Saturday, January 18, 2020

Float Cabin Deck Replacement Part 1

Spring 2018 before pressure washing.
My last post was about major maintenance and improvement projects we've done at the float cabin over the last two decades. I left off our most recent one so you can see it in perspective.

Just like any home, it's only as good as the foundation.

After removing the stain aging was evident.
Over the last 22 years, time and weather have taken their toll.

Periodically, we've replaced individual boards and a few supports to extend the life of our foundation and deck, but in 2019 it was evident that we needed to do much more.

Our float cabin's raft during construction.
But first, a little history. Our cabin floats on a lashed together raft of 40-foot cedar logs. Cedar is durable and buoyant. Floats do get waterlogged, but adding plastic barrels underneath gives increased flotation. The best news, our cedar logs are in good shape.

Crosswise logs and steel cables secure the float logs together. On top, pony walls of vertical then horizontal 2x4s are nailed into the cross-member logs. This provides a level platform for the cabin and deck.

The pony walls are then added to the float log foundation.

Vertical 2X6" boards are nailed on top of the pony walls. Throughout this process, everything is double-checked to make sure it's level.

To support the deck boards, vertical 2x6s are nailed on top of the pony walls.

Yellow cedar is best for decking. Next is old growth red cedar. Last is second growth cedar. Most of our foundation was yellow cedar, but a few spots included second growth wood.

A second growth cedar log on top was replaced with an old growth cedar beam.

Our good friend John (and cabin's builder) replaced our deck. When he took off the old boards, he discovered several supports that needed replacing. In particular, a second growth log was rotten. He chose to replace all 40-feet with milled 6X6" beams.

Here are some related cabin construction posts:

Float construction
Extra Flotation Power
Log Burning for Dry Rot
Cable Up - Anchoring System

In Part 2 I'll tell more about the deck replacement process. -- Margy


  1. Thanks Margy for showing/sharing the building base and the replacements needed 'last' year. I love seeing the bones of construction.

  2. It's all so complicated, but essential to put the float in your cabin!
    Very interesting.

  3. I’m so impressed with what you and Wayne (and John) have accomplished (and are continuing to accomplish). Your cabin is a work of love as well as skill. But I’m even more impressed with how well you understand the actual mechanics of your projects. Bill always .. always .. has a project going on...we’ve remodeled every house we’ve owned, built sheds, a houseboat, built a home to sell on spec, etc etc.... and I’m always there to help on call , but I never ever understand what we’re doing when and why.... but I sure have enjoyed the results of “our” labors!

  4. This is a big project. I'm impressed with your skill. Very well done.

  5. How awesome to have it all brand new for 20 more years!

    Feel free to share at My Corner of the World

  6. Margy - Fascinating. I am inclined to say that is a LOT of work for a foundation, but in many ways it parallels the process of a foundation for a regular house. Enjoy the rest of your week!


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy