Here is what we have been working on for the last few weeks. Remove and replace a existing treated deck with Monarch Prestige. Prestige is there newest line which is a cap layer composite.
This was a bear of a project, the tear out went very easy we had the old deck down and loaded in a dumpster in about 2 1/2 hours. From there everything seemed to take longer than what we had thought.
The footings took some extra work because of large stones in the ground.
The framing took longer because of the building department, Rochester Hills requires a 1/2" through bolt connection for the ledger, and even the railing posts had to have 2) 1/2" carriage bolts per post and none of the 4x4 rail posts could be notched, and we had a double picture frame border to frame for and a two tiered fascia, and two levels.
Here we just installed the decking with hidden fasteners
Post sleeves just installed (Monarch Charleston Slate)
Here we just installed the railings and working into the homestretch
1)Experience in carpentry, and construction codes.
We see alot of different carpentry techniques I remember going out on a quote last summer to build a Gazebo, The homeowner was really excited about his new deck, which he and his buddy just built. The first thing I noticed was that they brad nailed all the deck boards down. Experience in building decks and tearing down old decks, you will quickly see why not to brad nail a deck board, wood shrinks and expands and moves around alot which a brad nail will never hold up. We never ever nail a deck any where unless we use PL glue in conjunction with nailing, and that is only on fascia boards where you don't want to see a screw head.
With all the new composite and PVC decking products on the market, experience will not only save you time and money but maybe one big headache.
Some manufactures are known to deny claims if you don't follow every step of their installation instructions. Composite and PVC decking is alot more labor intense, and not only how you build the deck, but how you design the deck will contribute to quality of the deck as it ages.
2) The design of a deck will be a large factor how well it lasts, and would you put you name on a square cookie cutter project.
Design is a key factor in most construction project. Each lot is different, each home is different, and each customers needs are different. I am a big believer in whoever designs a project should have a building long standing quality mindset, not just how it looks mindset. With that being said who wants a square jail space look to your new deck. A designer will look to put his unique signature on the design. Some deck builders here, have done unique things that the instant you see the deck you know they built it, I have to tip my hat to them they have stepped beyond the cookie cutter mentality.
Here in Michigan the economy has been really tough, we have been very dependent upon the auto industry to our own hurt. The fat and over paid union mentality has hurt us. We have to not only to create a brand, but work at proving ourselves that we are hard workers and we will go the extra for our clients. This is what has given a bad rap to our remodeling industry. The do it yourself-er would say: We are out to take every short cut, charge a high price and leave work not done and job sites a mess.
A "Pro" should go the extra mile not only in design, workmanship, cleanliness, and in business dealings. That is why you should hire a pro!
Here is the latest project we have been working on. Basically building a new 26x21 cedar deck. There was a existing decking that was in bad shape, and that had some very large built in planters. So we took down the old deck and re-designed the new deck.
The house is a real interesting design being in a shape of an L with door walls on each side of the home. We tried to go with a unique deck design, incorporating some different angles into the design, which I really liked the 54 degree angle instead of the basic 45 degree cut corner.
Here we just finished the framing up and we are waiting for the open joist inspection, so we can start installing the decking.
Here the homeowner pre-stained the 2x4 rails with a Sherman Williams natural oil based stain. So he would not have to cut in around the balusters. This is a big benefit over treated pine because the treated is really wet it has to wait to be stained, where the cedar can be stained right away.
Here the 2x6 cedar decking has just been installed (screwed down)
The seam board, picture frame border course and railings are next.
Here we just installed the Cedar 2x4 builders rail, with a 2x6 deck board top cap rail, and 3/4 round deckorators balusters. Two tiered 1x8, 1x4 rough sawn fascia installed under the picture frame border.
The last step was building the stairs, they are 4' wide with a 7.5 rise, and with the two tiered fascia detail.