Hey guys! I know this happened a couple weeks ago and then I never posted the pictures but better late than never, right? Also, I don’t claim to know very much about building decks or anything like that, so I’m just going to share my experiences with you. Actually, the only reason this deck turned out so well is because my dad came over and did all the hard work (showed us how to build the base). Thank goodness for dads who know about decks!
When my husband and I were looking at houses one of the “Must Haves” on our list was an outdoor space with room for a deck/patio. As I’ve mentioned before, we live near Toronto, Canada, and it’s practically freezing all year long. As such, when it is hot out, we want to be outside! We originally looked at this house in early April, so the plants hadn’t started growing in the gardens yet and there was still a little snow left on the ground. Needless to say, we fell in love and had to have it. There was a hot tub in the backyard which was “As Is” but we didn’t think it would be a problem to either fix or get rid of.
When we finally moved in at the end of June, we realized what a struggle we were in for. The previous owners were going through a divorce and I guess there was a “If you’re not going to do it, then I’m not going to do it” mentality because the yard and the gardens had been left to grow wild. Also, I don’t know why we didn’t see it before, but the grass was more weeds than grass. I don’t know all that much about gardening either, but I will do a separate post on that at some point to show you some of the before and after photos.
We then had a neighbour come over and tell us that the hot tub hadn’t been used in seven years and had to be lifted by crane over the fence when it was installed because it was too wide to fit through the gate. Ugh. So now we had to dismantle the hot tube in pieces to get it out because there was no way it was still working. Work work work. The task became more and more daunting so we left it last year, but this year I was determined to get an early start.
This post is going to have a lot of photos because they do the best job explaining what we did. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Here’s what the backyard looked like at the beginning of the day. The backyard and the dreaded hot tub.
This is the gross, rotted, mildewy, mouldy mess that was the base of the hot tub.
Some of remnants of the dreaded hot tub. All in all, it probably took us 4 hours to demolish this and move it out of the way of where the deck would be.
Here comes the part where I try to impart some knowledge of deck building to you. Firstly, the ground was fairly level to begin with and it wasn’t a raised deck so we decided (Dad decided) that we didn’t need to dig posts. Instead we made what is called a Floating Deck (look at how smart and knowledgeable I am!). This means that it isn’t connected to the house structure and we didn’t dig posts for the base or anything. If we wanted to (and were strong enough) we could pick it up and carry it away. Some points about floating decks:
- You don’t want to use this kind of deck if your house is a newer build because the ground around the house has not settled; it hasn’t been compacted over time. Our house was built in 1974 so we’re good there.
- You want to make sure that your footings are relatively wide so if there is sinking, it will be more supported.
- I went to Home Depot and they created a deck design for me that included deck blocks. These are great and you can use them but because our ground was pretty much level and the soil was already compacted, we used patio stones that we had laying around and they worked perfectly. Including these and a bunch of additional stuff that we didn’t need, we were able to get about $280 back in material that we didn’t use. Hold on to your receipt!
- Level, level, level. There were a lot of times where the footings were not quite level and I deemed them “Good Enough” and Dad promptly told me that it was not. It has to be pretty darn near exact. With any luck, we’ll be sitting on this deck in 15 or even 20 years, so you want it to last.
Ta-da! We have ourselves a beautiful deck that we will sit on all summer long and for many summers to come. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Now all I need to do is make myself some sangria, put a steak on the bbq, and maybe throw together a potato salad. Now we’re talking!