the water since the laser seems to be off by a couple inches at 40'. Likely downside to a manual leveled or cheap laser. Its been too dang hot to do anything outside so I have not even got good elevations yet to see where my driveway aligns near the front door.
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overall.jpg
 

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I did rig up a water level and get a laser detector. I think for this I will use the water since the laser seems to be off by a couple inches at 40'. Likely downside to a manual leveled or cheap laser. Its been too dang hot to do anything outside so I have not even got good elevations yet to see where my driveway aligns near the front door. View attachment 635525 View attachment 635525
You don't want to bury any of the house siding. You should actually have a minimum of 4 inches from the bottom of the house siding to the ground. More is better if possible. That's to allow for any water against the house, be it rain splash or snow. You don't want ANY siding buried. You may, however, be right up to it at the door (it has somewhat of an overhang to protect from rain) if the step into the house is gonna be too high.

You need positive drainage away from the house. I can't see where the bottom of your siding is, but it doesn't actually look like the yard is lower than that. Meaning you may need to create your own swale (ditch) to carry the water away from the house if there's not gonna be a slope from the 4 inches below the siding out to the yard. What that means is a slight ditch that's lower than the 4 inches below the siding and lower than the first part of the yard you come to. It won't work well with permeable pavers though because collecting water in an area of them as opposed to it just running across them will most likely wash out the sand filler between and under them in that now to be saturated area. You could do a grated drain channel like this:
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And then just have to keep it cleared of debris so that it always flows and not overflows. You could also tie in the downspout to it that you mentioned into the part of the channel that becomes just pipe.

You don't need much cover over pipe if it's only foot traffic and heavy enough schedule of pipe. It'd be best if you could get all your positive drainage on the surface, however. I just can't tell from the pic if you have it.

Burying siding is not just burying it but also what's behind it - sill plate, rim joist, framing, insulation, crawl space or basement on the inside. You're not on a slab, right? Stuff that is not waterproofed is not meant to be buried, including the siding. You will get rot. You may discover you already have it once you tear off the ledger board.
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They typically only run the siding down below the non-waterproofed framing about 4 inches, but no guarantees. Don't bury any siding and you won't have to worry about it. While crawl space concrete can get buried and wet, if it's too wet you will have a musty moldy crawl space as the water / moisture seeps in. And the top of a crawl space is your subfloor lumber. Basement walls get buried, but they're waterproofed. And they even leak when there's not good drainage.

Once the deck is out, run a string line from hopefully 4 inches below the bottom of the siding at the front door out away from the house to the yard where you need to meet grade and out towards the pavement you need to meet grade. Then you'll see if you have the slope for positive drainage. They did not "bury" your siding using a deck. But stone and pavers at that same finished elevation will. Not good. Top of your pavers need to be below the siding, unlike the deck is. Note that the slope can be straight out from the wall of the front door and then once away from the house, slope again towards the blacktop. Meaning grade against the house can be level from the front door towards the black top. That means it'd be the same reveal below the siding all the way across... if you like.

7/11. Typical steps are 7 inches high, 11 inches deep, roughly. But you could go a smaller height step. Just know with too low a step, people don't realize there's one and often miss it. I'm guessing you will have a step into the house in order to avoid burying stuff that will rot. As such, you have even less slope to carry the water away from the house.

There's a lot to figure, especially when it's something new to ya. I've done grading and building for ages. Any way I can help, I shall try.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here is a better pic of the siding and ledger board. I will have to go out and re check with both my laser and water level but I think the driveway is a couple inches below that one low section of siding. The ledger board continues around all the way to the driveway. The section in this photo was done when we did the siding a few years ago. There was some serious rot in that corner, we had to replace some of the studs it was so bad.

The next section of board under the door I had out a couple years ago to fix a mouse hole. What was there was there against the rim joist was Styrofoam insulation. After removing it and plugging the mouse holes I put a layer of durock on then the ledger board and half assed deck back. That is about a 12' section. After that its against the garage which is what most people call buffalo board below the siding. I will include a pic of that transition too. If I go level from the driveway the top of the pavers will be about where the leaves are in that photo with the durock and buffalo board.

Outside the door I think I want to stay with that 12x12 area which is how far that new ledger board goes. After that we can go to 8' for the 24' length of the garage to meet the driveway. From that 8' its about 12' to the 'woods'. At the start of the woods the grade drops about 16" so plenty of slope away from the house. The rain gutter is right at the transition from patio to driveway.
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57diesel - From the last picture, it looks like your ledger board is sitting on the top edge of the block foundation. I also can't tell with the leaves how high up the ground is to the top of what looks like the block foundation. As MP said, that should be minimum of 4". You might want to check code to see if there needs to be a "landing" outside your door. (ie: can't immediately have a step down, which I think is the case.) If so, the top of your landing would be approx 7" higher than your pavers.

MP also had a great idea with that grate. You would be able to clean it out and wouldn't have to worry about settling. Only downside I see is that in the winter that would fill up with snow/ice so you may have to use hot water to clean out if you get an early rain before things melt.

Then from your first picture, there doesn't seem to be any slope away from the old deck. As mentioned before you may need to put a swale in to direct water away from the house.

MP has a lot of great idea's/thoughts. Maybe he has to leave the great state of NV and come to MN and help you and Waltz out. 😂
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I believe the leaves would be the finished height of the pavers if I just stay level from the driveway. Staying 4" from the siding is no problem but I don't think I can easily be 4" below the rim joist. Could I put the ice block stuff up under that flashing that is on top of the ledger board then stand up 1 1/2" thick bricks to basically replace the ledger boards?

I can easily slope away from the house, the existing grade drops over a foot in about 20 feet.
 

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Here is a better pic of the siding and ledger board. I will have to go out and re check with both my laser and water level but I think the driveway is a couple inches below that one low section of siding. The ledger board continues around all the way to the driveway. The section in this photo was done when we did the siding a few years ago. There was some serious rot in that corner, we had to replace some of the studs it was so bad.

The next section of board under the door I had out a couple years ago to fix a mouse hole. What was there was there against the rim joist was Styrofoam insulation. After removing it and plugging the mouse holes I put a layer of durock on then the ledger board and half assed deck back. That is about a 12' section. After that its against the garage which is what most people call buffalo board below the siding. I will include a pic of that transition too. If I go level from the driveway the top of the pavers will be about where the leaves are in that photo with the durock and buffalo board.

Outside the door I think I want to stay with that 12x12 area which is how far that new ledger board goes. After that we can go to 8' for the 24' length of the garage to meet the driveway. From that 8' its about 12' to the 'woods'. At the start of the woods the grade drops about 16" so plenty of slope away from the house. The rain gutter is right at the transition from patio to driveway. View attachment 635541 View attachment 635542
Is there no house wrap - tarpaper, Tyvek, etc.? Or do you think they merely used rigid foam as house wrap since you said there was foam board you removed?

I can see how little reveal you have below the siding - how high / close the ground is to the bottom of the siding and thus what's behind it. That explains the rim joist and stud rotting. Common in older construction. Even today too many ignore the importance of a dry environment against the house. If you didn't know, Durock is often misused with people thinking it's waterproof. It's not. It can handle a lot of moisture and resist "rotting", but it will crubmle if left in contact with water. In wet environments like showers and such, it requires waterproofing such as RedGard. But in this situation, the idea, if you had rigid foam as house wrap, was a continuous layer of sealed at the seems rigid foam. I don't see the Durock doing ya much good in this application other than as a filler that takes longer to be destroyed by water than lumber.

You have what you have to work with. To avoid creating more rot, I'd be most concerned in trying to keep the grade below the siding as much as possible. Including at the door with the rather small overhang. It looks like you don't even have 4 inches from siding (or rim joist) to ground. And you can see what wet leaves against the house will do.

For pitch, 2 inches is not a lot to work with. Without a grade plan, we opt for at least 3 inches of drop in 10 feet out from the house as a minimum. Once away from the house, it's much less important. Worst one I recall was less than 3 inches of pitch across a backyard swale of about 100 feet. Anyhow, do all you can to get the water away from the house with pitch, using most of what you have there. Meaning, don't go flat or near flat with the pavers (or grade) as they move away from the house. That grates looking better all the time - lol. Like gutters, that grate can be near flat, just "crack a bubble" on the level if need be. Also, if it would help, you may wanna consider grading the yard. I don't see that you'll be destroying any grass and if a regrade of the yard to utilize that drop off to the woods would help....

Also, from the pics, it looks like you could run your swale or grate drain along the side of the driveway which could get you more pitch than if you did surface drainage to meet the top of the drive.

Lastly, grading contractors can be a wealth of information. Rain water management is so overlooked by nearly everybody.... except grading contractors - lol, because the damage from poor water management can take years to show up. So, if you hire an equipment contractor to come grade the yard (or just for advice), don't just hire any old excavator or guy that has / runs equipment. Make sure they are actually a grading contractor. One site visit and he'll immediately see all these considerations I am trying to see in pics. Show him my comments, even. Just any old equipment contractor won't see it. And, when people ask me "is it really that big a deal about the water" I'll usually point out the power of water by saying "Grand Canyon." Try and always think of water as like a shingled roof. Always imagining water needing to shed down and over something. Like the lap siding. Imagine if a shingled roof was near flat level or you did lap siding on a near flat level surface. The water will seep back under it. Even get wicked up by the underlying non-waterproofed building materials. And the rot begins. I've even seen mushrooms growing in the carpet near an exterior wall corner, behind a big floor TV. They didn't know.
 

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I believe the leaves would be the finished height of the pavers if I just stay level from the driveway. Staying 4" from the siding is no problem but I don't think I can easily be 4" below the rim joist. Could I put the ice block stuff up under that flashing that is on top of the ledger board then stand up 1 1/2" thick bricks to basically replace the ledger boards?

I can easily slope away from the house, the existing grade drops over a foot in about 20 feet.
I don't see that the membrane would hurt, except....

IF the above house wrap (what's under the siding and before the studs or plywood / OSB) is not working properly, if you add a waterproofing membrane down lower, you could actually now trap water that gets behind the siding higher up and now has no exit below. It's the very reason there is a drain channel (gap) at the bottom of stucco walls and why you don't caulk the laps in your siding. So any water that gets in above can get out below. They also make a window flashing self-sticking rubber membrane that I think would be easier. Again, consider the above about trapping water.

I see what you wanna do with the bricks. You're trying to avoid repairing the siding, right? I like the idea of the brick. That'll probably look nice next to the pavers. I just don't have much faith that you'll get a good seal behind the flashing without removing the flashing or that you won't trap water if the siding has any water getting behind it. Pull back some siding and see if you see any signs of water getting behind the siding, making sure you're not just seeing water that splashed up from the ground, given how close the ground is to the siding. And remember the shedding / shingle thing. The membrane needs to be UNDER the existing flashing, wrap or whatever waterproofing is above it. Hard to do if you don't remove it.
 

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On second thought, maybe instead of the membrane over the rim joists... since it's getting covered anyhow and you can't get the membrane UNDER the flashing... perhaps consider Henry's tar in a bucket (made for roof repairs, penetrations) and fiberglass mesh tape for the gaps. You're just trying to give the rim joist waterproofing and while I won't ever admit this is proper procedure.... :whistle: Seems to me the brushed on tar and mesh tape is less likley to create a trap. Just don't tape the very top. This way, you are not actually creating the shedding idea. Just coating the lumber for a makeshift waterproofing while allowing whatever shedding above that was happening to continue to happen. No promises though. lol.

Basement walls use a similar product for waterproofing.
 

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...Its been too dang hot to do anything outside...
Too hot, you say? This was us yesterday:
IMG_20200712_133052.jpg


And it's not even August yet! But hey, it's a dry heat - lol.

Yes, the sending unit is in the shade.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The house originally just had Styrofoam right on the studs and then cedar plywood paneling siding. Before we bought the house we made a deal with the previous owner to fix it up and at the time the deck looked alright and seemed like a good idea so we didn't mess with it except where we had to remove it to repair damage at that one end that is painted nice in the photo. We stripped it down to sheetrock and studs. Closed cell spray foam. Real wood sheathing. Tyvek. Hardyboard siding.

I think the Tyvek goes down below the new painted ledger board but ends over that metal flashing on the old ledger boards. I think I remember they laid that flashing on the top of the ledger then stapled that and the Tyvek down. I will have to go look close, I don't remember what that piece just above where the deck board would go is.

I may just put this project off again. Most contractors don't show up to do a bid. The couple that did show up one still has not sent a bid and the other just didn't feel right. I think one problem other than they are all pretty busy is with all this rim joist crap its almost multiple contractors. The guys that move dirt and brick don't really do wood and siding and the siding guys don't do dirt.
 

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The house originally just had Styrofoam right on the studs and then cedar plywood paneling siding. Before we bought the house we made a deal with the previous owner to fix it up and at the time the deck looked alright and seemed like a good idea so we didn't mess with it except where we had to remove it to repair damage at that one end that is painted nice in the photo. We stripped it down to sheetrock and studs. Closed cell spray foam. Real wood sheathing. Tyvek. Hardyboard siding.

I think the Tyvek goes down below the new painted ledger board but ends over that metal flashing on the old ledger boards. I think I remember they laid that flashing on the top of the ledger then stapled that and the Tyvek down. I will have to go look close, I don't remember what that piece just above where the deck board would go is.

I may just put this project off again. Most contractors don't show up to do a bid. The couple that did show up one still has not sent a bid and the other just didn't feel right. I think one problem other than they are all pretty busy is with all this rim joist crap its almost multiple contractors. The guys that move dirt and brick don't really do wood and siding and the siding guys don't do dirt.
I suggest grading contractors just so you can solve your water at the house issues. If he can cut it down and regrade all that area with the proper drainage, then you can go do all your rebuilding. A grading contractor probably won't know a thing about Tyvek or flashing. But he sure would about not burying siding. If he doesn't, he's not a grade man. Keep looking. haha
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I finally finished my improved buy me some time hack job. Got some new OSB but this time painted it with a product called 'deck renu' which is special paint made for wood decks. One cool thing is it actually has some grit in it so maybe it won't be so slippery when wet.

Unpainted the last stuff lasted a couple years so this should last longer if needed. At the seams this time I also cut them to align better and then scabbed a second 2x on so each piece is on its own 2x rather than sharing one. I think they will have much more support plus the screws wont be as close to the edges. Those seams were the first to fail on the unpainted stuff.

I'm glad I decided to just do the hack again because as I kinda expected I kinda ended up doing 97.34% of the work myself and being an older fat guy it darn near killed me. I'm pretty sure if I had decided to try and do the whole project I would have ended up doing a lot myself too. Strange how all the people that said they could help were busy that day?

The other reason I decided not to go for it was the cost. Even if we don't all end up dead like the news says we already are there are no signs that my industry will be back anytime soon so money is gonna get tight.
 
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