HB Building & Design Builds Decks…

by Bob Regan, HB Building & Design

image19_bigOne of the many things Hammer Building knows a lot about is building decks, it is one of our specialties. So today I wanted to talk about building decks decking materials. The most important thing to know is that each deck is different, a General Contractor is the best contractor to hire for your deck. You very often need plans to get a permit to build the deck, each community town has certain rules about set-backs, heights, footings safety that need to be followed. Also, if you want to include things like lighting, waterproofing an upper deck so the area below stays dry, or include a hot tub, it’s important that the General Contractor has the right subcontractors to assist with the job.

15 years ago, 90 percent of decks were 2×6 nailed-on redwood deck framing. Most of the time the decks were Doug Fir, sometimes they were Pressure Treated. TREX, the first of many man-made composite decking materials, was introduced about ten years ago. It was not the best product,, it faded quickly had other problems. But the manufacturer has responded to the market today it is the leading product with six or seven different types of decking, including a fire resistant decking, at least 10 different colors textures.

Since then, composites of many different types competitors offering things like matching pickets, curved designs, pergolas, fencing, privacy lattice have come on the market.

The latest products to be used are recycled plastics, they’ve been around a while from companies like AZEK, who have been in the deck product business for years. Their products are gaining popularity, with features in their new plastic product that is completely stain scratch resistant. Because moisture cycling is a main reason for coating failure on wood, painting the plastic AZEK products do not absorb moisture, so paints last longer on AZEK products than on wood.

You install composite decking differently now, you use screws, clips or hidden fasteners. In fact, we even use screws now on all our redwood decks. Redwood is still a viable option — it costs less – now is screwed down because people mainly complained when nails popped up from the weathering of the wood shrinkage expansion.

Deck Framing material is all pressure treated now that the arsenic has been removed from process, but all deck hardware must be stainless steel or z-prime. Galvanized copper from the Pressure Treated wood reacted in that they decomposed when they came in contact with PT wood, so a different type of hardware had to be used.

Railings are still commonly built with stard redwood pickets, or a combination of redwood cable rail or metal pipes; or you can add aluminum glass for a windbreak or see-through railing. Price-wise, there isn’t much difference, but there is a slight difference in labor costs. I once did a curved railing with metal pipes, that was a real challenge!

Let me know if you ever want to talk about your deck, or if you are interested in seeing any sample materials or photos of completed decks. It’s been great talking with you!   Bob Regan, Hammer Building Inc.  650-728-5878