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Amateur Deck Builder

Spending more time at home in the last few years and watching too many renovation and patio shows on HDTV made me dream. So in 2013, my deck and pool were getting closer to the expiration date, so I started to improvised myself as Paul Lafrance. 4 years later, here where I'm at.


Phase 0

I started by spending a bit of time on the internet searching patio building guidelines, witch I found. I started to establish a list of ideas and elaborate on my vision. The style. the materials, the priories regarding the pool, the sun, the neighbors, the zones for kitchen, lounge, dining table, lighting, sound, garden and of course the budget.

The first plan

It was design with 3 levels, a pool, lounge, dinning section and a landing. There was also a wall for privacy protection.

The I did research to do a budget. Total would have been more than 30K, with was above my 15k planed. The square pool above ground was not affordable. I also didn't want to built a fence if the pool was going to end up in the ground

The second plan

It was to two levels with a big place to have flexibility with the zone. There was a round pool that was way cheaper. The material were going to be a treated wooden frame whit Trex and Tecko blocks.

Total budget, basically 3.5k for the pool, the blocks 3.5K, the Trex composite 1.5k, the treated wood 2.2k, a the fence for the pool 1k and the sonotubes 800$ for a grant total of 14k ish.


Phase 1, The preparation.

So we started the work in April 2014 with the demolition of the old patio. Easy day for the demo but for cleaning and drilling the 24 sonotubes holes was another story. Thanks to my brother in law for using his truck. So we rent a machine but had to review our plan and go bigger. Thank god he operated it. All the levels were done by my dad so we could pour the concrete the next day. We were ready to build.

Phase 2A, Building the deck

We started by the calculation of the material and the ordering. We used treated wood protected by a water resistant membrane. We build the upper deck following by the main section. Everything is screed, bolted and with extra creosoted. The difficulty was to calculates the heights due to the fact Trex is not the same of the Techo-block. It took us around to week and thanks to the help of our neighbors for the carrying of the heavy stones.

Phase 2B, Intergration of the pool, lights, wall and safety.

This is one part of where I did not build it myself. The pool is tricky to build so I ask Piscine Excel to do it. The wall is made of torifed wood. For the rest, my dad and I did most of the work. Mostly in the June afternoon after his golf. After this, we thought we were going to enjoyed the rest of the summer, but this is when thing when out of control budget wise. I needed intimacy protection, so I decided to build a shack. This would be also a great place to put my pool heating device on the roof. This is why the build would be 12-24 and 12 feet high. The maximum allowed by the municipality.

Phase 3, The foundation of the shack

After consulting with my friend Dan and Guy, experts in the department. we started to dig with the neighbors and my sister. They were also doing improvement to their houses. Team work at is best. @4 inches deep on the side and 12 in the middle. No crack so far.


Phase 4, The BBQ

Little winter project to start the year. Buil a inserted Napoleon BBQ with same material of the Shack. Corrugated metal with torified wood. Obviouselly for safety reasons, some parts of the frame is in metal studs.

Phase 5, The intimacy shack

We starded on a cold day of April. It took longer that we thought. Doing the framing was easy, two days. But the metal and architectural panels required a bit more expertise than we expected.

Phase 6, Fine tuning for the 50th

The shack was completed on May 9th. We had to start preparing for the June 27 mom and dad 50th weeding anniversary. Build the stairs landing was the first step using the same Tecko-Block. We also add black soil for laying down the grass. Building and modifying the flower case and covering the base of the deck with vertical Trex. Finally we build the stainless steal fence with was basically uncomfortable. Thank god at this point I decided to stop calculating. Gaetan did some spraying in the garage to paint the furniture and we were ready to entertain the guests.


Phase 7, Simple modifications and the fire-pit.

So during spring we did build a Napoleon inserted fir pit. I did a bit of research on the web to find a custom look. We did use the same tortified wood, metals studs and I order a concrete top from les Ateliers Allard in Drumondville. We also add some tecko block to make the lading more secure.


Phase 8, The roof

After more than a year trying to find a solution and consulting with architect, I fond a solution. Actually my friend Guy, who an architect to me that what I need was shadow places, not a room. o I met with Martin owner of Brisson paysagiste to look at what could be my options with the act that i did not want a post in the middle of the place. Et voilà, the Sunlouvre was installed by Brisson team on May 15th and completed on June 4th. After we did added some torified wood, corrugated metal to blend the look of the tower into the full patio. The tower as lighting and speakers too. We also added landscaping to harmonized and create fluidity.

The video

This a time laps video of the week of the Sunlouvre instalation.

Phase 9, Enjoy!

These picture capture quite a bit the vision I had. I wish I could of seen it globally first rather that making it basically on the fly. That would make my dad and my self job a bit easyer. Especaiially at the end where I could not see how to get shadow and protection from the rain. It would also made a better understanding of the budget. Basically it coast more than 5 times what I did budget at first. Taking in consideration that there was no man paid on this job exept for the pool, pergolas and electrical main to be move, this project would not make sens. This project would of cost more than 150 000$. A non sens form an investment point of you knowing the cost of the house. But at the end, I did it because I wanted it. I wanted to build it with my dad and the help of all my family. Plus I like having breakfast, lunch and dinner outside. Well I and very served and who cares about the cost :)