For my deck replacement project, can I save the existing frame?
This is THE first question to be addressed in 75% of all deck projects by both the client and us as your contractor. The amount of existing decks on the market that are being re-surfaced or completely replaced including the frame dominates the decking market nowadays. If you, the homeowner / client, prefers your existing layout design with no changes, then the question becomes even more relevant.
The first step is that a professional deck evaluation needs to be completed that includes an understanding of what pressure treated lumber chemicals were used in the original frame construction and the year the deck was built. This is critical because we come across many decks built 20 – 30 years ago whose structure is in great shape and completely salvageable compared to MANY 10 year old deck frames that are completely rotting away with a high replacement cost. Regrettably, this is not coincidental as the “pressure treated wood” industry was afflicted with a case of completely false and unsubstantiated shivers in 2003 and allowed the EPA to fumble badly forcing the industry in 2004 to stop using CCA as the wood treatment chemical for all residential use / construction despite it’s absolute perfect safety and health risk record and unmatched performance record. The result ever since has been predictably bad for us contractors and end user consumers with replacement treatment chemicals products that are far worse performing with potentially much greater safety risk in regard to deck failure and collapse. Even more credulous is that the “industry” “knows” of these deficiencies and the original false narrative regarding CCA yet promotes the usage of inferior chemicals to its financial benefit while risking much greater end user safety risk not to mention ridiculous replacement cost. It’s almost sad that we occasionally come across older CCA framed decks where the lumber is in such good condition that it is more valuable and preferable than any “new” lumber commonly available.
The above tangent history lesson is critical background knowledge necessary for the proper evaluation of any existing deck frame. “Custom Built Since 1989” is American Deck & Patio and why our experience is so relevant to evaluating your existing deck structure. This is also why we have selected and procure a very specific chemical treated wood process for all of our deck framing lumber with proven superior performance and far fewer consumer product warranty issues.
For older deck projects where you plan design revision of existing framed structure or adding significant square foot area , it is frequently better to just replace the older frame. But for projects with little to no design revision, saving the frame can be a financial win for you BUT requires professional evaluation that includes in-depth knowledge of the above history lesson and all of the chemical iterations that followed CCA. Please call us (800) 592 – DECK (3325) to discuss any questions related to above or if you should have ANY concerns related to your existing deck structure.
Some “symptoms” that you may notice as obvious and serious signs of concern are:
- The deck surface or step treads feel “spongy” as you walk across surface.
- You notice that the upper corners of your step frame stringers are compromised or partially broken off.
- You notice any “whitening” of your frame members or step stringers. That is a major visual clue to existing fungus rot.
- You notice that your railing / rails seem considerably “loose” or “wobbly” as compared to the original installation.
If you notice or are aware of any noted conditions above, Please call us to discuss next steps and having your deck inspected as soon as possible.
What are the differences between composite deck boards? Why should I pick one over another?
Composite decking lumber has made tremendous improvements since it came to market in the early 1990’s to the point that composite decking is almost 90% of what we install as decking product. When it first came to market, the main functioning benefits were no rot and no splinters while staining, scratch, mold, mildew, and poor aesthetics hindered its adoption. 25 years later, aesthetics and overall performance have greatly improved. The largest brands of composite lumber are Trex, TimberTech AZEK, and Fiberon. They offer a full product line of decking, railing, and accessories with similar warranty programs. There are roughly another 20+ manufacturers with regional availability that also offer a compelling product line.
So why one over another?? We suggest that color, texture, and aesthetics from one of the larger brands be a primary decision criteria. The larger brands have done the bulk of product development and strongly support their products with good warranty programs. The financial difference can also be a decision variable as the brands offer good, better, best product line ups….Sometimes, design variables such as curves or color will dictate your selection. Other design variables such as function will strongly influence your selection. An example is the growing outdoor project category of “Dry-Space” decks that create a “dry” area under the deck purposed for additional social spaces, patios, screened porches, storage areas, sheds, hot tub retreats, etc. To meet this category need, ADP has developed a specialty installing Admiral SpaceMaker Decking that is an extremely attractive decking that is also the roofing membrane that does not let any water through the surface with its patented seal technology. It’s a great way to “double” your space for 25% project expense.
Please allow us an opportunity to show you all of the decking and product options. We have a developed an experienced process of helping you navigate all of the options with out sensory overload…..You should see the decking selections in person. Please visit our showroom at your convenience to see what’s available: 115 Mount Carmel Road Parkton, MD 21120
What is a 3 season room?
Another fast growing segment of Outdoor Living is “Porches”, “Enclosures”, “Sun Rooms”. Some are open, screened, 3 season, or 4 season. A Four Season Room or sun room is just that… a conditioned space that includes insulation, HVAC, electric to code and provides an “indoor” environment year round. It is really like an “addition” to your home with various foundation options or frame support structure options.
So what is a 3 Season Room??? It’s a hybrid between a screened porch and a 4 season room. A 3 season room is NOT a conditioned space with a HVAC system. It can include electric heat or other properly vented fuel source heat options. The “window” systems are typically “single pane ” systems. A 3 season room should be good at keeping the wind, rain, and pollen, (elements) outside while allowing you the option to add a heat source for cooler weather or open up the windows and circulate air for warmer weather. An analogy that I use with clients is that a 3 season room is similar to a car without air conditioning. If its mid November and 40 degrees outside, your car is also 40 degrees inside until you start it up and run the heat, then it cools off as soon as you turn it off. The 3 season room works the same way, its cold until you heat it up or hot if summer until you open up the windows and turn the ceiling fan(s) on.
One major benefit is that a 3 season room can be a very custom project that looks “original” to your home while still providing that “outdoor” or rustic feel and typically coming in at about 1/2 the budget of most 4 season rooms / additions with 90+ % of the functionality. Many of our clients augment their 3 season rooms with fire places, TV’s, multiple LED lights and fans, etc.
Please call us to discuss this potential retreat for your family: (410) 254 – 7360.