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  1. #1
    oldmanraider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Be careful what you find on the web

    My wife and I were thinking about the possibility of getting a hot tub for our deck. Not knowing anything about what makes a good tub or how much they truly cost I started doing research on the web. One of the sites I found talked about being able to build your own tub or spa as they liked to call it for less money than what a normal tub would cost. That got my attention since I like to save money so I ordered the book they were selling that they claimed would explain everything a normal person would need to know about building a spa. Flashback to childhood days of seeing the adds in the back of comic books for plans to build your own hovercraft, submarine or gyrocopter.

    After reading the book a couple of times and looking at the pictures on the web of other spas people have built on there own I was getting more interested in this idea. I started searching the web for spa parts and looking at building materials at the local home supply centers. This crazy idea was looking like something I wanted to try. To my surprise when I talked to the wife about this she was willing to go for it.

    Now just so everybody knows I am not a professional builder just a weekend diyer I have never worked with concrete blocks or cement. I do have a good wood shop that I have built up over the last couple of years while fixing up our house.

    The first picture shows the before, one of the guys I work with just happened to have a bobcat so we were able to trade some computer support time from me for some of his time on the bobcat. It took him less than an hour dig up the area where the spa would go. I think it would have taken me an entire week to dig this by hand.

    The next picture shows the form ready for concrete with a lot of rebar put in. When the truck showed up the driver looked very surprised to see just my wife and I, He asked if we had ever done this before.

    The third picture shows starting the spa walls and seats

    Fourth picture block work is done

    Fifth picture shows the water proofing membrane

    Sixth picture shows scratch coat done, ready for tile

    I have tried to reduce the size of the pictures so as not to take up so much space on the servers here.

    More to come soon
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  2. #2
    BertInTexas's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Central Texas
    Nice job so far! Make sure you post some pics of the end result as well.Good luck with your project.Bert

  3. #3
    I like it! Good Job!

  4. #4
    WATER WOODY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Minden, Nevada, United States
    Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!! Were do you install the pump/pumps .

  5. #5
    oldmanraider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    The next picture shows some of the plumbing. I used 2” schedule 40 pipe for all the waterlines. The corners were all done with two 45’s instead of a single 90 to help flow efficiency.

    The next picture shows starting to put up the tiles. We went to a tile shop to look for pool tiles. The ones they had were selling for eleven dollars a foot. I saw on the sample board they had that the supplier was here in Atlanta. After we left the shop we went to the supplier and explained that we were doing our own work and they said they could sell it to us at contractor price 2.50 a foot.

    Next picture tile is finished and grouted. I used an epoxy grout because it is waterproof and will not stain or mildew. Same deal as with the tile, found a supplier that would sell it to me for contractor price 90 dollars for 2.5 gallons instead of 500 dollars. Epoxy grout is a big pain to work with. As per the instructions the grout was suppose to have at least two hours of working time. The grout started to harden after twenty minutes. I had spread it on the steps and one wall in that time and had to get the grout cleaned of the tiles asap. This stuff is like road tar and will not rinse of a sponge. After ten sponges a box of rags and all the elbow grease I had the tiles were as clean as I could get them. Had to go get another 2.5 gallons of grout but this time I used a scale to measure both parts out and mix up very small batches instead of the whole kit. That worked but this stuff is still a pain to work with.

    Waters in and it works.

    Now time to work on the deck...

    More to come
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  6. #6
    Moderator OsideBill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    United States
    Wow Awesome Job

  7. #7
    mjammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Wayne, IN
    So when you stopping by to build one at my place. Looks great.

  8. #8
    I'm kind of a big deal SeanCucf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Oldsmar, FL

    Thumbs up


    ok, so you say you did this to save money(and I'm sure for fun too). So without asking how much you much did you save over having it someone do all that for you?

    always fun to save money while doing a big project.

    for instance I built a deck for about 900 bucks that was quoted $5000 for the cheapest qoute....

    I love the family and friends faces when they ask, "who did that?" and the wife says, "he did."

  9. #9
    oldmanraider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    This is the first deck I have ever built so I tried to over build it to be on the safe side. I put an extra support post for each span and went up at least one size larger for each joist also the joist were spaced on 12” centers. All deck hardware was ½” instead of 3/8” and I used simpson strong ties for each connection with all the nail holes used. All the railing post were made from 6x6 timbers, the railings were hand made from 2x4’s and the balusters were cut down 2x4’s down to 2x3” (still have to do the cap rail). The privacy walls were made using 6x6 timbers and 1x8 cut down and bevel edged to give it a tong and groove look, the panels float inside the frame. The lattice panels were made from 2x2’s that were routed at each joint to make the panel, it took a full day for each panel.

    The deck surface is covered with ipe wood this stuff is so hard and heavy. It weighs 1.6 pounds for each 1x6 board foot. Termites will not touch it and it has the same fire rating as concrete. Each board had to be predrilled and countersunk to accommodate the stainless steel screws (over 3000 screws). This wood will last over twenty years if you never do anything to it. We coat ours with timber oil and should last longer than me. The oil brings out a great look to the wood, just like a hardwood floor.

    This project has taken me about a year and a half to this point. Cost so far is around 8000 dollars for materials. My wife and I are very happy the way this is finishing up and feel we have added a lot of value to our house. When we started we could have spent close to the same amount for a store bought tub but I think this was a better choice....
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  10. #10
    I'm kind of a big deal SeanCucf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Oldsmar, FL

    You da man!

    Thats a sexy back porch my man. Kudos to you!


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