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

Can you place a fire pit on a deck?

Archadeck of Charlotte built this Trex Transcends Spice Rum composite deck with a composite bench and stone fire pit that is gas burning

Archadeck of Charlotte built this Trex Transcends Spice Rum composite deck with a composite bench and stone fire pit that is gas burning

Can you really place a fire pit on a deck? The answer technically is yes. Archadeck of Charlotte has been doing it for the past several years and has consulted with local building code officials to do it legally and as safely as possible.

The safest ways to build a fire pit on a deck is to use gas logs as you can then control the flame. If you really want a wood-burning fire pit, you want to keep it at least 10 feet from your home and control the amount of wood you place in the pit. You will also want to think about building the pit a bit taller in order to handle the ashes.

Building a stone fire pit on a deck is more cost effective if your deck is low to the ground as you will need a footing directly under it to handle the weight. The taller the deck, the taller the support structure will need to be to handle it and therefore increase the cost of the project. If you would like to see more ideas on fire pits and decks, go to www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Planning on installing Trex Composite Decking yourself?

Trex Composite dekcing installed by Archadeck of Charlotte

Trex Transcends composite deck and fascia in Charlotte, NC

Are you planning on installing Trex Composite decking yourself? There are a few things you should really consider before attempting to do this.

1. How much experience do you have structuring decks?

2. Do you have the appropriate tools to cut and secure with?

3. Are you familiar with the warranty requirements and installation instructions?

4. Are you familiar with the structural support requirements as composite decking is heavier than wood?

Purchasing Trex or any other composite decking is not inexpensive. We have seen many “do-it-yourselfers” really screw up the job and it ends up costing far more than if they had hired a professional in the first place!

Trex requires a 12″ on center joist spacing if you are going to install the deck boards on a diagonal. You also need to make sure you have the appropriate saw blade. In addition, there are various fasteners to choose from, many of which do not work well with Trex. To understand more about composite decking and installation, visit 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

What are the best options for pool decks and spa decks?

wood deck with hot tub and low voltage deck lights

outdoor living room with custom deck and hot tub

Pool decks and spa decks are growing in popularity once again as our economy heats up. At Archadeck of Charlotte we have seen a large increase in demand, in particular for hot tub/ spa decks. 

The options are many but they are easily narrowed down by your particular circumstances and wants. Materials range from natural woods, stone, and concrete to synthetic materials such a “Cool Deck” and composite materials such as Trex Composite Decking and Railing.

If you want your pool or spa deck to be low maintenance, Trex or other synthetic materials are ideal! If you are looking to keep the costs down, a concrete slab or pressure-treated wood deck are going to be viable options. 

What is most helpful if to contact a professional deck builder and deck designer who can walk you through not only the material options but the options for the deck height for the most functional way to design the access in and out of the hot tub or pool. To see great hot tub deck designs and pool deck designs, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com  

How do I know if I have to replace my deck or I can use the existing structure and simply replace the boards?

How do you know when your deck needs to be replaced completely versus simply replacing the deck boards and rail? Experience tells us the life expectancy of the wood structure is somewhere betweeen 20 – 30 years depending on how it was constructed and maintained.

Once your deck hits the 20 year mark, it would be a good time to have a professional come out and assess the wood itself, the method in which it was fastened, and the supports that carry the load. There are certain conditions that can determine the longevity of the deck such as the soil and the grade of the land. Soil and erode over time and the footings can be exposed which makes the integrity of the structure weaken considerably.

Wood decks need to be sealed either with paint or stain to keep it from the harsh weathering of the sun. In addition, building codes change every 2 – 4 years on how decks are to be constructed and fastened. There are times that simple enhancements can be made to your existing deck to bring it up to the current building codes for safety concerns.

To gather more information, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com  or call 704-944-1350 and ask about a free deck safety inspection.