How to build a Charlotte deck…the Archadeck way!

Multi-level deck with stone outdoor fireplace by Archadeck of Charlotte

Multi-level deck with stone outdoor fireplace by Archadeck of Charlotte

At the risk of teaching all of you “do-it-yourselfer’s” how to properly construct a deck, it is worth it to us to make sure that whatever is built by whomever, is done so with safety first!

Decks do require building permits in North and South Carolina.

Archadeck has been designing and building decks for over 25 years and literally has over 23,000 decks built here in the Charlotte area. Here are some guidelines formed from our experience:

1. Ground conditions are a very important factor to start with. If there is a lot of fill dirt where you are going to place your footings, you may need a soil engineer to design a proper footing that will disperse the weight load so that your deck does not begin to sink. If there is soft or bull tallow soil, the same remedy applies.

2. It all starts with your footings. In North Carolina, we typically dig 12″ – 24″ or until we find solid soil if possible. Then you can either purchase 16″x16″ cinder blocks and make sure your 6×6 columns are placed squarely on the blocks before filling in the dirt over and around them. You may also need to add concrete depending on the conditions of the soil, the height of the deck, lateral bracing constraints, and so forth

3. Once you have passed your footing inspection, it is time to start framing. We typically will use either 2×8 or 2×10 floor joists that will attach to a 2×12 band or ledger boards we tie into the actual house if the house is on a crawl space. If the house is built on a slab, that we are forced to build what is referred to as a “free-standing” deck meaning we will add footers up next to the house wall. If we are cutting into a vinyl or fiber cement sided house, we need to purchase and install metal flashing to avoid having moisture get in behind the siding and rotting the house wall.

3. We typically will purchase pressure-treated wood deck boards that are 5/4×6 in dimension and screw them down. We space our floor joists 16″ on center unless we are using composite decking and laying the boards on a diagonal, then we will space them 12″ on center.

4. We use a 12″ fascia board to hide the ends of the decking boards to create a clean finish around the perimeter of the deck

5. Rail is required here in North Carolina once the height of the deck is 30″ above grade or greater. The standard rail height minimum is 36″. There a vast amount of choices of rail systems ranging from custom made to kits.

6. If you are installing dried lumber (that is our preference), it is important to have the deck sealed/stained shortly after installation to protect the deck itself. We find Cabot or the proprietary stain from Renew Crew to be quite effective and protecting the wood decking.

If you’re considering adding a deck to your Charlotte area home, we would love if you would give us a call for a free consultation at (704) 944 – 1350.

This si a good example of Renew Crew of Charlotte can clean and protect wood decking

This is a good example of Renew Crew of Charlotte can clean and protect wood decking

What is the most effective way to restore my deck?

Pressure-treated wood deck with English Lattice and pergola in Huntersville, NC by Archadeck

Pressure-treated wood deck with English Lattice and pergola in Huntersville, NC by Archadeck

Do you have a wooden deck that has seen better days? Are you concerned at all about deck safety and if your deck is going to withstand another season. There are several things to look for and different ways to handle these concerns.

First and foremost, you want to examine the structure of the deck itself. Are the footings solid? Are your columns in good shape holding the deck up? How about the floor joists? What kind of footings were used to originally construct the deck? The rail is another important feature to examine. Has it worked loose of time? Are all of the fasteners still engaged? Give it the old rattle test with you hand.

The most common areas for a deck to go are the actual decking boards themselves and the wood rail cap. When these begin to go bad, you have a few choices. You can sand and stain yourself if it has not rotten, you can call a professional deck restoration company such as Renew Crew of Charlotte and have it done for you, or you can get a professional to simply come out and give you a deck safety inspection such as Archadeck of Charlotte.

Deck safety inspections are often inexpensive and many companies such as Archadeck will deduct the cost of the inspection from the fix itself if they are hired to perform the deck restoration. If your deck is more than 4′ in the air and is over 10 years old, it is an excellent idea to have the deck thoroughly inspected. If the findings are the structure is in good shape, the best way to restore the deck is either to replace the deck boards and rail with a good grade of lumber or composite and this can be done relatively inexpensively! To get some good restoration ideas for your deck, go to our photo gallery at http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

What are the top 3 ways to repair your deck?

Pressure-treated wood deck that is multi-tiered and designed and built by Archadeck of Charlotte

Pressure-treated wood deck that is multi-tiered and designed and built by Archadeck of Charlotte

If you simply need to bring your deck up to speed, there are 3 simple things that can be done to repair your deck or even enhance the deck.

First, make sure your footings are solid as this is the foundation that keeps your deck upright and level. This can be achieved by using a level and then figuring out which of the footings are out of level. You would then dig around the footing and expose it. Make sure it is properly dug to the correct depth per the code in our area and reinforced with concrete.

Secondly, most deck issues are with the hand rail and deck boards as they are exposed to the sun. If the boards are not rotten, take a palm sander, smooth out the splinters then come back and clean and seal the deck boards.

Finally, you may have simple cupping or deck boards lifting off of the joists. Take a screw gun and make sure you hit the floor joist solidly to get a good grip on it.

If you need assistance or want to see great deck examples, go to charlotte.archadeck.com

Rustic chic screen porches..today’s designs

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this gazebo style screen porch with Cabot Stain

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this gazebo style screen porch with Cabot Stain

There is a real demand for designing screen porches with a rustic chic flare. We see different trends come and go but this idea of rustic chic has been there for awhile and the demand is picking up steam. If you really think about all that goes into a screen porch, you realize how many elements effect the aesthetics and overall architectural appeal.

We start with the construction and trim. The materials you choose for your flooring, columns, and ceiling all influence the appeal. In Charlotte, NC we see some exposed rafters up in the ceiling. We see dark, warm stains being used on the columns and floor.

Then think about trim detail. How do finish off the screen and the attaching mechanisms? How about the bottom and the top of the screen porch? For a great photo gallery of screen porch designs, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Best way to seal your deck…try Cabot as Archadeck recommends Jarra Brown

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built wood deck and stone fire pit

Wood deck and fire pit with decorator pickets

Best way to seal your deck…try Cabot as Archadeck recommends Jarra Brown

We often get asked, what is the best way to seal a wood deck? We have years of experience with Cabot stain as it is generally used by the pros and is a high quality deck stain.

In terms of color, we love Jarra Brown for its semi-transparent and rich brown color that makes your pressure-treated pine deck appear to be a Brazilian hardwood like IPE!

To see more Cabot stain deck colors, go to charlotte.archadeck.com

Patio or Deck, how do I decide?

Travertine stone raised patio in Charlotte by Archadeck with stone steps

Travertine stone raised patio in Charlotte by Archadeck with stone steps

How does one go about deciding whether to build a patio or deck? This is a common dilemma for homeowners. Some recommendations from Archadeck of Charlotte are highlighted below.

The first thing to consider when you are looking at whether to build a deck or a patio is the grade of your land. If you are living in a home where it is built on slab and there is little to no slope to your grade where you want to build the structure, a patio is a logical choice. In addition, look at the height of your back door threshold from grade and make sure there is at least 6″ so there is enough room to add “sleepers” to construct a deck. Otherwise, you would need to have a free-standing deck that you would need to build a step to go up to.

If you are living on a home constructed on a crawl space, a deck can be a natural selection because you can adjust the height of the deck to accommodate any rise and add attractive design options like making the deck mulch-level. This even gives you the option of designing a deck and a patio together.

We have great deck design options and patio options to view at http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Don’t feel like cleaning up the all that pollen in Charlotte, NC?

Each and every year we get an enormous amount of a greenish-yellow coating of dust better known as pollen. It generally hits us in late March and goes until the beginning of May. It covers our cars, screens, house walls, patios, decks, and porches.

 

Are you tired of cleaning it. A most affordable and safe solution is Renew Crew, an Archadeck of Charlotte company. Renew Crew is a company that “power cleans” your exterior surface without the high pressure stream of a pure power washing company. With years of education and experience in this field, the company has trained professionals that can take care of all our your exterior cleaning needs for a very affordable price. For more information of Renew Crew, go to charlotte.renewcrewclean.com or call 704-944-1350