Nov 21 2005


The house we moved into had an old, defunct jacuzzi made of fiberglass set in the ground. It had been plumbed at some point, and gas plumbing elsewhere in the yard indicates that there was even a compressor, so presumably it had been used. There was still some water at the bottom of it, even, because whoever decommissioned it neglected to drain it and it was covered up for ages by a large piece of wood.

So we replaced it with a firepit. The first stage in any good home project is a fair amount of exhausting deconstruction work. We removed the wood top and sledged away at the jacuzzi, making a cut around the seat that allowed us to pull the bulk of the old spa out, simultaneously draining the brackish, foul smelling water that had pooled:

After we had removed much of it, we had to fill the hole in. I already needed to level out a ridiculous hill in the back yard, so this made up some of it. The rest came in the form of "filler" sold to us by a local landscaping yard. It's some dirt, rocks, old concrete, sand...stuff that nothing grows in. Which made it perfect for our application, since it wouldn't compact and would be unlikely to harbor weeds.

Finally, with the hole filled in it was time to lay some bricks. We had bought a bunch of 1/8th circle clay fire bricks from a construction supply company a few miles away. Laying bricks isn't too tough, but you do need to get a feel for how wet the mortar should be---nobody can tell you "2 cups spec mix to 4 cups water". It ain't that easy. By the end we weren't doing too bad.

Obviously the pit itself didn't fill the entire space that the spa occupied, so we decided to put concrete in to fill the remaining space. To make it look a little better, we bought polished river stones that came on webbing to put down in the cement. This came off pretty well, but it was a pain in the ass to do. We had to divide out the space beforehand, so that we could do sections at a time without the concrete setting before we got to it all. We also left space for rainwater to drain down to the ground.

An initial test (trial by fire?).

After the blocks were filled with cement, we used natural stone to top them off. We purchased large slates and then dropped them on the ground, picking up the pieces and fitting them together as best we could. The stone was stuck down to the blocks/concrete with mortar mixed with concrete glue for adhering concrete to concrete.

Finally, the old spa pieces had to be cut up and thrown away. Fiberglass is tough stuff, so this required a reciprocating saw.

Special thanks to Sean for helping us fill in the hole and pour cement into the bricks. He is the BA to my Hannibal.

1 comment

  1. Julianna

    I'm impressed!!!!!

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