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Buildings and Renovations

Epic DIY Deck Project 8- Rocking Out the Deck Rails

5 Sep , 2014  

Epic-DIY-Deck-8-thumb The Epic DIY Deck Project is almost finished. Had to finish off the deck railing, add a few more deck boards, stairs and finishing touches. Had the chance to head out to the cabin on the Labour Day Long Weekend. The focus was to get the railing completed and get some close-ups on some of the steps. Hopefully the video has answered any of my viewer questions. If not, feel free to give me a shout.

Also, I wanted to mention that the entire deck rail project, except for the handrail, didn’t cost me a dime. It was all scavenged from a massive back yard play fort I dismantled 3 years ago. Aside from the tear down time, space it took for storage, I saved over $441.00!

Here’s the breakdown:

(12) 2″ x 4″x 6′ Western Red Cedar Drilled Rail $9.66 each Total $117.00 (Free)

(6) Veranda Horizontal Rail Kit $54.00 each Total $324 (Free)

(7) 4″ x 4″ x 50″ Rail Post $8.00 each Total $56.00 (Free)

(2) 2 x 6 x 18′ Cedar top rail (Utility grade) $9.00 each Total $18.00 (Paid)

(50) 3″ Deck screws $8.00 (Paid)

(16) 3/8″ x 7″ Hot dipped Galvanized bolts Total $14.00 (Paid)

Note: I’m encountering problems with the exposure settings on the HD camcorder. Sorry, if some of video looks washed out.

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Buildings and Renovations,End Cuts

Epic DIY Deck Project 7: Tips For Deck Boards

29 Aug , 2014  

IMG_5728 I took a couple days off my full-time job and worked at getting most of the deck boards down. As I was securing the planks down, I ran into a few problems. For example, I miscalculated how much lumber I actually had in-stock and was short by a 120 lineal feet. Lucky for me, I had a bunch of 5/4″ x 6″ pressure treated boards left over from a scavenged mission and got them laid down.


Buildings and Renovations

Great Lumber Deal, Buying Bulk and Gift Cards

12 Aug , 2014  

Screen shot 2014-08-12 at 12.18.43 PM The following video will hopefully show people how to find deals on lumber and hardware for big projects. It doesn’t hurt to hunt around the local lumber yards and find materials that at first might look bad, but after some elbow grease, can be new again.

The lumber used for this deck project is Western Red Cedar. I like it because it’s naturally resistant to bugs and rot, but, it cost quite a bit more than pressure treated. It’s high in demand and hard to find for a good price. Three years ago, I purchased it at 50 cents a lineal foot, now the average price is $1.70. Wow! That hurts the budget.

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Buildings and Renovations

Epic DIY Deck Project -Part 5- Cedar Decking and a Helping Hand

25 Jul , 2014  

My son hold the set square. He had no problems walking on the joists.

My son hold the set square. He had no problems walking on the joists.

Another instalment of the Epic DIY Deck Project series. The plan for the July 18th – 20th weekend was get the blocking finished between the joists, change out some of the lags screws with bolts, secure the house flashing and start to install the deck boards.

The blocking went quickly with two people. The air nailer was a little heavy for my helper, but, we worked out a system.  After the 2″ x 8″ x 14.5″ pieces were installed between the joists, we started the slow task of swapping out the 8″ lag screws from the large 6 inch x  6 inch post with the 7  inch carriage bolts and nuts.

Next, it was fishing out the long 2″ x 6″ x 16′, 18′ and 20′ cedar boards. (They were being saved for about 3 years). After throwing a few on the deck, I realized it was much longer than originally estimated. The entire deck surface was 34′ long. It made it more tricky for laying out the boards. DSC00122 There is a rule of thumb: seam should not repeated twice in a row. I had to figure out the best way to spread out the long board lengths. The best way was divide the length of the board by 16. (16 inches on center) If you get a an even number, the plank will work in-between the joists. For example, 20 footer is 240 inches (12 inches x 20). Divide 240 by 16 = 15. So a 20 foot board will cover 15 joist spans.  But it doesn’t work for an 18 footer (18 feet x 12 inches =216 inches. Then divide by 16 inches =13.5. I would have to cut half a foot (6 inches) off the board for it fit onto 13 span widths. So, it’s like a game to find the right amount of boards for coverage with the least amount of waste. I found that a 20 footer and 12 footer worked well.

A big bonus for the weekend, I hired my 10 year son as a worker. My son was more than willing to try the power tools and do some hammering. He was also a huge help in carrying lumber, air nailing and using the impact drill. (All my  kids are trained on power tools) All I had to do was keep him busy, fed and an occasional soda at coffee break.

Hope this series has been interesting and helpful for other people who plan on building a deck by themselves.


The is the progress on Saturday. Finished the blocking, replaced some hardware and ready to flash close to the wall.


Close up of the cedar deck lumber. I love the colour!


You can see the “shim” 1/2″ birch plywood inserted below the decking


The longer boards hide the different heights of the deck

Music Credit: Eviction, by Silent Partner,

Buildings and Renovations

The Epic DIY Deck Project- Part 3B- More Joists & Minor Fix

14 Jul , 2014  

IMG_5581 Just got back from a weekend of working on the deck. Thought I would give a short update.
The plan for this weekend was to get a bit further with the 2″ x 8″ joists. (The joists is what the deck boards sit on)

The first step was to buy the (15) 2″ x 8″ x 12′ lumber and then transport the lumber to our remote cabin in the mountains. These are times I wish I had a pickup truck. But, I don’t. So, with all the seats down and ratchet binders handy, I managed to load the boards into the car and get most of the weight over the middle of the vehicle. Once the tailgate was secure, there wasn’t any noticeable drag and the car did well. The drive up the mountain passes went OK and the journey took about 4 hours.

Once we arrived to the remote cabin, my 9-year-old son lent a IMG_5578 hand unloading and help measure 130 inches from the end of the 2″ x 8″ boards. The leftover material will be used as blocking in-between the joists.

Next, the mitre saw, compressor, nails and generator had to be relocated. After a few trips getting supplies stored under the cabin, I noticed it was difficult to carry stuff when your posture is crouched over. Sooner or later, I would smash my head on a board. It took a few extra minutes, but once everything was in place, the generator was fired up and we started to cut boards and get an assembly line going. After slinging, measure and cut 10 boards, it was time to stop for lunch.
After carbs and coffee, I started to attach the 2″ x 8″ joists to the ledger board. Noticed that the end boards were not touching as closely as they should. The joists hangers would carry the load, but it was still a concern. After studying the ledger board, it looked like it need more support behind the board. That would vertically level out the board. I figured it would take me at least 40 minutes to get everything trimmed out with wedges and 1/2″ x 4″ lag screws. But, there was only a few hours of the day left and so much to do. So, I switched gears and worked on the 2″ x 10″ support beam, notched posts and dig the hole for the support post. The plan was to get the beam ready, secure the post a few inches overtop of the hole, pour the concrete and let it set overnight.

IMG_5580 The process was going well until a neighbour popped over to see what was going on. We started chatting about the deck designs, powers tools and end up sitting around a fire with a few beers. Didn’t get anymore work finished, but it was time to relax.
The next day, my son helped me mix the cement and we got the footing in place. While it set, I went back to the ledger board added a wedge and lagged it with 16 galvanized lag bolts. I pre-drilled the holes, but it still took some elbow grease to secure the lags. After the ledger board was secure, the joist board were re-attached and the gaps were gone.
I’m heading up the following weekend again with more materials and will hopefully get the joists all installed.


Buildings and Renovations

The Epic DIY Deck Project- Part 1- Planning and Digging Holes

21 Oct , 2013  

IMG_5012 The Epic DIY Deck Project was the process of building a huge 10 foot wide by 32 foot long deck by one person.
It was for our cabin (aka Cedar Workshop Test facility) in the boonies.

Since funds were low, and the place is way off the beaten path, a contractor could not be brought for this project. Hopefully, I can get it started and one of my neighbours will lend a hand for case a beer or homemade, strawberry Rhubarb pie. Read more here…

Music credit: Strange Days by YouTube Creator

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