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

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