DIY – We Built a Deck!

DIY – We Built a Deck!

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.

wpid-dsc_0053.jpgThe inside of the dreaded hot tub. If only it were a time machine… I’d go back in time and stop the previous owners from putting it in altogether.


The demolition begins. We used a sawzall to cut through the fibreglass. A chainsaw would have done the trick too. wpid-1430580695738.jpg

The BBQ calmly waiting for the deck to be built. wpid-1430585664216.jpg wpid-dsc_0068.jpg

This is the gross, rotted, mildewy, mouldy mess that was the base of the hot tub.

wpid-dsc_0056_1.jpgMy dad (left) and my hubby (right) moving the last bit of the hot tub out of the way of where the deck would be. It was so waterlogged that it must have weighed close to 300 pounds.

wpid-dsc_0059_1.jpgEveryone super excited that the hot tub has been destroyed and deck building can begin (That’s my friend, Danielle, on the left who stopped by to see our progress and bring us beer. She’s a gem).


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.
Some basic measurements

wpid-dsc_0064.jpg wpid-dsc_0063.jpg

wpid-dsc_0067_1.jpg wpid-1430596362303.jpgwpid-1430608238116.jpg wpid-1430607984964.jpg wpid-1430605013479.jpg  wpid-dsc_0070.jpgwpid-1430686529531.jpgwpid-1430690846205.jpgwpid-1430690830980.jpgwpid-1430690810557.jpgwpid-dsc_0072.jpgTa-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!


29 thoughts on “DIY – We Built a Deck!

  1. WOW!!!! Your deck is beautiful Mel & Brandon! I just love it. You two continue to amaze me with all that you have done with your new home. I am so proud of both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks GREAT my #satanicbestie !!!!!! Good work!!!

    Our house was built in ’77 and it is at the top of a crescent on our block so it’s been settling now for some time. We’ve also recently started having earthquakes here so the other day I woke up and some of my tile I tiled around a corner of my hallway were loose and falling away from the wall.

    I spent the weekend re-gluing them (and some other loose tiles here and there) and have to grout them this weekend. UGH!



    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant post Mel!! Absolutely great! So fascinating and I loved seeing the pictures of your family (and amazing beer bringing friend!) all working together and happy in the sunshine. I love seeing bits of bloggers ‘real’ life, find it so interesting.

    Your deck looks brilliant! I just wish I could stop by with a new-deck gift 🙂

    I hope you have many happy summers out on the deck and I’m sure you will!

    Your dad is a real hero by the way, love dads and their bottomless knowledge! No matter how old we get it’s still “dad…?” haha 🙂

    The dreaded hot tub!!!!! I must admit if you were eleven years old it would make a fun time machine / fort / base / club house!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Emma! I’m super excited to spend time out there this summer and if you happen to be near Toronto, stop by!! Haha!
      I don’t know how dads know everything but I’m glad my dad’s so handy (I would have been completely lost otherwise)!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First, that is awesome. Second, if time travel movies have taught me anything, it is that maybe that hot tub was a time machine and you used it to go back and convince the owners to put it in so that they would neglect it when they were married so that you could get rid of it because predestination.

    Liked by 1 person

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