The Lunch Hour Revolution #7

These posts are intended for people who claim they are “too busy” to pursue things that we think should be done in our spare time. Spare time just doesn’t fall in your lap. You have to make time. These posts will focus on things that can be done in the little time set aside for lunch.

I’ve been having trouble with WiFi at work and have been busy in general lately. So, here’s what I’ve been up to: designing a deck and building a bed extender. The bed extender project has been going slowly so I will blog about that later.

My father-in-law has been wanting a deck for a while. He moved into his house a couple years ago and has been slowly getting things repaired, moved around and set up to his general liking. He lives on a fixed income and has had many surgeries over the years, so affording and actually building a deck are two things that made him think it would be impossible.

With a little help from a website and some of my father-in-law’s friends, we made the deck happen. My wife wanted me to completely design the deck using AutoCad. I wasn’t looking forward to putting that much effort in. So, I turned to the internet and found http://www.deckplans.com.  Nearly complete deck plans for whatever size deck you may want. A little tweaking is required.

Now, when using this website, there are certain things you will need to take into consideration. First, they are trying to get you to use their products to complete your deck.  They would like you to use their floating deck system instead of cementing posts in the ground. You don’t have to and for any deck that isn’t on near level ground, I wouldn’t use a floating system. Second, you will need to come up with a hand rail on your own. Plans for a deck rail and stairs are not included. These plans and the floating deck system is for low-to-the-ground decks.

Using their plans for a 12′ X 12′ deck and modifications for a handrail system and stairs, we were able to knock this deck out in a few days (we did cement in all posts used to support the handrail). Using deckplans.com to aid in the design process was a great help. They even help you calculate your material cost. A straight up 12′ X 12′ deck was about $540.00. After our modifications, the total cost was around $800. Very reasonable for a good sized deck. Most contractors were telling us anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for the same deck. I think we did pretty good.

There you have it. You can design a deck in a single lunch break. I did it. What can you accomplish in that time?

Here is the finished product:

2013-07-23 20.41.02

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