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Sunset, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Friday, 7 September 2018

The deck reno has begun! Week One

Tuesday, September 4th, the 3 man crew arrived early at 8 am to start demo on our sundeck. As promised, they cleared our deck of all the furniture, moving it into the basement. (I provided blueberry muffins for their coffee as promised for the help! lol)

There goes the last piece of furniture.

I double locked all of the patio doors and they gave me caution tape to put up. Mostly for visitors.

Roger, the site foreman, got one guy organized to spend his time digging out our perimeter drains as we are getting a "California drain" installed out the basement door that will be tied in with the existing perimeter drains. At the same time Bernie will be hooking up the existing downspouts from the eaves to the perimeter drains as well. Currently they just dump water straight onto the ground.

The other guy, Darren, spent the day taking apart the railings and started on the decking. We tried to save the decking for another project, barn doors for the basement, but they were so tough to get off and rotten that the idea of saving them was scraped. Unfortunately, the timber structure underneath isn't in very good shape either. Ray and I suspect that the whole thing will have to be rebuilt, not just the decking. The biggest problem is my gazebo. I want to keep it, but it is huge and heavy so they will try to work around it and support it from underneath as they go. It probably will have to be shortened a little to cut the water damage off the bottom of the timbers. We shall see. As Darren was taking the deck apart he notticed the previous owner used the wrong screws ... they all rusted and would not let you unscrew them ... the boards had to be ripped off. The supporting timbers have been cut into quite deeply so structually not very good. Not good news.

Yup, that post is really rotten.

More rot.

 Wednesday, they were here at 7am!

More ripping off boards on the deck to investigate the extent of the rot .... not good news, the whole thing needs to be replaced. The deck wasn't even laterally supported as the ledger wasn't tied to the house. My gazebo is going to be a pain for them while restructuring the deck underneath it, but I am not giving it up! I think the plan will be to restructure one half of the deck from the ground up, move the gazebo over to the other side some how and then build the other side and then move it back. I think it ways north of 4000 lbs. We shall see what they come with. Yikes, all I can see is $$$$$$ floating up into the sky! No kidding they were contemplating a helicopter!!!

The other guy, Bernie was jackhammering the small concrete ramp up o the garage. Both sides have cracks by the posts that need to be redone ... what a lot of noise, noise, noise! Our timberframe house responds like a tuning fork! This is in preparation for the concrete driveway being poured at the end of the month.

Some good news, we have approved the plans for the diningroom built-in, the hallway built-in and the new master ensuite vanity. Sounds like these will be built PDQ so the push is on to pick out sinks, faucets, drawer pulls etc. These will be made to mimic our beautiful kitchen cabinetry which is solid maple.

Ray was out this morning trying out his GPS with the fishing motor. Not having much luck getting it set though. A beautiful morning on the lake, no wind and the water brilliant green and clear.

At the end of the day this is what we were left with.... definitely rotten.

So the decision has been made to rebuild it conventionally with treated lumber and scrap the large fir timbers that would be a fortune to replace.

Thursday, they were back at jack hammering at 7 am. Thankfully the neighbours on both sides of us were away this morning. lol

They continued to dissasemble the current deck and put extra supports under the gazebo from the ground to help with the redo.

Ray seeded the little bit of lawn in the back as it is supposed to rain on and off for the next week which makes good lawn growing weather.

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Yup ... rotten. This was holding up the stairs!

The rest of the day they spent cementing in the drains in front of the garage in preparation for the concrete on the driveway.

Friday morning we woke up to a heavy rain shower at 5:10 am for about 10 minutes and then quit. That should set up the newly seeded lawn. You need to keep the seed moist, the instructions say .... I think that the rain forecast for the next week should take care of that nicely. lol

The guys were back at 7 am and started to cut out the timbers ... 

Unfortunately this wood was stained so we cannot use it as firewood.

Look at all the rotten wood! It turns out that there was only 3 bolts holding this whole structure to the house. What was he thinking!

Two-thirds of the deck gone. Bernie worked on tying in all of the downspouts to the perimeter drains, still more to do next week on that project as they ran out of fittings. Repairing around the gazebo is still up in the air for a decision as to how they are going to manage it. 

Well that is all that happened this week. My Aunt Norma and Uncle Ken are coming for a visit on Monday for a few days. They are excited to see our new home for the first time. They have always come to see us whether it was in the Queen Charlottes, Port Alberni or Nanaimo. 


  1. Man that's too bad about all those timbers being rotten. Can't believe it was all held by a few bolts!! Shows how something that looks good might not be structurally sound. Good luck with the gazebo, I assume a picker truck or crane won't reach over the house? Cheaper than a helicopter ;)

  2. "That was all that happened this week"?!?!? That is a crazy lot! Good thing you found these issues before you went any further, cannot wait to see the finished product!

  3. Wow, what a mess...so sorry about the condition of the deck. Hope they're able to save the gazebo! Good luck with it all!