Bryan Baeumler is host of Disaster DIY: Cottage Edition, airing tonight at 9 p.m. on HGTV. Visit www.hgtv.ca/disasterdiy for streamed episodes and exclusive content.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you’re at a cottage. The faint aroma of mouldy lumber drifts by on the breeze, and your leaking hot tub sits on a rotting deck with your favourite sports car parked below — what would you do? If you’re CB, you take a few phone calls, and head out on the lake with your favourite magazine to float around for a few hours. I can’t say I blame him.
His girlfriend Janice, on the other hand, blamed him enough to invite me up for a visit. With a crew, a truck full of lumber, some tools and my sea-doos in tow, I was on my way to the lake. Before we could get to work however, we had to locate CB — which became a daily ritual. Like CB, most of us head to the cottage to relax, using ‘It’s OK, it’s just the cottage’ as an excuse to avoid regular maintenance and much-needed repairs. Although CB’s party deck off the front of the cottage had a roof, the floor had been built on an angle. The railings were dangerously low to preserve the view, which presented the opportunity for a 12-foot fall to the hard ground below. The moisture sandwich of carpet, plywood and deck boards was rotting out from under them thanks to a leaking hot tub, and to top it all off, his prized sports car — parked under the structure — was in danger of having a rooftop deck.
I had to find CB every morning before we could get to work; it was like fishing, although I’m usually more successful with a rod and reel. Once we reeled him in, I taught him how to replace the support posts and structure of the deck to bring it up to code and make it level. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for him to field numerous phone calls, I taught him how to replace the decking to allow for drainage, while keeping out the mosquitoes. After a quick lesson from CB on the imaginary concept of “torsional rigidity” in deck building, we built railings that were not only up to code, but allowed for a great view of the lake as a bonus.
Safe deck, great view, happy girlfriend — time to hit the lake!
– Bryan Baeumler is host of Disaster DIY: Cottage Edition. The show airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV.