Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Deck Building ~ 2 Cedar decks with stamped concrete walkway between

Here is a 3D design of our latest deck building project. It is two cedar decks with a stamped concrete walkway between the decks. The project is in Flushing Michigan. They was no existing deck just a small set of steps. Day 1 Auger the post hole footings. I will be updating day 2, framing the deck in the next couple of days. The decks have some interesting angles on them, we are looking forward to building this project. The 13 holes were augered in a couple of hours, we did hit a suprise steel pipe in the ground and it was to big to dig up so we had to move one hole over about a foot without much of a problem. The post holes were approved by the building inspector, and tommorow we will be build the the frame and block in a couple of old basemant windows the homeowner requested since they will be under the deck. Thank you Bayn AutumnWood Construction Inc. www.autumnwoodconstruction.com

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wood Decking Products

Treated Pine In our area of Michigan Treated Pine is the most common and affordable deck and railing material we see. Most all deck frames are built from treated pine. Whether you are going with composite, cedar, PVC or something else, the frame of the deck is treated pine. The difference is in the deck boards and the railings. A couple of things come to mind with Treated Pine decks. 1) The treatment they use to enhance the exterior use of the pine wood corrodes fasteners and flashings. So you must use galvanized fasteners and copper or vinyl flashings. Also any aluminum balusters or porch posts cannot be touching the treated wood. If so, you should use a peal-n-stick flashing membrane or tar paper to separate between the aluminum and the treated wood. 2) The treated wood decks should dry out before staining, usually 1 or 2 months. The treated wood comes with a high moisture contents from the lumberyard and needs to dry out some before staining. Select Cut from Biewer Lumber is our first choice in treated pine. http://www.biewerlumber.com/ Cedar Also here in Michigan, cedar wood is a very common decking product choice. Cedar is a naturally rot resistant wood used for exterior applications. Western Red Cedar is the nicest we see in our area. It is a beautiful colored wood with a very soft grain. There is no treatment applied to the Cedar wood so it can be used with aluminum. We usually recommend stainless steel or at least galvanized fasteners. The big difference between treated pine and the Cedar is price; generally speaking Cedar is about a 1/3 more for materials than the treated pine. With either of these two choices you have to set it in your mind that you have to maintain these products. Stay away from painting these woods and look for a good quality stain preferably a penetrating oil stain. Some examples of penetrating oil stains are: Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil, TWP, Penofin. For solid colored stains try Sherman Williams Deckscapes. We usually try to apply 2 or 3 light coats of an oil finish waiting for drying between coats. http://www.wrcla.org/ Tropical Hardwoods Ipe, Cumaru, Tiger Wood, and Garapa are just a few of the choices you have for tropical hardwood decking products. Tropical hardwoods are some of the hardest woods in the world and some can last outside for 100 years un-finished! They are not very common here in Michigan, but used in many other parts of the country. It should be considered here in Michigan more for a decking product choice. Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) is a beautiful reddish, brown wood that looks a lot like Mahogany. Ipe is extremely hard. You have to pre-drill and counter sink all your screws. The boardwalk in Atlantic City is Ipe wood and is considered by many as the best decking product in the world. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak) is almost as hard as Ipe and some boards can look very much like Ipe - reddish brown and some boards are a much lighter yellowish color. It kind of reminds me of American Cherry, which can have dark and light colored boards. Tiger Wood (Goncalo Alves) is also similar colored as the Cumaru, but with dark black streaks that run throughout the boards that give it the exotic tiger looking effect. Again with all the tropical hardwoods, they are extremely hard. They have to be pre-drilled and counter screwed down. All of these hardwoods are rated to last outside for 25 years un-finished. Garapa (Brazilian Ash) is a blond colored tropical hardwood. It is known for having a very smooth and scratch resistant surface. Ipe is the most expensive of the four. The materials are priced similar to typical composite such as Timber Tech or Trex, but the labor is about a 1/3 more because of the pre-drill counter screw method. Tiger Wood is the most affordable of the four and is does not cost that much more than Cedar. It is much harder than the Cedar, which makes it a much better choice overall. Garapa and Cumaru fall somewhere between the Ipe and Tiger Wood pricing. One challenge is the railing options for the tropical hardwoods. It is very expensive to build your railings completely from the same tropical hardwood. Usually you would choose a contrasting railing option, such as Fortress Wrought Iron rails and use some of the tropical hardwood for the rail posts and top cap rail, or just use all Fortress railings. Overall the Tropical Hardwoods are one on the best choices for decking on the market. Especially if you don’t mind staining them to keep the rich hardwood flooring look of the wood. If you choose a maintenance free railing (the most difficult part of staining a deck is the railings) you will only have the deck boards to maintain. Your staining job will be quite easy. http://www.advantagelumber.com/index.html For pictures and more information on the different wood products, click on the links below each paragraph Bayn - AutumnWood Construction Inc. http://www.autumnwoodconstruction.com/index.html

Friday, March 13, 2009

“Extreme Low Maintenance” A term coined by Timber Tech which is what its XLM line stands for The” Extreme Low Maintenance” saying to me stands for decking products that requires very little Maintenance, usually only needing to be cleaned once or twice a year with a mild dish soap and garden hose. Generally speaking this term refers to Cellular PVC products; the two exceptions are, Correct Deck CX which is a composite product, and the new Fiberon, Horizons. Here is the difference most of the typical composite products are a mixture of wood flour and plastic, the Cellular PVC products are made from a mixture of foam/flax and PVC. The benefits over the composite products are, no wood flour so there is no weathering, less expansion, low fading, almost no staining, and no scratching. The originator of this technology was Procell. They have since been bought out by Azek. They came out with this technology about four or five years ago. It has just started catching on in the last few years. Now many manufactures have this product out on the market. Some being: Azek Deck, Trex Escapes, Gossen, Fiberon’s Sensibuilt, Timber Tech’s XLM, Veka, and a Chinese product called Cellek, just to name a few. All of these products have many benefits over the typical composite. With very few drawbacks, though they cannot span as far of a distance between joists as the composite products. Most knowledgeable deck builders will install the framing joist 12’’ on center instead of the standard 16’’ on center. The wood in the composite helps strengthen their products. The foam/flax in the cellular PVC is not as strong of a bi-product. In our opinion the leader of this cellular PVC product line is the Timber Tech’s XLM. The reason being, it has a co-extruded cap stock layer over the foam core which is probably the toughest, most durable surface of any decking on the market. You can literally pound on it with a hammer and it will not dent or crack, whereas all of the other cellular PVC products are softer and dent much easier. Most all of the products have a grooved edge board for a hidden fastening system, except the Sensibuilt and Azek products. All of these products should receive strong consideration when looking for an “Extreme Low Maintenance” deck. Next time we will look at natural products, including tropical hardwoods…