What are the pros and cons of composite decking?

pic of a Composite deck built in fort collins, co

More and more homeowners are looking for durable ways to improve their homes. Many want to increase the value of their property by installing decking. The most common version is the traditional wooden decking. However, an increased amount of people is interested in more durable variants, such as composite decks.

Composite decking is gaining rapid popularity. They have greater durability and are easy to clean. They have a longer life span than traditional wooden decks as they are resistant to mold, insect damage, and the elements. Composite decking is more expensive but definitely worth the money.

In this article, I will take you through all the advantages and disadvantages of this durable version of decking. I have no doubt that after reading this article, you will have all the necessary information you need to make a well-considered decision.

What are the advantages of composite decking?

If you are a homeowner who’s looking to improve their home with a durable deck, you might wonder, what are the advantages of composite decking? I listed the most relevant advantages down below. 

  • Less maintenance

Nowadays, people are always busy. They are working around the clock and want to spend the time they have left with their loved ones. Therefore, it is extremely valuable to have decking that requires as little maintenance as possible. No wonder that this is one of the biggest advantages when it comes to composite decking.

As wooden decking is very prone to mold and rot, it needs lots of maintenance. On the contrary, composite decking is very resistant to rot and is therefore easy to maintain. The material doesn’t require repainting or resealing. However, it is good to regularly clean the composite deck. This can easily be done with water and soap. 

  • Durability & Lifespan

We want every part of our house to be as durable as possible. Therefore, composite decking is an excellent choice. To put it easy, the material is a mix of wood and plastic. As this material is resistant to rot, it is an extremely durable option. Its lifespan is also a lot longer compared to the wooden variant. Where traditional wooden decking can last up to 15 years (with proper maintenance), composite decks can last up to 30 years. This is double the lifespan!

Composite decking does not fade or stain, which makes it the most comfortable option for families with kids and pets.

  • Slip-resistant

We all know these winter mornings, where we have to be extremely careful when going outside due to the danger of slipping. When having little kids, composite decking is the perfect solution. You don’t have to worry that anyone might slip, as most composite decks are slip-resistant. 

  • Resistance to weather conditions


The traditional wooden decks can get discolored and weakened by extreme weather conditions. Composite decking withstands these circumstances better and causes your decking to have a longer life span. You no longer have to worry about frost, rain, or extremely high temperatures. Your composite deck will survive it all! 

What are the disadvantages of composite decking?

In order to make a well-considered choice, you should also be familiar with the possible disadvantages of your purchase. So, what exactly are the disadvantages of composite decking? Below I listed the disadvantages you should be aware of.

  • Price

Something that might be seen as a disadvantage of composite decking is its price. As it is approximately double the price of a traditional wooden decking. However, considering the fact that it has double the life span, we could conclude that it is definitely worth the investment. Besides that, considering all the costs you save on maintenance, a composite deck ends up paying for itself over the years. Also, a good quality composite deck can even increase the value of your house, as the next homeowners will be able to use it for many years more.

  • It’s not natural

Another disadvantage that some people might mention, is the fact that the materials used for composite deck boards are not natural. Therefore, some people have the opinion that they lack the natural look and color. However, for most people composite decking is famous for its striking resemblance to natural wood. I guess we could say that it is a matter of personal preference and taste.

  • Scratches

Composite decking is made of a combination of plastic and wood. This blend increases the life span of the deck. However, it is good to remember that the material is not indestructible. There is still a risk of scratches when replacing outdoor furniture. Handle your deck with great care, to enjoy it for a long time.

What is composite decking made of?

As mentioned before, the two primary ingredients of composite decking are wood and plastic. The materials have often been sourced from recycled materials. Therefore, it is an eco-friendly choice. The blend of these two materials provides more stability and better performance.

TimberTech

A well-known company providing composite decking is TimberTech. Their deck boards are made of 80 % recycled materials. The core is a blend of wood fibers and composite material coated in a protective cap. The materials used, result in decking with all the beautiful features of natural wood, but without the risk of mold, insect damage, and maintenance costs. The deck boards won’t rot or weather, as the traditional wooden version tends to do. 

Read more about the advantages of TimberTech composite decking

Does composite decking get hot?

Many people are afraid that composite decking is more sensitive to temperature than wood, and therefore gets hotter. So, the question is, does composite decking get hot? 

Like any surface that is exposed to direct sunlight, composite decking might get hot. However, while the early composite decks were very sensitive to high temperatures, the newer versions are much more resistant to heat. Good quality, modern composite decking won’t become any hotter than the traditional wooden boards.

If it’s important for you that the deck remains as cool as possible, it is wise to choose a light color of decking boards. As with any other product, black attracts more heat than white. Therefore, it is wise to choose a light color of composite decking, as this will reduce the temperature during summer. 

Is composite decking worth it?

If you are thinking about installing composite decking, you might wonder if it is worth the cost. We understand that you don’t want to be spending a lot of money on something that might not be worth it. As you are going to spend almost double the price of a traditional wooden decking, it is understandable that you want to make sure that it is worth the investment.

Taking all of the above pros and cons into consideration, we can conclude that composite decking is definitely worth its price. After all, in this case, double the cost means double the life span. So, you are not actually spending more money. As mentioned above, with all the money you save on maintenance, the deck actually pays for itself! Besides that, many disadvantages are not valid anymore due to new designs and techniques. 

We would definitely recommend composite decking, as it is the best way to improve your house in a durable way. To learn more about our deck construction services click here. If you live in the Northern Colorado, area give us a call today at 970-663-2868 to talk to someone about your next outdoor project.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Deck in Colorado? Rules Cost and More

Have you got a big decking project in mind? Good for you! Getting a deck built or building your own deck can be a source of pride and joy for many homeowners. If your question is whether or not you need a permit to start, then do I have the info for you. Everywhere is a little bit different, but it’s good to have a look at the rules you need to abide by. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at the permit process in Colorado.

You will need to obtain a building permit to build a deck in the state of Colorado. You may require additional permits if installing a feature that has a connection to water, electricity, or gas. However, a small free-standing deck that is no more than 30 inches in height does not require a permit.

The process of obtaining a building permit for your deck is fairly similar across Colorado. There are also costs involved and consequences if you build without a permit, which I will explain.

Colorado Building Permits for Decking

After all the effort of planning and building a deck for your home, you definitely want to make sure it is up to code. Permits are required by law to ensure the safety of your home for you and any subsequent homeowners.

A four-year study revealed that, of all the injuries involving decking, approximately 19,690 cases were caused by structural failure or collapse. The local government is keeping up to date with the latest safety standards so that they can pass these standards onto homeowners when they apply for a building permit.

Each permit will be slightly different depending on what city you are living in. There are state guidelines for Colorado, but these guidelines branch out into each county and city. The best thing to do is to type into Google ‘building permit for a deck in [insert your city here]’, or browse your city’s government website.

The following is based on permit law from Fort Collins in Larimer County, however, all permits are derived from international standards. These are outlined in the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC), written by the International Code Council (ICC).

What You Will Need
The following list outlines what is required for the permit to be reviewed. It is your responsibility to gather these documents and provide them to your city council with your application form. 

  • Permit application form
  • Homeowner affidavit
  • Deck information/materials used
  • Site plan (where the deck sits on your lot)
  • Floor plan (house and decking)
  • Side view/elevation plan (shows the foundations and wall attachments if relevant)
  • Connection details (how you are connecting to the wall)
  • Photo of area where you plan to build the deck

This checklist has been taken from the Fort Collins Residential Deck Guide. Just remember that your specific city may differ slightly. In Fort Collins, these documents are all provided for you to sign and fill in. For the drawn plans of your deck, they give examples of what details you should be providing.

Cost
The cost of the permit depends on many factors. On average, you’ll be looking at somewhere around $225-$500 in Colorado.

Permit prices are based on the value of the deck as well as the services required during the inspection period. For example, if you need an inspection outside normal working hours, you will be charged around $50 per hour for the inspector. Or if you fail an inspection and need to repeat it, you will again be charged per hour for the inspector to come out.

You will also require additional permits for any gas, electricity, or water services.  For example, you may want to gas heater on the deck. These start at approximately $25 per permit.

The Process
Here is a step-by-step process of what you can expect when applying for a permit.

  1. Draw up plans for decking.
  2. Prepare all documents mentioned previously.
  3. Submit the application form with supporting documents and payment.
  4. Application is reviewed, including Historic Preservation review if your home is over 50 years old.
  5. Permit is issued and valid for 180 days. You can request one free extension period of a further 180 days. This should be displayed somewhere near the construction.
  6. Begin construction.
  7. First inspection when the setback and footings are established.
  8. Second inspection when the foundation is complete (the concrete piers and pillars are in place)
  9. Third inspection when the frame and any utilities are established (minus flooring of the deck).
  10. Final inspection when the deck is complete.

Rules for Building a Deck
There are many things to consider when designing your deck. By studying the rules specific to your area, you will save yourself the hassle of failing inspections and repeating each step of the building process. Below are a few of the rules you might find.

  • Guardrails: essential if the deck is more than 30 inches above ground. Guardrails should be a minimum 36 inches in height.
  • Stairs: Must be at least 36 inches wide. If more than four risers, stairs must have a 34-36 inch handrail. Risers can range between 4-7 ¾ inch and treads should be at least 10 inches. Stairs must be illuminated.
  • Piers: Concrete piers must be a minimum of 30 inches deep and 8 inches in diameter. Concrete should protrude at least 8 inches above ground. Anchor bolt should be embedded at least 7 inches into concrete. Wooden pillars must be treated to prevent corrosion.

These are the major rules regarding the construction of your deck. These rules may change as the ICC updates their codes every three years. There are also many finer details covered in the ICC’s building code, such as handrail specifications and joists. I suggest you look up the rules specific to your city immediately prior to planning so that you have the most up to date building codes.

Building a Deck without a Permit

Building a deck without a permit is risky. I’m sure there are people who have done it before, but rules have been tightening to ensure that those who have built without a permit are caught. Being caught means paying a hefty fine as well as other consequences.

However, if you are building a floating or ground-level deck, you do not require a permit. The floating deck must be free-standing (not attached to the house), no more than 30 inches high, and have less than 120 feet of flooring.

Regular decking that is not up to code may be reported by anyone. The deck may cause serious harm to someone, leaving you liable for their injuries and open to being sued. This is going to cost far more than getting a permit and having regular inspections.

Your insurance company will also refuse to pay for damages if they found out that your deck was built without a permit. So if you were to be sued, you’d be paying for everything yourself.

Decks that are up to code, but built without a permit, might go unnoticed. However, if you were to ever try to sell your home, you might be required to provide proof of obtaining a permit. 

Some financial institutions will insist on an inspection report before the purchase can be made. If there is no evidence that the deck was built with a permit, there’s a high chance you will be asked to dismantle it and start again. There’s also a chance that the value of your home will be forced down if buyers find out about it.

If you already have a deck that does not have a permit, you can obtain one for the existing structure. This process involves drawing up all the plans for the deck as if you were building it yourself, applying through your local city, and having an inspector look at it. 

If it is not up to code, which may have changed since it was built, you will be required to tear down the sub-standard sections and rebuild as directed by the inspector.

I’m sure the reason you’re reading this article is because you want to do the right thing when you build your deck. I hope you’ve found the answers you were looking for and enjoy the process of building your very own deck.

Click here to visit our Deck Building Services page to learn more about what we do.

Hey NoCo, interested in talking to someone here at TNT today about your project, give us a call at 970-663-2868. You can also reach us right here on the website for instant chat (bottom right) or email us at sales@tnthomeimprovements.com

How To Build A Second-Story Deck

Adding a second story deck to your home is not only a great home improvement idea, but it can increase the living and entertainment space of your home and also increase its value. Decks can be at ground level but can also be constructed for other house levels as well. You may wonder if a second-story deck is right for your home and how to build a second-story deck.

Building a second-story deck on your home requires special consideration for the design, structural engineering, and material choice for construction. The structural requirements and design are more complex than ground-level decks and usually require professional construction and advice.

Building a second-story deck has some additional considerations to be mindful of over a ground-level deck. The support requirements will be different, as well as the design aesthetics and the costs involved. The support of the upper-level deck is of particular importance. It should not be neglected at the design phase of your planning.

Considerations For Building A Second-Story Deck

Building an upper deck is a project that many homeowners choose to undertake because of the benefits a deck provides to increase the home’s living space and increase its value.

Suppose you are planning on building a second-story deck. In that case, you may want to consider the following before you embark on the project.

  • Aesthetics of the deck. How is the deck going to impact the look of the outside of your house? The designs of some homes do not lend themselves to the construction of a second-story deck.
  • The support of the deck. Because of the deck’s height, there are additional code requirements and engineering requirements to factor in to ensure the deck is sturdy, safe, and will last a long time.
  • Access to the second-story deck. You will need to modify a second-story room to allow access to the top deck, which will involve structural changes to your home that you need to plan for and factor in as an additional cost to the deck’s construction.
  • External deck access. Suppose you intend to add stairs to the deck to make it accessible from the outside. In that case, you need to design the stairs carefully to minimize the visual impact they will have on your home and any lower-level windows or access point. Stairs also need specific types of support to make sure they are safe and robust.
  • Additional taxes. A deck adds value to your home, and as such, you will pay more in taxes for your home once the deck is complete.
  • Insurance costs. You may want to consult your insurance provider to determine any insurance risk requirements and costs before going ahead with your second-story deck project.

Some of these points of consideration can be tricky to decide on and get right from a code and structural point of view, and that is where we at T-N-T Home Improvements can help you out.

Deckbuilding is one of our specialties. We have in-house engineers to help you with designs and structural concerns, as well as advice on the best materials to use for your deck construction!

How To Support A Second-Story Deck

Structural support is certainly one of the most important considerations for an upper-level deck. The deck’s height will be a dimension that will dictate the type, structure, and distance between the deck’s supports.

Supporting a second-story deck has different requirements to be remembered, not only for the deck itself but also for the house.

Some homes have a gap between the ceiling of the ground floor and the floor of the second-story to accommodate air conditioning and heating ducting, electrical wiring, and bathroom plumbing. This height difference between the two stories must be factored into the deck’s final height calculations and how the deck is to be secured to the house.

The support posts of the deck need to be sized correctly for the height of the deck. Generally, a 4×4 post is recommended for a deck that is 8 to 9-feet above ground level, but if your deck is going to be higher than this, then the 4×4 posts will not be the best choice to support the deck.

If your deck is higher, you may need 6×6 posts or even 8×8 posts. These posts are significantly thicker and thus more expensive than 4×4 posts, so to design your deck cost-effectively, you need to know what the right size posts are to use for your deck. This is easily determined by our on-site engineer, but if you don’t have one of those, you will need to read up on the requirements and building codes in your area. 

Using unnecessarily thick posts can lead to unnecessary expenses. While using posts that are too small could result in a deck that is dangerous or that will not last long.

You may opt for a different support material altogether in certain instances, such as structural steel support or even giant glulam beams. But these are usually found on very custom decks and not as common as just 4×4 posts and 2×8 joists.

The footing (or caisson) for the posts is also important. As is the connection hardware between the post and the caisson.

Second-Story Deck And Patio Ideas

If you are considering adding a raised deck to your home, you may have a basic idea of what you want but not sure of a design that would fit in with your house layout and design.

Often, the biggest problem is visualizing the design and seeing it in your mind’s eye and how it affects your house’s look.

A good idea is to get a CAD drawing done of the deck and your house, which will leave you in no doubt about how the design will look in real life and how it will affect your home’s appearance.

T-N-T Home Improvements can render a 3D CAD drawing of your proposed deck so you can get an excellent feel for what your proposed project will turn out like.

Design aspects for your upper deck that you should also consider include: adding a roof for the deck and the railing design around the deck.

A roof could provide you with shade, shelter, or both and improve your deck’s usability across the different seasons and the weather they bring.

The deck railing is not only a safety feature but also an aesthetic element that needs to fit in with the style and décor of your home.

The material you choose to build your deck will determine how it fares and weathers over the years and ultimately how it makes your home look. The material used will also be a factor determining how much maintenance will cost you over the years.

An excellent way to get some ideas for second-story decking is to look at what some other people have included in their deck designs to see what could work for you. Take a look at our T-N-T Home Improvements deck gallery to view some of the projects we have completed for our customers.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Second-Story Deck?

The cost of building a raised deck is subject to the material you use, the height of the deck, and the dimensions of the deck.

The material used is a factor that affects the initial cost to build the deck and the ongoing maintenance costs of the deck. Synthetic materials have a higher initial price than natural wood. Still, they have a significant saving in the long run on maintenance and replacement costs.

Natural lumber has a cheaper entry-level cost to get the deck installed. Still, the deck will require annual maintenance costs that will significantly increase your home’s maintenance cost. 

In certain applications, wood works better than synthetic materials, and you may still want to go the natural material route. 

Finding a contractor who can give you practical advice from experience with both materials could quite possibly be the best choice you can make in the construction of your deck.

Conclusion

The decision to embark on a project to put a second-story on your home is a good idea to add outdoor living and recreational space to your home and increase the value at the same time.

While a second-story deck is a little more complicated than a ground-level deck, it is not beyond the reach of most homeowners and adds an attractive and functional feature to your home.

Wherever possible, use an experienced contractor who specialized in deck construction to give you valuable input on the design, materials, and construction of your deck. 

We at T-N-T Home Improvements can not only offer advice on design and materials but have in-house engineers to advise you on the structural aspects and choices of your deck. We can assist you from design to engineering and construction of your deck to make sure you have a professional outcome and the deck of your dreams!

What Type of Window Is Most Energy Efficient?

Windows come in as many varieties as the houses they illuminate. However, just like houses, not all windows are created equal, and some are significantly more energy-efficient than others. Your windows’ energy efficiency should always be considered when upgrading or building your house for the first time.

In terms of windows that can open, casement windows perform the best to prevent air leakage, making them an excellent energy-efficient choice. However, consider the u-value of any window that you intend to purchase and the material it is constructed from. Those factors will also determine its overall energy efficiency.

As you might expect, choosing the right window for your home involves taking many different aspects into account. Something that you should review if you are planning to get your windows replaced.

What Should I Look For When Buying New Windows?

Buying new windows for your home is an excellent opportunity to improve your house’s overall energy efficiency and bring in a fresh feeling at the same time. The sheer amount of choices when buying windows can be daunting. However, taking the time to understand what each term and style of window really means for your home can go a long way in preparing you for making that major purchase.

The following is a break down of many of the more popular materials and styles available for the windows of your home. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you an understanding of many of the factors that go into deciding the right windows for you.

Window Frames

This option may seem like a negligible one in terms of importance. Still, the frame that your window is housed in will significantly contribute to your house’s energy efficiency and determine the amount of maintenance required.

Aluminum & Metal Frames

Frames made of aluminum or other metals are expectedly very durable and require little to no maintenance regularly. Unfortunately, this type of frame also conducts heat very quickly, making it a poor insulating material choice. To make them as effective as possible, aluminum or metal-framed windows must include a thermal break between the interior and exterior of the frame and sash of the window that will help maintain insulation.

Wood Frames

Wood frames are the most traditional style of framing that has existed for hundreds of years. This material insulates exceptionally well but can require significant amounts of maintenance depending on climate and humidity. Generally, wood frames function better and require less maintenance in drier climates as there is less chance of mold and rot.

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass frames are a durable option that is thankfully not prone to warping and will also have air pockets that can optionally be filled with insulating material to improve their already impressive thermal properties.

Vinyl Frames

Window frames made of vinyl have excellent moisture resistance, which gives them a leg up in humid climates. Like their fiberglass counterparts, these frames’ hollow cavities can be filled with insulation, giving them even more excellent thermal resistance.

Glass & Glazing

Unlike the window frames of your house, which will likely be uniform due to climate and visual considerations, the glass inside those frames may differ depending on their orientation, environment, and building design. The glass and glazing you choose will significantly affect your home’s energy efficiency and should not be overlooked.

Insulated Panes

When shopping for new windows for your home, you will undoubtedly run across the term insulated more than once. For windows, insulated refers to windows that have two or more panes of glass that are spaced apart and hermetically sealed, which leaves an insulated air pocket between them.

Low-Emissivity Coatings

Low-emissivity coatings, commonly referred to as low-E coatings, lowers the u-factor of your windows, which translates to about a 30-50% greater energy efficiency than windows without this coating. The coating itself is a microscopically thin layer of metal or metallic oxide that is almost invisible. It is usually applied during manufacturing but is available in DIY kits for homeowners to apply to their existing windows as well.

Spectrally Selective Coatings

Technically speaking, this is another form of low-e coating. It is designed to filter out the infrared spectrum of light, which reduces the heat that transfers through your windows by 40-70% without compromising the visual spectrum of light. This style of glass coating is essential in scorching and sunny climates.

Gas Fills & Spacers

While this element may seem unusual, it is essentially an improvement to the double-pane spacing mentioned earlier. Instead of just using air between two glass layers as insulation, using inert, transparent, odorless, and non-toxic gasses like argon or krypton can offer tremendous insulative properties. Both options are excellent choices; however, it should be noted that krypton is the more expensive of the two.

Operation Style

The operating style of your window is simply the term used to describe if and how it opens and closes and in what manner it seals. Alongside the other factors mentioned above, the style of your window will contribute to its energy efficiency.

  • Fixed / Picture – This term describes windows that do not open or close. This style is notable because if it is installed correctly, it will be completely airtight.
  • Casement / Awning / Hopper – Each of these window styles are exceptional at sealing with minimal air leakage because the sash of the window closes by pressing against the frame. Each of these windows are hinged and swing open from the side, top, and bottom, respectively.
  • Single Sliding / Double Sliding – This style refers to windows where the sashes slide horizontally. There is only one sash that slides in a single sliding window, whereas both sashes slide in a double sliding window. While this style of window is prevalent in many homes, it suffers from significant air leakage due to the design of its sashes.
  • Single Hung / Double Hung – This window style is essentially the vertical version of the sliding variant listed above. Similar to that style, only the lower sash slides in the single variety, whereas both sashes slide in the double-hung variety. Also, these windows have significant air leakage issues like their counterparts.

Can I get a tax credit for installing energy-efficient windows?

Federal and municipal governments encourage many energy-efficient improvements to homes, which often leads to questions about whether tax credits are available for energy-efficient windows. While many places offer tax credits in differing amounts for these kinds of changes, it varies heavily from country to country and even from region to region within countries.

Reach out to your local or federal government to inquire whether you can earn tax credits for making energy-efficient upgrades to your windows. While these improvements can sometimes be costly, you can save money on your heating and cooling bills. If tax credits are available as well, that can further subsidize your costs.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Windows are a massive part of nearly every home on the planet. Taking the time to learn about the different options available to you when you are making upgrades to this essential feature will pay down the road fiscally and in terms of comfort. Whether you need to fix a single problematic window or you want to upgrade all of your fixtures, ensure that you have experts by your side every step of the way.

Check out our energy-efficient window solutions for your home and reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you might have.

How to Cover an Existing Deck

I love spending time on my deck, but during the summer months, it’s way too hot to stand on and somewhat unusable during the rainy and snowy seasons. That’s when it’s time to look into a patio cover.

To cover an existing deck, you’ll want to meet with local builders to see what options are available to you and at what price you can expect them. The builder will need to look into things like If they can tie into the current deck or what structural options are available to your specific project.

Adding a layer of protection to your deck is easy by simply adding a cover. But how can you make sure that you’re doing this correctly? What types of deck covers are available? In this article, we’ll answer all these questions, telling you everything you could want to know about covering your deck. 

Can You Cover an Existing Deck? 

If your deck has started to lose its shine, an ideal option is to cover it. This will keep it looking great for many years. It will also reduce the amount of time you need to spend maintaining and caring for the wooden decking boards. Also, adding a roof will allow you to use the deck throughout the year. But once the deck has been built, is it too late to cover it?  

Thankfully, just because you’ve finished building the deck doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enhance it with a roof. You will still be able to put in a cover. The first step should be consulting with your local deck builder. (If you live in or near Northern Colorado, then consider us your local builder. That goes for you too, Southern tip of Wyoming.) 

See what type of construction you’ll be able to get approved. A builder will be able to help you do this. They’ll be able to point out any potential roadblocks that you will face when you are building the cover. 

When you meet with the builder, they’ll be able to give you a rough quote. You can use this to budget for the rest of the project. Don’t forget to factor in a little extra money, in case you hit any unexpected roadblocks along the way. 

What Types of Covers are Available? 

For most of us, the most exciting part of the project is planning it out. There are so many possibilities that you’ll be able to explore. This will give you confidence that you’ll be able to find the perfect cover to suit your style. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular deck covers

First, you might want to have a retractable awning. You’ll be able to put these out whenever you are using the deck. When you’re not using it, you’ll be able to put the awning away. Most modern awnings will extend and fold back with just the push of a button. These tend to be the cheapest option and will be the easiest for you to install. 

Another option is a pergola cover. This is the most traditional look and tends to have the most stylistic approach. It has joists and beams going one way, and then smaller 2×2 slats going the opposite direction letting a set amount of light through.

With this design, you’ll be able to use wood like cedar, giving your roof a more natural appearance. Suppose low maintenance is high on your list. In that case, an alumawood all-aluminum material has the look of wood without the yearly upkeep.

Finally, you might want to consider a shingled hardcover. These are essentially a full roof that ties in with your house and has matching roofing materials to the house. It can be a gabled roof cut into the main roof or a lean-to style roof coming directly off one side of the house. The contractor should be able to take a small shingle sample to get a color match.

Though these are some of the most popular types of covers, there are still plenty more for you to choose from. Often, your builders will be able to present a portfolio of work that they have done before. These might spark some design ideas. Check out our project gallery by clicking here .

How to Put a Roof Over An Existing Deck? 

Hopefully, you now have a clear idea of what the finished deck cover should look like. But now comes the hard part. Taking it from your imagination into the real world. 

The way that the deck cover is built will often depend on the type that you selected. It will also depend on the type of building codes that are in place. For example, in some cases, you will be able to bolt the cover onto the existing deck structure with heavy-duty screws. This can be a great way of saving time. However, in other cases, you will need to put in new structural support posts and caissons. 

Once you’ve got the support posts and beams in place, you’ll be able to start installing the rafters. This is what will hold the roofing in place. They will be cut at an angle. This will create the pitch of the roof, stopping the rain from accumulating on it. 

Finally, the roofing will need to be attached. There are a few types of materials that you’ll be able to use. Some people might prefer to use wood or aluminum while others will want to use corrugated polyvinyl. When you’re putting in the roof, be sure to use all the correct fasteners that will get you signed off on an inspection. This will secure the roofing for years to come. Overlap the roofing materials slightly. This ensures that the roof won’t start to leak. 

How Much Will it Cost to Cover an Existing Deck? 

The amount that you can expect to pay will often depend on the type of materials you will use. It will also depend on the size and style of deck covering that you select. Don’t forget to factor in the costs of manual labor. 

As a general rule, though, you will want to budget for between $3,000 to $10,000. When you meet up with your builders, they’ll be able to go into more depth about how much you can expect to pay. Suppose you plan to install electrical elements, like fans or lights. In that case, you’ll need to pay extra and coordinate that work with the deck cover contractor. 

Also, you might need to change the insurance policy to accommodate the new deck covering. This can mean paying a little extra each month. 

How to Style the Cover of your Deck? 

Finally, you’ve built the cover, and now you’re ready to start decorating/styling it. This will add the final finishing touches that make it feel like yours. There are hundreds of ways that you’ll be able to do this. Let your imagination run wild. 

A popular way of styling the covering is by adding some lights. Some people prefer to use one or two large bulbs, while others like to use several smaller recessed lights. You can also decorate with string lighting to create atmosphere. 

A third popular option is to hang some baskets from the edge of the rafters. This adds a little greenery. If you are planning on making a barbecue area, you will be able to add some herbs. You can also paint underneath the roof. If you have a bigger budget, you might want to put a fan under the covering. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing to cover your deck is a great decision. You’ll be able to reduce the amount of time you need to spend maintaining it. Also, you’ll be able to enjoy it all through the year. Building the cover doesn’t need to be an intimidating process.

 As long as you get a good builder, they should be able to guide you through, making sure that everything is being done properly. So, all you need to do is pick out the perfect design, then sit back and watch as your dream deck cover comes together. 

Give us a call today to talk about our specific options and how we can help you out at 970-663-2868, or visit the contact page to send us an email. Click here to learn more about our deck covers.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Wood Deck With Composite?

A deck on a home has many advantages and can add value to a home in so many ways! The traditional material used for decking is wood, but this material is high maintenance. Wood is beautiful as a decking material but needs constant care, which often puts homeowners off from making the decision to add a deck to their home. The alternative to wood is using composite material for decking. It has many advantages over wood and may allow you to improve your home with a low maintenance deck.

Replacing the wood on your deck with composite material will cost you between $15 to $25 per square foot. There may be other factors that can add to the replacement cost, such as the type of composite you choose, the shape of the deck, the amount of labor required, and the time of year.

Adding a deck to a home expands your living and entertaining area. It makes the house seem larger and gives you a place to enjoy the great outdoors with all the comforts of home within arm’s reach. One of the factors that you may be concerned about when considering installing a deck is the cost.

Why Composite Decking?

Houses across the US have been constructed from wood for hundreds of years, and likewise, decks have been made from the same material. This has been the material of choice because it is readily available and relatively cheap.

Wood, as a decking material, is exposed to the elements continuously. Sun, wind, rain, snow, freezing temperatures all take their toll on natural materials like wood, especially in our high altitude in CO. As a result, significant time needs to be spent on maintenance and repairs to keep your wood deck in great shape. This requires not only a time investment but also the costs for the wood treatments.

For some homeowners, the beauty of natural wood is worth the maintenance effort and time. Still, for others who may not be DIY inclined or just want a deck that requires less maintenance, there are alternative options.

A composite material is an answer to many of these concerns for the homeowner who wants to install a low maintenance deck.

Composite material is manufactured from a mixture of wood fibers, plastics, and adhesives to hold it all together. Composite material has several advantages over wood, particularly in harsh climates where temperature fluctuations and high humidity are detrimental to wood.

  • Composite material looks like wood and has the same workability as wood.
  • Composite material is less likely to delaminate or split, which means less wastage.
  • There is no need to sand, stain, paint, or varnish composite material. It comes finished from the manufacturer.
  • It is more water-resistant than wood.
  • Requires less maintenance than wood.
  • It does not fade as rapidly as wood.
  • Insect resistance. Insects such as termites don’t eat this material.
  • Easy installation with interlocking systems.

Wood is still a popular material, but here at TNT Home Improvements, we have noticed a growing popularity for decks made from composite material.

But let’s get onto the reason you came here in the first place. How much financial commitment is it going to take to replace your wood deck with composite material?

The Cost Of Composite Decking

Suppose you are looking to replace your wood decking with composite material. In that case, we are assuming that the substructure that supports the deck is already in place and is in good condition.

The substructure consists of the beams, posts, and joists that support the actual surface decking boards. They provide stability for the entire deck structure. It is therefore important that the substructure is in good condition.

If you are not sure whether the substructure is sound or not, that is where TNT Home Improvements can help. We have a certified engineer on staff who can advise you on the structural soundness of the substructure.

When you choose your composite decking, you need to be aware that not all composites cost the same. Composite decking ranges in quality from entry-level decking, costing you approximately $15 per square foot to install. Versus the premium composite products, which will run you in the region of $20 – $28 per square foot to install.

On average, you can use a middle of the road estimate of $18 to $22 per square foot to replace the wood deck with composite material.

There are a couple of pricing aspects that you will need to bear in mind when replacing your wood decking with composite material.

  • Size of the deck. Obviously, the larger the deck, the more it will cost.
  • Angles, corners, and shapes. The more angles and non-rectangular shapes you have in your deck, the more cutting will be required. This can quickly hike the price of the labor bill.
  • Removal of old Decking. Remember to factor in the labor cost of removing the old decking. Unless you are doing this part of the job yourself, it will incur a labor cost from the new decking installer.
  • Railings. Many people forget to include the cost of the railings when they work out the pricing to replace their decking material.
  • Extra fittings. Suppose you have a hot tub or built-in lighting. In that case, you may require the services of a plumber and electrician to re-route or refit the plumbing and electrical wiring.
  • Timing of the replacement. Suppose you decide to replace your deck surface at a time of year when everyone has the same idea. In that case, the labor costs can increase as well as the cost of the material if it is in high demand. Springtime is when most people decide to tackle this task, so it is at this time that it is most expensive to get this project done, it’s also going to have the longest wait time to get permits and get materials delivered.

If you need work done on the substructure to support the deck, you should add another $5 to $15 per square foot to cater to the additional costs.

Cost Summary

To give a summary of the costs you can expect, let’s gather all this information into one place to provide you with a ballpark idea.

  • Replace decking – $15 to $25 per square foot.
  • Labor costs – You can work on an average labor cost of $50 per hour, and to give you an idea, a 12-foot by 24-foot deck should take about 35 hours to install from the ground up.
  • Railings. Depending on the type of materials you choose for deck railing, you can work on an average of $45 per linear foot for wood or $85 for composite.
  • Substructure. If you need some modifications or repairs done to the supporting structure, add about $5-$15 per square foot to the cost, depending on the scope of the repairs needed.

These are estimated costs that do not consider any specific requirements that you may have for your deck. The only way you will get a precise estimate would be to get a professional to come out to examine your deck. Here at TNT, we offer free consultations, so do not hesitate to give us a call at 970-663-2868 to talk to someone about your deck project.

Professional installers know what to look for in the way of potential unknown costs that you may not contemplate as a possible cost factor.

Even though composite decking is more durable and long-lasting, you may want to factor a few extra boards into the purchase cost. Consider if your composite deck sustains any damage such as chips, nicks, gouges, or surface scratches that it cannot be sanded down and refinished. The board will probably need replacing.

Ordering a few extra boards in the same style and color will help ensure that you can match the boards should you need to replace a few over time.

Conclusion

Composite decking can be slightly more expensive than installing a decking surface made from pressed wood or cedarwood. Still, the composite material’s longevity and its reduced maintenance requirements will make for a cheaper cost in the long term. By the time you pay someone to stain your deck the first two years, you’re about even with an entry level composite, and you’ll be saving time and money every single year after that!

TNT Home Improvements can assist you with all your decking needs, from wood decks to composite decks. We can install decking for private residences and business applications.

We operate in the Loveland area in Colorado, which includes Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor, Campion, Berthoud, and Johnstown, CO, as well as Larimer, Jackson, Boulder, and Weld Counties, CO. 

We are more than willing to answer questions, address any concerns, and offer advice regarding your deck, whatever material it is made from.

Give us a call at 970-663-2868 or email us at sales@tnthomeimprovements.com. If you want to research more about our deck building services click here.

How to Cover a Deck: 5 Unique Covered Deck Ideas

corrie-swan-hard-cover-fort-collins

Do you have an exterior deck that you want to cover? Well, deck covers come in various types, shapes, and designs. They protect your deck from sun, rain, debris, and dust, depending on their size and type. 

There are various options when it comes to deck coverings, such as pergolas, arbors, roof extensions, awnings, and other overhead coverings. The most appropriate deck covering is the one that complements the aesthetics of your house and also adds to its functionality. 

Importance of deck coverings

Although composite or hardwood decks look stunning on a clear day, you may not enjoy if it’s too sunny or raining heavily. To utilize your deck to the fullest, make sure you cover it. With high-quality deck covers, you can use the deck throughout the year, irrespective of any season. 

Types of deck covers

As already mentioned, there are tons of options when it comes to deck covers. Here are the most popular ones that you can try at your home:

    • Pergola – Pergolas have four or more columns or posts to support flat roofs. The roof would contain beams in one direction with the other side open. You can select a fabric of your choice to cover the roof. If you want to make it look decorative, add fast-growing vines. Pergolas are permanent additions to decks and are best for medium-sized decks.

    • Awning – There are two types of awnings: retractable awning and fixed awning. You can fold and unfold retractable awnings quickly. This means you can cover the deck from the scorching summer heat and heavy monsoon rains and also fold it away to enjoy the clear weather. But they are more expensive than fixed awnings.

    • Arbor – Arbors are smaller than pergolas and contain 2 to 4 posts to support the open roof. Vines or lattice look incredible once the installation of an arbor is complete. 

    • Pavilion – There are two types of pavilions: permanent and portable. Portable pavilions provide you with the much-needed shade during summers and monsoons but also keep one side of the deck open. These pavilions cost less compared to permanent pavilions.

    • Roof extension – Roof extension is the costliest option of the lot. But the complement to your home’s aesthetic is the best. If you don’t want to go into this expensive investment, you can choose permanent overhead attachments affixed to walls from the edge of your deck.

Choosing a deck covering is often challenging because of the endless shade ideas. Every deck looks unique and you think that each one of them would look good for your house. Even if you decide to choose a simple type of deck cover like awning, you get tons of customization options to blend it perfect with your home’s exterior. 

Deck covering ideas

It is best to consult with a professional regarding the design, size, and type of deck cover that would fit best in your deck. Here are some of the latest deck covering ideas that you can keep in mind:

1. Modern deck

This one focuses on the privacy of your rear yard. The covered deck looks like an extension of your interiors. It reflects the size of your living room or master bedroom. Pressure-treated frames and ipe wood are the go-to materials for such decks. You can decorate it with in-ground deck lights for subtle illumination. Make sure its color matches the exterior color of your house.

2. Combining iron and wood

A combination of iron and wood provides a sophisticated and stylish look to your deck covering. If you want to convert your deck into a place to hang out with your friends, then talk to the deck covering company to show designs that contain both iron and wood. You can go for wooden posts and over-head cover. On the other hand, select intricate designs for iron to install at the bottom of the posts. Keep all the sides open to enjoy the greenery outside.

3. Sydney beach style

If you are one of those who love rustic, minimalistic designs, then the Sydney beach style should impress you as one of the best deck covers. The greyed-out hardwood deck gets a composite cover on top and wooden posts to support the cover over your head. This style goes best with pergola designs, giving it a casual, tropical look. Keep small wooden stools and coffee table with grey or off-white sofas. It would look as if you live near a beach-side house in Sydney, Australia.

4. Shade sails

Wouldn’t it be great if you could convert your deck into an additional dining space? You and your friends can all hang out with beer bottles on a clear Sunday afternoon. And this idea won’t cost you a fortune. Talk to one a deck cover installation company and mention them that you want shade sails on your deck. They will send experts to take measurements of your deck so that they can arrange for shade sails. The installation is also not so complicated.

It involves fitting posts on four sides (sometimes six posts, depending on the size of the deck). Next, they will install the shade sails by attaching them from one post to another. This means you have a permanent cover on top and open sides all around. It allows you to enjoy the cool breeze while you have lunch or dinner with your family outside. 

5. Bohemian style cover

The advantage of Bohemian style deck cover is it doesn’t require a lot of space but provides an incredible addition to your home that can fetch a huge amount of money later if you decide to sell your house. Bohemian style means a cozy space where you can curl up and enjoy a cup of coffee or read your favorite book. You can include anything like unfinished wood furniture, rustic tables, or refurbished chairs. 

Again, the cover is suitable for a pergola-style deck arrangement. Once the expert finishes installing the deck cover, you can add hanging plants in small pots and illuminate the area with amber lights. Put indoor plants in the corners to add to that Bohemian feeling.

Why hiring a professional is necessary

A deck construction company has the experience that homeowners may not have. You may see tons of deck covering designs and select a few that you think would look fabulous for your house. But installing them may not be possible if you consider the structure of your home. 

When you talk to a professional from a deck construction company, he listens to your requirements in detail before recommending some of the styles that would suit best for your house. This would not only meet your demands but also fulfill the quality standards to ensure that the deck and its cover stay for years. 

Additionally, DIY deck covers may not last long as most homeowners don’t have the tools and machines required to build these units. Imagine having lunch with your family on a holiday when one of the posts come crashing at your dining table. 

You don’t encounter these risks if you hire a professional. The experts not only take precautionary measures during installation but they also check the robustness of the deck covers before leaving. 

Most importantly, professionals can give you an approximate cost for the materials required to build the deck cover. They can also provide estimates of railings and custom fencing if you want.

If you need someone to provide top-notch deck covers for your home, don’t hesitate to call us at 970-663-2868. We have some unique deck cover designs that we think would look perfect for your home. Click here to visit our deck cover services page to learn more.

What is Polymer Siding?

Do you see shake and shingle claddings with cedar patterns on different houses? These are usually polymer siding. Made from polypropylene resin, polymer siding enhances the beauty of your home’s exterior by giving it a unique rustic look. 

They are made using an injection molding process that gives the final siding a three-dimensional pattern in various styles and sizes. The experts inject the molten compound inside the mold and then heat it at a high temperature. Once the molten compound takes shape inside the mold, the experts will cool the mold before taking the siding out.

Polymer molding came into the market in 1990 and became instantly popular because of its designs and low cost. They offer a wide range of color and design options; much more than what other siding materials can provide. Some of the most common types of polymer siding designs include half-round shingles, rough-split shakes, sawmill shingle, and traditional shingles. 

Polymer Siding vs. Vinyl Siding

Many people confuse polymer siding with vinyl siding because they look similar. The main difference between polymer and vinyl siding is the material. 

The primary difference is that Vinyl consists of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin while Polymer siding contains polypropylene resin. Vinyl is a type of plastic polymer. Polypropylene resin has two essential elements: hydrogen and carbon, making the plastic more neutral. 

On the other hand, PVC resin consists of 30% chlorine. This means vinyl siding is not good for the environment because chlorine produces toxins when incinerated. 

Most vinyl siding is vertical or horizontal. Now, you can make similar-looking polymer siding also, but where Polymer really shines is in making custom molded shapes that emulate other building types like shingle cladding or shake cladding styles.

Another difference between polymer and vinyl siding is their making process. Polymer follows an injection molding process that can turn to three-dimensional designs with different textures, styles, colors, and sizes. Vinyl only makes vertical or horizontal siding.

One of the reasons why people choose polymer siding over vinyl siding is because of their durability. The polypropylene resin used to make the siding lasts for years without requiring monthly maintenance. They are easy to clean and don’t require frequent sealing, repainting, or re-caulking. 

Benefits of polymer siding

Polymer siding not only enhances the beauty of your house but also offers several other benefits:

    • Durable – Polypropylene resin hardens once it cools down. Once a professional finishes installing polymer siding, you can expect it to last for years or even decades. Polypropylene resin is one of the hardest materials in the industry, making polymer siding the toughest and most durable. They don’t crack, chip, peel, warp, or fade away with time. Most importantly, they are suitable for extreme weather conditions and can resist impacts like hailstorms.

    • Customizable – You can ask the expert to customize the polymer siding according to the design of your doors and windows. Or maybe some other design that you have in mind. These siding are customizable because you can mold them into any shape you want. Experts can even mimic the appearance of wood or stone to give a natural look to the siding without compromising the durability or quality. 

    • Low maintenance – The color of polymer siding gets baked at the time of making the siding. This ensures that the color stays for years without requiring repainting or frequent cleaning. It also ensures that the siding looks freshly painted without any regular upkeep. The monsoon rain usually washes away accumulated dust and debris from the siding, thus making sure that you don’t have to invest time in cleaning them manually.

    • Curb Appeal – Polymer siding more closely emulates actual wood because it’s basically a 3d cast created from a mold and then painted to put on those finishing wood-like touches on. Because of the look it can give your house, whether used everywhere or just as an accent piece, it can really up your curb appeal.

    • Seamless – Vinyl siding is very easy to spot by it’s lack of texture and especially by it’s seams. Unlike vinyl siding that is overlapped at different staggered joints, Polymer siding panels are usually designed to but up against each other usually continuing a pattern and/or texture making it very hard to find the seam.

Polymer siding ideas

The exterior of your house is equally important as your interiors and the foundation. You should select siding designs that complement your home’s aesthetics. Since you can customize polymer siding, you can discuss the designs with a professional after showing him pictures of your house. This would not only help to decide the style but also the colors. Contrasting colors may not suit the look of your house when it comes to polymer siding. Therefore, you need to select something that improves the look of your home’s exterior.

But what are some of the designs that you can implement with polymer siding? Here are a few ideas that you can keep in mind.

1. Cool and classical

Sometimes, less is more for your dream home. You don’t need to be colorful with polymer siding. Just stick to two colors, preferably white and dark grey, to make them stand out and make your house look beautiful from a distance. Too many colors may reduce the focus of your home’s exterior color and that’s not what you would want if you have guests coming or maybe buyers who want to buy your house. Keep the colors simple to make your house look classy.

2. Charming and traditional

Horizontal polymer siding won’t look good on narrow, vertical windows. And if you are selecting narrow, vertical siding, then make sure you follow the same patterns for your doors also. A traditional look means following similar patterns to make your house look charming. For this type of style, it’s best to select the same color for your polymer siding as your home’s exterior. 

3. White on white

There is something unique about white exteriors with white siding. Once the professional finishes installing the siding, you will start appreciating the beauty of this combination. Houses with arched windows and doorways are suitable for dome-shaped siding. This is another combination that makes your house look traditional. 

4. Textural elements

Does your house have a stone or brick-designed exterior? If yes, you can go for textural elements in your polymer siding. This will give the siding a similar look to your home’s exterior. It balances the aesthetics, provided you choose similar colors. 

With so many designs available, it won’t be hard to find a polymer siding that fits your house. Just make sure it adds to the aesthetics and doesn’t make your house look odd from a distance. Buyers may not approve of the color or design of the siding if you make the wrong choice. And therefore, always take help from professionals while choosing siding.

If you need high-quality polymer siding, get in touch with us. We can show you some unique designs and colors that would make your home look incredible. Click here to learn more about our siding installation services.

Give TNT a call today at 970-663-2868 or click here to contact us.

What is Underdecking?

We have built so many 2nd story decks over the past 15 years and so many of them create a space underneath them that is dark and uninviting. To keep that patio space under your deck dry and give it a finished feel then you need underdecking.

Underdecking is a system of panels, channels, or chutes that are designed to catch the water that leaks between the decking and joists of a deck. The water is directed to gutters and downspouts. Underdecking creates a finished look and feel, effectively creating more livable space under a deck.

If this sounds like the solution your deck needs to make that patio area a usable one, then let’s dive into what makes up an underdecking system and what this project will cost.

mobile-fort-collins-wood-deck-underdecking

What do you put under a second-story deck to keep it from dripping onto a patio below?

Well, underdecking of course! So the underdecking systems that we install are made up of a few main parts:

  • The Track 
  • The Outer Frame Pieces (g and j channel)
  • The Gutter (and downspouts)
  • The Panels

How do you install Underdecking?

To start the underdecking project, we will first assess all of the different variables surrounding your deck. We will of course already have the materials in hand so we are not trying to assess what we need, but rather exactly how to install in with your current deck setup.

The first thing that needs to be figured out is fall; as in, water-fall. We need to decide which direction we want the water to flow, towards the house or away from the house. Now some of you might be thinking, why on earth would you want to direct water back towards the house? 

A scenario where you would potentially want something like this is when the house has gutters leading down the house into underground PVC. This ‘system’ for directing the water underground and away from the house would be a great place to tie into so in this instance, we would recommend channeling the water toward the house and into the underground system.

After the gutter location is decided, measurements have to be taken to make sure that the whole system will have enough fall to direct water into that gutter. Some things to note at this stage are things like deck framing lumber. Meaning, what framing material did they use to build the deck? If the frame is smaller material like 2×6 for instance, you will have less material under the deck to attach the outer frame to. In fact, some material may need to be added like framing material or even fascia material to hide the sides of the system if it hangs too low.

Putting up the tracks

After the plan is finalized the tracks can start to go up. The tracks are these really long (12ish feet) black metal pieces that have small teeth built into them that hang down from the ceiling ready to grab the panels. These teeth are designed for the finished panels to snap into.

The number of tracks that you put up will depend on your project but you will essentially be putting up supports to hold the panels and should they start to get weight in them, ie water, it will get heavy out there in the middle of the deck. For a smaller deck, you may only need 1 or 2 rows of tracks where a larger deck may need 2 or 3 rows.

Each row of tracks will have to start at the same place so that they are all lined up perfectly. The rows will also have to be at different heights from the ceiling depending on the fall needed for your specific project. These are generally held up with a 3 to 4-inch screw that’s hanging down a bit so that you can adjust the whole track up and down.

Creating the frame

Now the frame pieces are coming out of the boxes and onto the job site horses. These pieces are aluminum that feature a faux wood finish of your color choice. They are also very long pieces, somewhere in the 12-16-foot range, and have a couple of different shape profiles.

The two different shapes can be seen looking down the ends of the frame channels. One looks like a G and one looks a J. These different shapes make up the side panels and back panels of the frame and the fourth piece of the rectangle would be the gutter.

Every deck can be so different so this process really is a custom one. Ideally, you want the gutter to be one seamless piece covering the outside edge of the deck. Then two side panels what are cut down in just right into the gutter back to the house with the last part of the frame across the siding. What can get tricky is if you have large columns and/or if you have stone! Now you are freestyling with your frame creation skills.

The gutter needs fall from the middle of the deck towards the outsides in most cases. Make sure you have a 4-foot level handy and can make sure that water will actually leave this system. Near both ends of the gutter, you will want to drill/ cut out for your downspout inserts. These plastic inserts and the end caps will need to be installed with the help of some gutter sealant.

Getting the tracks and the frame installed are the most time-consuming parts of the entire project. There is so much calculating and the material that does go up doesn’t really cover anything, it’s just the skeleton so far. But after you get to this point, this is where the project really starts to fly.

Putting up the panels

Now all that’s left is to put up the aluminum panels that make up the finished ceiling. These panels are also an area of color choice with the faux wood or plain white. We will use special saw blades to cut them to just the right length and account for any custom shapes.

The panel goes in up and over the gutter, and then are pulled into place inside the outer perimeter’s ‘C’ channel. Once that first panel is installed into place, the rest go up with amazing speed. The panels have a lip that goes into the black metal track we installed earlier and then we just snap the other side closed into the teeth.

The metal teeth snap-in system makes for a no-fastener, very beautiful finish that can also be taken back apart if necessary.

Now it time to just let everything seal and set and then test it out. After the gutter sealant has complete cured you can grab the hose and start spraying down the deck with water while someone is watching underneath the deck to see if there are any trouble spots. If so, reassess with caulk and if not, enjoy your new space.

If you would like to talk to someone right now about a quote for your specific project goals, then give us a call at 970-663-2868.

At TNT Home Improvements we’ve been building decks, patio covers, pergolas, and installing new windows and siding since 2005. Please give us a call or visit the contact us page to learn more about getting underdecking installed under your deck.

How to Build a Deck to Support a Hot Tub?

What’s better: having a deck in your backyard or, sitting in a hot tub to relax? The answer for hot tub people is both; sitting in a hot tub while out on your deck. Mixing a deck and a hot tub can truly create some amazing places to hang out and soak but what does it take for a deck to support a hot tub?

You essentially need to double the supports of the deck for it to hold a hot tub. You will need larger lumber and more of it. This all would need to be engineered to your specific project details like how high off the ground, how much total weight, and more.

Mixing a hot tub and a deck can come in so many different forms. You could already have a concrete slab patio out back with a hot tub on it and you just want to surround it with a raised deck so that the tub has a sunk-in feel to it. Or maybe your ideal spot is twelve feet up off of a master bed slider and you want to make sure that you have enough lumber underneath it to hop in every night and not pray for your deck’s strength. 

If you want to learn more about some different hot tub deck ideas and how to implement them then read on but if you just want to talk to someone right now about your next backyard project then give us a call at 970-663-2868 or just shoot us an email.

Ground level decks

To get off on the right foot, it’s essential to get all of the measurements of your backyard or project area. We need to consider the fence or property line, the size of the deck in relation to the house, and lastly, where to put the hot tub. 

For ground-level decks, we don’t recommend installing the hot tub on top. Instead, we suggest setting the tub on a concrete pad. This offers the much-needed footing of the hot tub. We then build the deck around it as this makes the entire process much more efficient.

But what if you want to remove the hot tub from the deck after a few years? We have options for that also. Every deck built around a hot tub consists of framing members. We keep them at least 1 inch away from the surface of the hot tub. This gives enough space to take out the hot tub if you want. The deck offers support to the short cantilever so that it fills the area closest to the tub leaving a nice clean reveal.

You will have some creative control over the height of your deck but not much. I say that because there are some great places to attach a deck to the back of your house, for instance, and one of them is the main floor or rim joist of the home. Well that is already a constant so you will most likely want to walk-out from your back door out onto a deck.  

Additional considerations

The height of the deck isn’t the only thing to consider while installing the hot tub. We also need to take care of the concrete pad if that’s the direction you’re wanting to go. First, we build the concrete pad according to the local building code. 

The installation team also gets clearances on the operation and arm dimensions of the tub and cover. Additionally, we also take clearances for deck in mind so that you don’t run into permit complications later. 

It’s easy to miss these crucial points if you are trying to DIY this and install the deck and hot tub alone. Apart from these factors, we also keep a gap of up to 1/4″ inch between the deck boards and the tub. This gives the hot tub and deck room to expand and contract in extreme weather conditions.

Above ground decks

We don’t specialize in any one shape or size of deck because we build ’em all and have built somewhere in the thousands of decks at this point, some pretty big ones with a hot tub. 

Sometimes the deck is at a higher level than the tub or we have to deal with an even ground to build the deck. These things don’t worry us as we have some of the most experienced and certified technicians for the job. The engineer will look over your project and make decisions about attachments, connections, and material size your deck will be made from.

If you are doing this DIY then you will need to figure out what size posts and what size framing material you will use. Posts used are generally 4×4, 6×6, and 8×8 inch material and framing lumber is usually in the 2×6, 2×8, 2×10, or 2×12 categories. 

Another big factor will be the joist layout to provide ample support for the amount of weight a hot tub contains. Again, check local guidelines and if it calls for 8 inch on center then you are going to have to double your joist count. Those spaces get pretty tight to work in at 8-inches on-center. That will also add to your hardware count which definitely adds to the overall cost.   

In such cases, we start by laying out where the hot tub will sit and where the outside dimensions of the deck will sit using a string line or marking device. Again, this step involves following the local building code. It also allows us to determine the spacing requirements for each post hole.

Following local code, we will punch out holes in the ground with a huge drill called an auger to be able to have an inspector come out and sign off. We can then pour concrete to create the caussons that your deck will sit on.

We can then use lasers to figure out how tall to cut the posts that will hold up your deck. After a ledger gets attached to your house and a perimeter frame put up, the joists just start rolling in. Our crews have so much experience with so many different projects that stages like this can literally fly by. 

If you’re on your own, this part can get very tricky as you would have to use a lot of temporary lumber to hold pieces up. You would need to order extra 2×4’s or 2×6’s and use them as diagonal bracing. It would be a slow process but with enough patience and temps you can get anything up in the air.

Building lift out hatches

Another important aspect of building a hot tub deck is framing the lift out hatches. These provide access to stuff that is hidden underneath the deck like the service panel of the hot tub. We don’t want to be tearing out decking if something goes wrong with the hot tub, so we plan out and create small deck hatches or access panels.

We first mark the location of the lift out hatch on the deck’s joists. Depending on the width of the hatch, we remove one or more joists to provide the space the hatch needs. We can then create a small framed rectangle to work through for hot tub maintenance. Now we can create another couple rectangle frames that just barely fit down in that finished access frame hole.

You can attach the lower of the two frames making the top frame removable and hopefully perfectly flush with the rest of the deck frame. 

Laying down decking

So by now we should have a very solid frame that has passed at least two inspections and is ready for decking material. Your specific project or personal preferences will determine whether you start at the house and work out or start with the very outside board and work in.

No matter which way you choose, after you get that first board down you can really start to fly. This is especially true if you are using a hidden fastener system and some air tools to really snap those boards down into place. 

This step is usually a lot easier with a partially loaded deck meaning that you’ve loaded the frame with about 60-80% of the loose deck boards to make a temporary place to stand while you attach the decking down to the frame.

Also, if you aren’t using hidden fasteners and are screwing down the boards then just use something like a triangular speed square to create a consistent gap every time.

As you are laying down the decking you can mark and cut out the access panel hatch. You could almost just deck over the top adding screws to the inner and outer frames of the access panel and marking where the cut will go. Then at the end snap a line and cut the access panel free. It should now be almost indistinguishable from the rest of the deck.

The Real Hard Part (Getting the Hot Tub onto the Deck)

This really can be the trickiest part, especially if you are going at this alone. A very ideal situation would be to hire on an actual hot tub mover or be at the stage of buying a new one. I say that because these people mentioned have had to deliver hot tubs to so many different situations and know what you can and can’t do to a hot tub before damaging it.

But if you are left to your own ingenuity, then having multiple pipes around will most certainly help as you can get them under the tub and use them to roll it closer to where you need it if the ground is smooth enough. After that you will have to use some form of pulleys, levers, and brute strength.

Wrapping up the deck

Toward the end of the project it’s time to set the handrail posts and build the railing. I’ve purposely left stairs out of this writeup as they can be little mini decks that take just as long as the main project. After all that the deck should be ready for skirting or otherwise known as fascia. Fascia covers the outer perimeter of the deck to hide the framing and it also dresses up the sides of stairs.

Reading about building a deck is easy but making a deck to support a hot tub isn’t one of the easiest jobs around. That’s where our experience plays a crucial role. We can make customized decks according to your needs that compliment a hot tub perfectly. Give TNT a call now at 970-663-2868 or just click here to contact us. You can also learn more at our deck building services page.