Category Archives: Deck and Porch

1
Jun
2015

Pool, Pool House and Garden

You know that expression “The cobbler’s children have no shoes”? Right. That’s my house for the most part, because I’m renovating other people’s homes and don’t take the time to work on my own.

This spring Heather and I decided to tackle the backyard in a big way—adding an in-ground pool, pool house, paths and 700 sq feet of garden.

The backyard before. A deck, then (weedy) grass and more grass.

The backyard before. A deck, then (weedy) grass and more grass, and overgrown cedars.

It’s not just anybody driving a backhoe who can dig a pool hole. Pool excavators are specialists. After interviewing several, we hired Harvey Harper of Harper Enterprises. He and his team were excellent. Precise to the inch and a pleasure to deal with. I can’t recommend them enough.

Pool dig.

Pool dig.

Is it done yet??

Is it done yet??

IMG_5955

We designed the pool with Mermaid Pools: 14 x 28 with a larger-than-normal shallow end and Roman 8′ Sit and Step for easy socializing.

We ordered the pool parts from Mermaid Pools and I’m installing the pool myself—bringing in specialists as needed: for the dig, grouting (concrete base), installing the liner and the electrical. I have zero ambition to start installing pools, but doing it myself at my own house was a considerable cost saving.

Pool walls installed, safety fence.

Pool walls installed, safety fence going up.

Pool house structure.

Pool house structure: 16 x 9.

Mark and Jo, pool specialists, "grouting" the bottom of the pool. This makes a smooth base for the pool liner. When a liner costs $6,000, you do want a perfect base that won't cause any rips.

Mark and Joe, pool specialists, “grouting” the bottom of the pool. This makes a smooth base for the pool liner. When a liner costs $6,000, you need a perfect base that won’t cause any rips.

The pool house has walls on two sides (where there are neighbours) and is open to the pool and yard on the other two sides. It will have electrical outlets plus lights, a fridge and a fan. We’ve also ordered composite wood cabinets that are rated for Canadian garage use.

Big day!! There is gravel part-way up the pool wall. The pool is filled, then the rest of the gravel goes in.

Big day!! There is gravel part-way up the pool wall. The pool is filled, then the rest of the gravel goes in.

We're getting there! This concrete secures the wall and support system together. Luc from Centennial Concrete delivered load after load of concrete throughout this project. Great company and driver to work with. The concrete is mixed as it comes off the truck, so you only pay for what you use.

We’re getting there! This concrete secures the wall and support system together. Luc from Centennial Concrete delivered load after load of concrete throughout this project. Great company and driver to work with. The concrete is mixed as it comes off the truck, so you only pay for what you use.

We're getting there! This concrete secures the wall and support system together, and provides a base for the stone around the pool. And yes, Mr. Moose in the background will be hanging in the pool house.

We’re getting there! This concrete secures the wall and support system together, and provides a base for the stone around the pool. And yes, Mr. Moose in the background will be hanging in the pool house.

Yoda, our 12-year-old rescue dog, had a tough time with the early (and loud) stages of this project. She was seized from an abusive situation when she was 10 and we adopted her a few months later. She tends to be anxious to begin with. Big machines digging and making deliveries, changes to her space (it is her bathroom after all), and strangers coming to the house were all hard on her. We finally had a quiet day in the backyard, which seemed to help her adjust. Nothing like a good nap to make things right again.

Yoda, 12 years old, taking in the new backyard.

Yoda, 12 years old, taking in the new backyard.

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First time in the pool. Just 72 degrees F.

See that garden below in the background? That’s the temporary bed. Heather moved two yards of fresh soil and all of the backyard plants in the early spring to protect them during the renovation. This was the only spot that would not be trampled by machines and wheelbarrows.

Placing boulders throughout the new gardens around the pool.

Placing boulders throughout the new gardens around the pool.

Our recently retired stone mason neighbour is winning an international award for his work on the new Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. We are beyond grateful that he so generously helped with the final tricky cuts around the pool.

The awesome neighbours are just one of the many reasons we plan to live here forever (pool and big garden are no-nos for house re-sale). The neighbours are friendly and kind people.

The stone is Blu 45 from Techo-Bloc. We ordered the stone through Central Precast, which was endlessly frustrating—from Central Precast losing our order, to finding our order, to sending the wrong order, and more. Enough about that.

Final tricky cuts around the pool.

Final tricky cuts around the pool.

We put in 700 square feet of new garden beds and wanted year-round interest, so chose several evergreen trees and shrubs. The staff at the Green Thumb Garden Centre at 17 Tristan Crt (near Hunt Club and Merivale) are fantastic. Mary, the owner, and some of her staff are Master Gardeners (yes, that’s a thing) and are extremely knowledgeable.

Trees and shrubs from Green Thumb Garden Centre at 17 Tristan Crt, near Merivale and Hunt Club.

Trees and shrubs from Green Thumb Garden Centre at 17 Tristan Crt, near Merivale and Hunt Club.

The cedars along the properly line were badly overgrown after years of neglect by previous home owners. The cedars were six feet deep from the trunk, so they got a serious haircut. We understand that the cedars will never grow back on our side, but it was well worth it to reclaim six feet of yard for the garden.

Gardens coming together.

Gardens coming together.

Thanks to a mature maple overhead, this garden next to the pool house gets morning sun at the front and full sun at the back. The maple also provides ample shade to the pool.

Gardens going in

Gardens going in.

IMG_6275

Because every backyard needs a cooking fire.

That was my progress in 2015. In 2016 the work started anew with the plans including a shed, deck railing, and painting and staining everything.

Contemporary shed going up.

Contemporary shed going up.

I repurposed the previous deck railing into a new chevron railing.

I repurposed the previous deck railing into a new chevron railing.

The chevron railing works well with the chevron planter boxes I built a few years ago. Both the railing and the boxes repurposed the wood from the previous railing.

The chevron railing works well with the chevron planter boxes I built a few years ago. Both the railing and the boxes repurposed the wood from the previous railing.

The pool house has electricity, allowing us to have potlights, a fan and a fridge.

The pool house has electricity, allowing us to have potlights, a fan and a fridge.

We weren't entirely sure about Mr. Moose at first, but he fits in quite well!

We weren’t entirely sure about Mr. Moose at first, but he fits in quite well!

The moon gate marks the transition to the pool area. It helps to create separate rooms.

The moon gate marks the transition to the pool area. It helps to create separate rooms. It was primed grey and painted black.

Our first pool party was a volunteer appreciation event for a fantastic folks with Community Veterinary Outreach. They provide a free vet check-up for the pets of Ottawa's marginalized residents.

Our first pool party was a volunteer appreciation event for a fantastic folks with Community Veterinary Outreach. They provide a free vet check-up for the pets of Ottawa’s marginalized residents.

We WISH that Abbey, who we adopted in May 2016, enjoyed the pool, but she has yet to go in. (Our beloved cattle dog,  Yoda, passed away in March 2016)

We WISH that Abbey, who we adopted in May 2016, enjoyed the pool, but she has yet to go in. (Our beloved cattle dog, Yoda, passed away in March 2016)

5
Sep
2014

Kevin and Ange’s deck and hot tub in Kanata

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We’re back at Ange and Kevin’s, where we renovated their loft in 2012. This time we’re transforming their Kanata backyard from a blank slate to an oasis with hot tub and deck.

Day 1: Backyard 'before'.

Day 1: Backyard ‘before’.

Day 3: Manually carried 1 tonne (yes 1,000 kg) of cement bags into the backyard today, mixed them, then set the fenceposts.

Day 3: Manually carried 1 tonne (yes 1,000 kg) of cement bags into the backyard today, mixed them, then set the fenceposts.

Day 7: After losing Tuesday and Wednesday to Mother Nature, we were back at Kevin and Ange's yesterday. Today we're laying Grey Veranda composite (simulated wood) decking over the 2x10 pressure treated framework. Composite decking means no annual re-staining, just cleaning.

Day 7: After losing Tuesday and Wednesday to Mother Nature, we were back at Kevin and Ange’s yesterday. Today we’re laying Grey Veranda composite (simulated wood) decking over the 2×10 pressure treated framework. Composite decking means no annual re-staining, just cleaning.

Day 8: Deck, stairs and hot tub installation done. Enjoy!

Day 8: Deck, stairs and hot tub installation done. Enjoy!

4
Aug
2014

Flat roof bungalow porch with herringbone detail

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Back in the spring, Don and I blocked off a few weeks in the summer to help each other with projects in our own homes. We finished Don’s basement, did the roof at Heather’s and my place, and I built a porch.

In case any remembers the porch I built at my previous home a few years back (if so, good memory!), you’ll notice this porch has a completely different vibe.

While our house was build in 1965, we like the mid-century vibe and admire the flat roof porches from that era, which are also on many new homes these days. Heather pulled together a Pinterest album full of inspiration, including the image below.

Inspiration photo for the porch.

Inspiration photo for the porch.

After contacting One Call for all utilities to mark services to the house, we knew precisely where the gas line runs. The gas line was our biggest concern given that it’s directly to the left of the front door. We’d originally contemplated moving the gas metre, but discovered Enbridge would charge $4,000 and it’s only Enbridge that can move it. Option B is to leave a 6″ clearance around the gas metre when the new front step goes in.

Until this summer, you’d need to hire a company to drive in steel helical support posts for decks and porches—$800 each. This year, both Rona and Home Depot started selling Pylex adjustable foundation screws that you can drive in yourself, at a cost of only $24 each.

Day 1: After making a One Call for all utilities to mark services to the house, we knew precisely where the gas line runs. Our biggest concern given that it's directly to the left of the front door.

Day 1: Driving in 60″ Pylex adjustable foundation screws (from Rona, $24) by hand.

Day 1: Framing the flat roof porch, with Yoda, my trusty old girl.

Day 1: Framing the flat roof porch, with Yoda, my trusty old girl.

Day 2: Cladding the porch ceiling in cedar. We were originally going to lay the planks in rows, but decided to go with a herringbone pattern instead.

Day 2: Cladding the porch ceiling in cedar. We were originally going to lay the planks in rows, but decided to go with a herringbone pattern instead.

Day 2: working out of the back of my truck. The herringbone pattern adds considerable time, but looks amazing.

Day 2: working out of the back of my truck. The herringbone pattern adds considerable time, but looks amazing.

Day 3: Herringbone done. Now cladding the posts and roof sides in cedar. Painting vs. staining discussion so far: clear coat the herringbone and paint all other wood the same dark grey as the window trim.

Day 3: Herringbone done. Now cladding the posts and roof sides in cedar. Painting vs. staining discussion so far: clear coat the herringbone and paint all other wood the same dark grey as the window trim.

Day 3: It's beer o'clock under the porch.  All that's left now is to order an aluminum cap for the flat roof (ok 5 degree angle for water drainage), paint the trim, and apply clear weatherproof finish on the cedar... ok and new steps... but that's a whole other project...

Day 3: It’s beer o’clock under the porch. All that’s left now is to order an aluminum cap for the flat roof (ok 5 degree angle for water drainage), paint the trim, and apply clear weatherproof finish on the cedar… ok and new steps… but that’s a whole other project…

Day 4: The roof has a 5-degree slope and I ordered a custom roof to include an eavestrough. The custom room was a surprisingly inexpensive $180.

A few weeks later: The roof has a 5-degree slope and I ordered a custom roof to include an eavestrough. The custom room was a surprisingly inexpensive $180. Heather and I are really happy about having this additional space to sit under.

Stay tuned… more updates to come.

29
May
2014

Norm and Suzanne’s Deck in Barrhaven

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A milestone birthday is coming up soon and Norm and Suzanne are hosting a party. They needs a bigger, better deck.

Day 1 Fresh Reno Ottawa Renovation Contractor deck barrhaven BEFORE

Day 1: 8:15 a.m. Deck before.

Day 1: 9:15 a.m. Deck demolished.

Day 1: 9:15 a.m. Deck demolished.

Day 2: When you have 7 six-foot deep, two feet wide holes to dig AND enough access to the yard, you bring in the big toys.

Day 2: When you have 7 six-foot deep, two feet wide holes to dig AND enough access to the yard, you bring in the big toys.

Day 3: 7,000 lb. of cement, one 66 lb. bag at a time = 7-hour monster workout.

Day 3: 7,000 lb. of cement, one 66 lb. bag at a time = 7-hour monster workout.

Day 4: Because the size of your deck DOES matter.

Day 4: Because the size of your deck DOES matter.

Our daily (and adorable) site supervisor.

Our daily (and adorable) site supervisor.

Day 5: creating custom deck stairs.

Day 5: creating custom deck stairs.

Day 5: Second framing level complete, including cantilevered stair landing and custom-sized stair stringers.

Day 5: Second framing layer complete, including cantilevered stair landing and custom-sized stair stringers.

Day 8: Strawberries dipped in Oreos on the deck we're building. Guess the clients are happy with the progress? (yes, we ate several before thinking to take a picture)

Day 8: Strawberries dipped in Oreos on the deck we’re building. Guess the clients are happy with the progress? (yes, we ate several before thinking to take a picture)

Day 9: Deck taking shape. Now we've got some time while the roof trusses are being built... so Heather and I are taking a long overdue honeymoon vacation out west.

Day 9: Deck taking shape. Now we’ve got some time while the custom roof trusses are being built… so Heather and I are taking a long overdue honeymoon vacation out west.

Hi friends, Hope you're having a good week. Heather and I are having a great (and 15 months overdue) honeymoon out west. First vacation in 3 years and worth the wait. Saw a black bear and two cubs in Jasper, hiked 3.7km (400m vertical) to Lake Agnes Teahouse in the sky over Lake Louise and now we're headed into BC. Cheers!

Hi friends, Hope you’re having a good week. Heather and I are having a great (and 15 months overdue) honeymoon out west. First vacation in 3 years and worth the wait. Saw a black bear and two cubs in Jasper, hiked 3.7km (400m vertical) to Lake Agnes Teahouse in the sky over Lake Louise and now we’re headed into BC. Cheers!

Deck day 10: Monumental effort for just two people but the six trusses are in. Just the ladder truss system to create the overhang at the front to go.

Deck day 10: Monumental effort for just two people, but the seven trusses are in. Just the ladder truss system to create the overhang at the front to go.

Day 13: Tongue and groove pine ceiling and handrail started.

Day 13: Tongue and groove pine ceiling and handrail started.

We’re speechless. Suzanne and Norm just sent this very kind email.

Hi,

Thank you for your kind words! We can say the same about you and Don. Over the years, we have had some work done in our house, but you guys have by far surpassed our expectations! You are pros at what you do; you put your hearts into the project and take a personal interest in the process and the finished product. You are open to suggestions and offer your professional advice when needed.

You work well as a team…. you both have a calm and focussed approach, and share very high standards.

We are so grateful to have had the privilege of working with you. Our vision gradually became a reality, and we could not have imagined how magnificent the end result would be! I have taken many photos, which I have not yet uploaded and edited. It will be my pleasure to share them on the website.

We extend our warmest gratitude for all you’ve done,

Suzanne and Norm

Every night, Yoda supervises as I make my lunch. She always scores some cheese and licks the yogurt spoon.

Every night, Yoda supervises as I make my lunch. She always scores some cheese and licks the yogurt spoon.

The finishing touches.

The finishing touches.

Day 14 and the deck is nearly done. Ceiling is painted, lights and fans are operational and crown moulding is installed. Just waiting for the simulated cedar shake to arrive, so we'll be back in a week.

Day 14 and the deck is nearly done. Ceiling is painted, lights and fans are operational and crown moulding is installed. Just waiting for the simulated cedar shake to arrive, so we’ll be back in a week.

Day 15: The cedar shake was delivered and installed, so now the deck is complete. Suzanne and Norm have been terrific to work for. Enjoy your deck!

Day 15: The cedar shake was delivered and installed, so now the deck is complete. Suzanne and Norm have been terrific to work for. Enjoy your deck!

Day 15: The deck is done and decorated. We've all agreed it's not merely a 'deck', but a veranda.

Day 15: The deck is done and decorated. We’ve all agreed it’s not merely a ‘deck’, but a veranda.

Evening on the veranda.

Evening on the veranda.

22
Feb
2014

Herringbone Planter Boxes with Repurposed Wood

My and Heather‘s home came with this existing deck. It’s well built and solid. There was no reason to tear it down, but the wood had not been maintained and sitting within these railings felt like prison — without access to the yard.

Deck 'before'.

Deck ‘before’.

Heather came across some great planter box ideas on Pinterest and we decided to tear down the railing, then repurpose all the wood into planter boxes. You can check all our backyard project ideas on Pinterest here.

Inspiration photo #1

Inspiration photo #1, from Gardener’s World.

Inspiration  photo #2, from the 91214 blog.

Inspiration photo #2, from the 91214 blog.

Pulling down old railing and saving all the lumber.

Pulling down old railing and saving all the lumber.

Foster dog Lexi definitely approved of the wide open deck and new wood stain.

Foster dog Lexi approved of the railing-free deck and new wood stain.

Planter box building gets underway, making use of the old railing.

Planter box building gets underway, making use of the old railing.

During the planter box build, Lexi got adopted by a fantastic family.

During the planter box building project, Lexi got adopted by a fantastic family.

Fresh Reno Ottawa Renovation Contractor Herringbone Planter Box 5

Finished planter.

The planter came out great. I made another one (one for each the corner), then set to work on stairs for better access to the yard, and of course railings to keep us safe.

20
Aug
2013

Samantha’s Two-Storey Porch

We did some renovations for Samantha a couple years back and she’s since been eager to have her 2-storey porch re-done. Drawings were done and have been signed-off by the city.

Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 1 before
Deck ‘before’.

Day 1: We started demolishing the old porch — very carefully as there were concerns about the structural soundness.

Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 1
Day 1: Demolishing the old porch.
The ridge beam should be a substantial piece of lumber. NOT this piece of tongue and groove siding.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 1 chewed roof beam
Day 1: Demolishing the old porch. Roof beams chewed to the size of a toonie.

Day 1 (con’t): Given the structural state of the porch, Samantha (the home owner) and I are working with the City of Ottawa and the designer that did the drawings to alter some of the plans. The hope had been to salvage part of the existing structure, but that won’t be possible.

… and we waited for new drawings…

Day 2: One week later, there are new drawings plus a covered walkway to exit the house. We’re also proceeding with demolition using a skyjack because the porch structure isn’t stable enough to take apart from below.

Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 7

Don and I might look like tough guys, but there’s a hornet nest in the porch structure and we squeal like children every time a hornet flies by.

IMG_2986
Build stuff by day, crème brûlée by night.

Day 3: Demolition continues.

Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 8 removing tiles from roof
Day 3: Today’s question: what is holding this roof up under the tiles? And, who puts tiles on a wood porch?
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 8 deck is down
End of day 3: Porch entirely removed except some lower portions.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 10 martini bottle
This Martini bottle was under the deck. Helps us understand why someone put a full inch of concrete and tile over a wood deck.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 11 rock deck footings
Day 6: End of demolition. The brick piers are gone and we get to see what was holding everything up.
Answer? These stones 3″ into the dirt. No footings at all.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 11 demolition done
Day 6: Demolition complete, footing holes dug, awaiting City inspection.

Update July 31: Once the porch was gone, it revealed a 100+ year old stone foundation in desperate need of repair. Samantha is working with a historical mason and then we’ll be resuming work on the porch.

Foundation light shining through
That’s sunlight shining through the foundation. Not good.

Update August 20: The historical mason has completed several weeks of work (he had originally estimated two days) and we have resumed building the porch.

Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey deck Day 7 - 4 footings and 2 triple beams
Day 7: Four footings and two triple (2 x 10) beams.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 8 - second level started
Day 8: Second level is now attached to the house.
Oh, and it’s really, really hot today. Already 32°C at 11 a.m.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 9 - roof started
Day 9: Framing for the second storey is complete and we’re starting on the roof.
The next City inspection is once the framing is complete.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 10 - framing nearly complete
Day 10: 2nd storey framing complete and 3/4 of the roof built.
Cedar posts with temporary handrails installed top and bottom.
Almost looks like a porch again 🙂
We expect the City inspector on Monday afternoon.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 11 - framing inspected
Day 11: Our work passed the City of Ottawa inspection with flying colours.
The inspector even said, “really great”.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 12 - Lower level stairs
Day 12: Built stairs and laid deck boards on the first level.
I completely admit to inhaling the cedar fragrance as we cut it. Smells amazing.
You may remember those three stones were the ‘footings’ supporting the previous porch.
Samantha will be using those stones in the new landscaping plan.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 13 - top deck complete
Day 13: With deck boards laid on the second storey, along with railings,
we’re making massive progress and it’s now a usable porch.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 14 - railings done
Day 14: Upper and lower decking and handrail done.
Areas with pressure treated lumber are being clad in cedar.
Paul Gratton Fresh Reno Ottawa Home Renovations 2-storey porch Day 16 porch done
The final porch ‘after’ picture at Samantha’s. She’s thrilled!
She’s got some brick and landscaping work still ahead.

 

9
Oct
2012

Delaney and Nancy’s two-storey Glebe deck

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Ottawa home renovations contractor Paul Gratton Dalaney and Nancy 2 storey deck Glebe Day 1 before
Day 1: Deck before demolition.

Delaney and Nancy live in a handsome old house in the Glebe, one of Ottawa’s more desirable neighbourhoods. But, their two-storey deck has seen better days.

With engineer drawings and permits approved by the City, we’re spending the next two weeks removing the old deck and building a new one.

The deck will have pressure treated timber for the frame and cedar for the boards and hand rail. We’ll also be adding a window on the second level, where there isn’t currently one.
Ottawa home renovations contractor Paul Gratton Dalaney and Nancy 2 storey deck Glebe Day 2 digging holes
Day 2: It’s a glamorous job. Two 6-foot-deep, 2.5-foot-wide
holes. Dug. By. Hand.

Day 2: Today was everyone’s favourite task. We dug two 6-foot-deep, 2.5-foot-wide holes by hand. Being competitive, Don and I raced to see who’d finish first. It was a gruelling 2.5 hours of digging and I won.

The city inspector approved our work and was incredulous that we’d dug the holes manually.

Day 3: The deck will be supported by posts on one side and braced against the house on the other side. We opened up the house exterior today and discovered poured concrete instead of the wood rim joist anticipated by the engineer’s drawings. Full work stop.

Ottawa home renovations contractor Paul Gratton Dalaney and Nancy 2 storey deck Glebe Day 4 Postech Metal Foundation
Postech putting in screw pile.

Day 8: One week and dozens of phone calls later. The concrete’s composition isn’t strong enough to support the deck, so new drawings call for metal screw piles near the house foundation to support the deck. Postech came this morning and we’re moving forward with deck building.

Ottawa home renovations contractor Paul Gratton Dalaney and Nancy 2 storey deck Glebe Day 5 Deck Building

Days 9 – 11: Building the deck is full steam ahead. Both levels, the handrails and stairs are built, and have been inspected by the City. The inspector was impressed with how solid the deck is — doesn’t budge an inch.

Nancy keeps sending me happy text messages. Love happy clients.

Ottawa home renovations contractor Paul Gratton Dalaney and Nancy 2 storey deck Glebe Day 7 gate
Rain day and it’s not safe to use power tools
outdoors. Built this gate in my basement.

Day 12: Mother Nature sent rain today and it’s not safe to use power tools outdoors. So, I built the deck gate in my basement.

The deck is complete and all approved by the City inspector.

Ottawa home renovations contractor 2 storey deck glebe cedar
Done! Deck on the left is Delaney and Nancy’s. Deck
on the right is neighbour’s old deck. Same as what
Delaney and Nancy had before.

Delaney and Nancy both shared renovation photos on their Facebook pages and kindly recommended us to their friends.

A few words from Nancy:
“Happy to recommend these guys – they did what they said they would, and more, and came in on budget. We now have a new, solid deck to replace the old, falling down, slanty dangerous deck that was circa 1980. Importantly, they’re also extremely decent folk. Thanks to Stephanie and Keri for the recommendation!”

A few words from Delaney:
“If you’re thinking renovations, give these guys a call. Phenomenal service, creative ideas and problem-solving skills in spades.”

Ottawa home renovations contractor Paul Gratton Dalaney and Nancy 2 storey deck Glebe Day 8 copper solar power lights
Copper solar lights.
Ottawa home renovations contractor 2 cedar storey deck Glebe gate

 

2
May
2012

Rob and Inika’s Ottawa cedar deck renovation

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Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Inika deck pattern inlay Day 1 before
Deck Before
Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Inika deck pattern inlay Day 3 ready for stain
Day 3: pressure washed and ready for stain.
Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Inika deck pattern inlay AFTER
Deck AFTER.

This week we’re at Rob and Inika’s place, replacing their deck. We were recommended to them by Samantha, a previous client.

The new deck base is pressure treated wood (lasts longer) and the top decking is cedar.

Inika and Rob gave us creative licence and we added a simple insert for visual effect.

Plus, we added a new flagstone sitting area.

Here’s the message Inika sent:
The yard looks great! It’s exactly what I wanted. I think the stone patio looks terrific, and I like the addition of the stones along the side of the deck too. Yes, all we need now are some plants!
Enjoy your weekend!

 

9
Aug
2011

Cedar porch in west end Ottawa

If you’ve heard the expression ‘the cobbler has no shoes’ then you can imagine the state of the house I bought 11 months ago.
You know those real estate listings, “For the handy man”? Yup, that’s the one. In original condition, right down to the turquoise kitchen tiles, this is the perfect house for a renovator.
Ottawa home renovations contractor cedar bungalow porch frame day 1
New roof on. Porch day 1.
My house inspection (yes, renovators hire inspectors too) was during one of those torrential downpours in fall 2010. We actually watched rain come in through the ceiling.

So, I took some time off. Murphy’s Law, we had a heat wave that first week. Temperatures climbed to 30C and above.
Ottawa home renovations bungalow cedar porch new front door design
Compled porch. New front door. Now to deal with the blue shutters, trim and planter box.

To say we like going to work is an understatement. I was working on everyone else’s homes while neglecting my own. After nearly a year owning this place, the roof had to get fixed.

Ottawa home renovations contractor bungalow cedar porch design
Cedar-lined porch. Am going to install small exterior lights to highlight the detail at night.

Don: “You’re wearing Adidas shoes.”

Me: “Yeah…?”
Don: “Your soles are melting and leaving Adidas logos on the roof!”
An awesome neighbour generously shares access to their pool. Their kindness was even more appreciated that week!
As luck would have it, the home builder left a stack of the original bricks in the basement. Never throw such a thing away. 60 years after the house was built, those extra bricks came in handy to put around the base of the pillars.
Ottawa home renovations contractor bungalow cedar porch post beam design
After!
(Gardening next year… )

As these projects go, and as clients experience themselves, one thing led to another… a new roof led to a porch, to a front door, to painting the exterior. All with Don and John pitching in (thanks guys!!).

 Finishing details:
  • Paint colours are: CIL Designer Grey (siding), CIL Mountain Grey (trim) and CIL Berkley Blue (door).
  • Porch light is by Gen-lite from Rona.
  • Door is from Home Depot.
  • House numbers will be Atlas Homewares RCN Mission House Home Address Number.
  • Mailbox will be custom airbrushed by Sergio Alvarez of LNS Airbrush Designs (613-851-9797).
18
Jul
2011

Deck, porch and pergola for Shirley and Gary, west-end Ottawa

Posted By: Tag: Deck and Porch | Comments Off on Deck, porch and pergola for Shirley and Gary, west-end Ottawa

Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Backyard Pergola Deck red stain
Backyard AFTER: covered BBQ area for year-round
goodness.

We’ve spent the last two weeks building a deck, porch and pergola for Shirley Roy-Schertzer, Community and Media Relations Manager at The Ottawa Mission (they do fantastic work for people who are homeless); and Gary Scherzer, Director of Client Services at Newcap Radio Ottawa.

Mother nature was on our side, providing two glorious weeks of sun.

Backyard pergola
Living on a corner lot, they have more front- and side-yard than backyard. Proud Canadian that he is, Gary bravely faces the elements each winter to BBQ. It was time to replace the existing leaking structure over the BBQ with something fitting his culinary quest.

Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Backyard Pergola Deck red stain CIL navajo red
Don picking up the
CIL Navajo Red stain.

The new structure is build with cedar and covered in corrugated plastic panels to let light through while keeping precipitation out.

Front entrance deck and porch
Gary and Shirley enjoy being outside and weren’t happy with the garden out front. They wanted a better seating area.

Plus, the front door wasn’t covered, so they would get wet while trying to get in during the rain.

Like the backyard pergola, the deck and porch are both made from cedar. The deck includes built-in reclined seating and built-in 12″x12″ planter holders.

We arrived one morning to find them enjoying their morning coffee on the deck a full week before the project was done.

Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Deck built in seating cedar porch testing
Don and I: structural testing the old fashioned way.

Lemon cake
We work physically hard all day, five days per week. Plus, like anyone, we have our own projects at home. We’re hungry pretty much all the time. The youngest by far and still blessed with a speedy metabolism, Don’s lunch box more closely resembles a full-sized picnic cooler.

We arrived to Gary and Shirley’s one morning to lemon cake. Oh it was good. So very much appreciated.

Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Deck porch built in seating cedar roof angle
AFTER: The new porch compliments the existing roof line and
is stained Navajo Red by CIL to work with the house colour.

A few words from Gary and Shirley.

Paul was really helpful to us in the planning stages as we had an idea of what we wanted in a deck but needed someone with his knowledge to tell us if it was logistically possible. He listened, and didn’t laugh (much), when I showed him a little ‘sketch’ of what I was thinking. He went away and later sent us a much better sketch of what the deck might look like and we went from there.

We told Paul we had a hard time making decisions under normal circumstances, so he was very helpful at walking us through some of the decisions that had to be made. During the construction, both Gary and I had to start work quite early, so we usually missed Paul and his team in the morning. But Paul was good about calling us whenever he had questions and he was equally good about answering our calls and questions too!

The team always did an amazing job of cleaning up the front of the house at the end of every day too. We wouldn’t hesitate for a second about recommending Paul, Don and John for anyone considering a renovation“.

Ottawa Home Renovations Contractor Cedar Deck Shirley Gary Shertzer
Gary, Shirley and me.