Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why hire a pro?

Hello, my name is Bayn Wood I am president of Autumnwood Construction Inc. We are a metro Detroit area deck and patio construction company.

In the last month alone we have seen, a composite deck built by a new construction home builder, that looked like it was nailed off by the framing crew. We gave a recent quote for a pending lawsuit where a homeowner built his own deck, sold his house and stated to the buyer that it was built to code and the building inspector had approved the deck construction, which in reality the deck needed to be torn down because it was not only out of code but a major danger to anyone who used the deck. And we visited a new construction home for a quote on building backyard deck, as I pulled into the driveway I noticed a very nice covered front porch, that had high end composite railings, that were sagging in between the railing posts, after a closer inspection I noticed there was not any squash blocks installed and the bottom rail was installed upside down all by the home builder. All costly errors

You might say there are many other stories of decks built by homeowners that have been built well, and you’re a deck builder, so of course you going to be against DIY deck builder.

That may be true, but what are you getting yourself into when you take on a deck building project?

Here are a few areas to consider before you decide to “Do it yourself”

1) The deck design. A dream deck that flows into the landscape, or a square big box special.

2) Building to code. Plans and permits are needed, and there are a lot of deck construction codes to follow.

As a homeowner how much time do you have to research the deck construction codes, and do you have ability to build the deck to code? First off, your footings have to be sized for the proper soil and load bearing code. What type of footing? Posts back filled with cement cookie post bases, or pier footings. What is the proper frost code depth for my area? Next would be the proper lumber sizes for the deck frame spans. What about the railings? How tall should they be and what is the proper baluster spacing? What about the stairs. Do I need a graspable handrail? Or how tall can my risers be?

3) Materials: What is the best choice for my new deck, what should I base my decision on, and what accessories are available.

What material should you build you deck from if you’re going to build your own deck. I personally believe that treated wood or cedar wood are a lot easier deck materials to work with than Hardwoods, Composites, and PVC products. Hardwoods have to be pre-drilled to attach and they are extremely hard, end grains have to be treated against checking and splitting. Most Composite and PVC manufactures have installations instruction manuals which can be upwards of 20 pages of instructions. The composite and PVC market is growing dramatically and is popular among DIY crowd because of the high materials costs.

Deck building in my opinion is a trade just like an electrician, plumber, or pipe fitter. And to have a special “outdoor living” dream deck space, you should consider a deck building trade specialist

Monday, June 14, 2010

Franklin MI Cedar deck

Hello .. We have been crazy busy with work so I have to apologize for not keeping up on updating our blog. For the last few weeks we have been on this project we are going to review today.

Remove and replace a Franklin MI two level cedar deck.

We are matching an existing design with a few changes. I really like the original design.

Basically the deck is 14 x 42 with a center step down 14x14 octagon level. There is also a 16x20 pergola centered in the design.

The old deck was made from cedar and was in really bad shape, it was built in 1980 and there was a few problems areas.
We filled up a 20 yard dumpster from all the debris on this job it was a bear to tear down. Also every utility line was ran through the deck area, including the electrical main, cable, and phone, air conditioning, a water line and two electrical outlets.

Here you can see the cedar fascia board sandwiched over the deck boards and the framing, this is one of big problem areas we see all the time. This why we always run a border board around the outside of the deck, so the fascia board can be run underneath the border board to cover the fascia/framing seam so there is no gap area where the two materials are sandwiched together. The picture frame border also covers the ends of the cut deck boards.

You see the gap between the fascia and the rim joist has collected all kinds of debris and it created an area for water to sit,  damage the deck frame, fascia, and the ends of the decking.

The other big problem area we see in deck failure in is the ledger board of the deck, (where it attaches to the home)  Here you see there was flashing used in the construction of the original deck, but because the house has wood siding.  The wood siding failed and created the damage to the ledger and than eventually the deck and house.  
So the end result from the siding/ledger failure was replacing about 30' of the house rim joist

Here is the new ledger attachment and flashing

Here is a few framing shots

The latter joist framing for the center seam board

Octagon framing

Next comes the decking installation.

Below you can see the single picture frame border board
that covers the fascia/framing gap and hides the end grains of the decking.

Railings up next

Pocket hole post/rail attachment       
We pre-stained the 2x4 rails with Sherman Williams Deckscapes that the homeowner choose, but the color did not come out right so the homeowner decided to leave the grey colored stain on the rails and keep the rest of the deck stained with a natural colored stain

Next we did the stairs, built the pergola, installed low voltage deck lighting,
 and stained the complete deck to finish up the project

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