How To Maintain a Wood Deck?

a pressure washing wand cleaning off a wood deck

Like it or not, your wood deck will need maintenance to keep it in the best shape possible.  As well as general wear and tear, your deck is exposed to the elements such as snow, rain, and UV rays from the sun.  Maintenance is a vital skill for anyone owning a deck who wants to avoid expensive repairs and replacements down the line.  Neglecting a deck can cause problems in terms of appearance and overall use.

There are quick ways, wrong ways, and correct ways to carry out maintenance on your deck.  Make sure you carry out regular checks on your deck to keep the condition as high as possible.  Regular cleaning and sweeping are quick ways to keep your deck looking at its best as well as repairing any minor damages to avoid them becoming larger problems.  Applying a protective coating to your deck annually or bi-annually is also a great way to protect it against the elements.  

Many people go to great expense and effort in having an amazing deck installed and then fail to maintain it for a couple of years or protect it in the wrong way.   Reacting to a problem is almost always far more costly compared to being proactive.  Taking regular steps to protect, clear and repair will mean that the time spent looking after your deck will be minimal.

How do you take care of wooden decks?

Before any kind of maintenance can take place, you must make every effort to understand what needs to be done.  If your deck is in a shaded area, surrounded by greenery, then you should be protecting against potential moisture and mold from fallen leaves for example.  A deck that is in a sun trap will need a totally different product applied to it such as one that is designed to protect against UV rays. Just make sure that when you are selecting a sealant, you are taking into consideration what you are protecting against.

Why should I maintain my deck?

Installing a good quality deck is a big expense so looking after it makes sense.  People spend a fortune on a car and maintain it so that they don’t need to replace it every year.  The same is true of your decking area, no matter the size.  Your deck will last far longer and stay in a far better condition with proper maintenance.  Using suitable products helps keep mold, mildew, and stains to a minimum. Wood and moisture are not a good mix so make sure you seal up your wood deck to protect it.

Are you prepared?

Choose the time of year carefully for any maintenance or cleaning.  You need the outdoor temperature to be above 50°F during the day and night and for it to be a dry forecast.  This stops the wood from contracting in the cold or swelling in the damp.  Also, check that you have all the tools and equipment on hand.  There is nothing worse than starting a task and then realizing you are missing a tool or a tin of oil.  

How do I make my deck last longer?

In short, look after it!  Regularly sweep leaves and dirt off the boards and deal with stains from food or drink quickly.  All these little jobs will make a huge difference to the life span of your deck.  Remember, a new deck should be left untreated for at least 60 days to allow it to settle and expand naturally. Painting or sealing before the 60 days is up can lead to cracks appearing.  

How do you take care of a wooden deck?

This will depend on whether you have chosen a hard or a soft wood.  Hardwood decking boards are generally more resistant to mold than softer woods, but this doesn’t mean they should be cared for any less.  Hardwoods tend to be oilier in their make up so choosing a suitable sealant is important.   It is advised that hardwood be left untreated for a period of 2-3 months to allow for oils to leave the wood naturally.

This is not the case with softer woods.  These need to be treated quickly and on all sides to make them more resistant to rot, mold, and UV rays.  When the initial seal is applied, it needs to be left for 24-48 hours before an oil or paint is applied to it.  Applying this early will mean they will not bond with the wood and will crack.

How often do decks need to be sealed?

Sealing your deck should be repeated every 1 – 3 years.  This will depend on the condition of the deck and what weather conditions have been like.  A mild winter for example won’t have affected your deck as much as a harsh winter with snow and ice. 

Choosing not to seal your deck won’t cause immediate damage such as rot and splintering but the overall appearance of your deck will diminish.  Luckily, you can seal your deck later which brings out the natural grains of the wood again.   Sealing your deck will help restore its natural color. 

Should you pressure wash a deck?

There are mixed opinions around the use of pressure washers on decks.  Some people love them, and some people don’t.  If you are going to pressure wash, it is important to remember you will have to do something else once the washing has been completed.  Pressure washing mold and mildew from decking boards is very effective, but it does leave spores behind.  These need to be swept away as they can grow back very quickly indeed – and they look ugly!

It is also important to consider the strength of the water.  Too strong a jet and you risk damaging the wooden boards.  This can lead to an unnecessary expense of replacing part of the decking.

Is it better to sand or power wash a deck?

Sanding is better for the deck compared to power washing.  Power washing is far quicker than sanding but is also the quickest way to damage your deck.  A slight splinter or crack can be made into a major problem with a power washer as you run the risk of damaging the appearance of the wood.  Sanding is more beneficial and is a more natural way of maintaining the wood.  Sand with the grain to avoid unsightly scratches and sweep away any saw dust that is generated.  Removing this dust is critical as the next step will be to apply a sealant to the wood.  Any dust that is still there will spoil the finish of the boards and mean that the sealant will be less effective.  

To paraphrase an old saying, look after your deck and your deck will look after you.  Decks are a fantastic addition to a home and create brilliant outdoor spaces.  Maintaining them properly shouldn’t be a chore and should be completed regularly.  The little and often approach to deck maintenance is the best way to operate rather than waiting for a huge problem to develop which could involve an expensive repair.

If staining and sealing a deck once a year isn’t something you want to do it may be time to think about upgrading to a composite deck. Composite decking is a wood/plastic hybrid mixture that creates a product that is almost completely maintenance-free. I say almost because you still will want to clean it off every once in a while but you won’t ever have to sand and stain it.

If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit our Deck Services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

What Is a Cantilever Deck?

Residential decks are often framed vertically from the foundation to the railings. However, some homeowners prefer a slight overhang past the beam. This structure is known as a cantilever.

A cantilever deck is simply a deck with joists extending past the beam creating a cantilever or overhanging end on the deck’s exterior. The decision to have your deck cantilevered often comes with the wish to extend an existing deck. 

However, a cantilever deck may not be as simple as a regular deck. The extension requires precise measurement as recommended by the local building code.

Employing the services of expert deck builders can help you in putting your cantilever deck without any issues.

What Is the Purpose of a Cantilever?

A cantilever deck design is often chosen to add space. In addition, the overhang provides an additional area which is advantageous if your yard is small.

In terms of structure, the cantilever also adds aesthetics as the design can be an intuitive solution for lack of space or limited footprint drive.

Cantilever decks also function to save more money.

One example is a second-floor cantilever deck. Instead of putting up a foundation on the ground, specifically footings, and piers, you simply use two large brackets connected to the house’s exterior in a diagonal position.

What Is the Difference Between a Cantilever and a Beam?

In a standard deck design, the beams are placed perpendicular to the main house structure supported by the columns, piers, and footings. In contrast, a cantilever can simply be a flat surface attached to the house through the ledger and without a foundation.

However, it is important to remember that a cantilever can simply be a beam. But instead of being attached to the underneath structure, it overhangs on the outer side of the frame.

In short, it could be simply an overhang of joists extending from the beam.

Nevertheless, when it comes to decking, the description of a cantilever may be versatile depending on the presence or function of the beam.

How Far Can a Deck Be Cantilevered?

Joists cantilever should have an overhang limited of up to 24 inches. The drop beam can extend to a maximum of ¼ of its length over a post.  

For example, if the back span of the joist is at 16 feet, you can cantilever for up to 4 feet.

Advantages of a Cantilever Deck

While cantilever decks are uncommon in residential areas, they are still considered a reasonable choice with several benefits.

For starters, you can choose a cantilever design if you want a larger deck without spending too much on resources.

Of course, to achieve this purpose, you will have to make sure that your deck is building code compliant. Also, you will need quality decking materials from trusted brands and manufacturers like TimberTech.

Check out some of the advantages of having a cantilever deck.

1.      More Space

Since you will be extending your deck, its substructure and flooring, naturally, would give a larger space for your household to hang out.

This is advantageous, especially for those who had their deck made on the second floor.

In some cases, people choose to have a cantilevered deck if their backyard space is too small. This way, the area underneath the deck, since it is located on a higher floor, will remain unoccupied for a significant part. 

2.      Panoramic View

Cantilever decks can be designed in such as way that the exterior is elongated in the middle. With this form, you can have a panoramic view of your neighborhood or immediate area.

Unlike a regular deck, you can have the freedom of adjusting the shape and angle of a cantilever deck.

Houses near the beach or mountains where the scenery becomes a vital highlight can go for cantilever decks.

The overhang adds a spot where you can see a wider view of the sea or the mountain ranges making your stay in the deck worthwhile.

3.      Visually Appealing

It is pretty tricky to design a regular deck into whatever form you want, as you may need to add more materials on the way. 

But in the case of cantilever decks, you can choose to accentuate the overhang without the hassle.

Cantilever decks provide a visual appeal that adds value to your entire house. Modern designs often include cantilever decks to enhance the façade of the house, especially with curved especially if it is also treated as a balcony.

On the other hand, if your cantilever deck is on the ground floor, you can have it formed in shapes or add several corners, depending on your style.

Disadvantages of a Cantilever Deck

Cantilever decks may add the pizzazz you want for your home, but they also have disadvantages that often occur if the structure is not built correctly.

While a do-it-yourself project can be an exciting way to build your cantilever deck, it may not be the best way to go if you’re inexperienced. Here’s why.

1.      Complicated to Make

Cantilever decks may look simple, especially the balcony type, but they require precision and the proper knowledge of choosing quality materials.

Also, you will have to abide by the standard and calculations prescribed by the local building code. Otherwise, you may end up tearing your deck apart.

The length of the cantilever should not exceed the recommended measurement, or else it could create structural issues in the long run.   

2.      Requires Added Support

A cantilever deck that only has one side for support may require other ways to strengthen the structure.

Although an overhang fixture to the house’s exterior can suffice a smaller deck, if you’re building a larger one, you may have to consider your choices when it comes to support materials. Unless, of course, you will stick to a joist or drop beam overhang.

But if that is not the case, it is still best to ask for professional assistance.  

Are Cantilevered Decks Safe?

Cantilevered decks are safe if built the right way. That’s why hiring a contractor, and professional deck builders like TNT Home Improvement can be worth the money as it guarantees proper construction.

The deck has to abide by the prescribed length via the local building code to keep the overhang safe and well-built.

For instance, the length of the cantilever has to correspond with the lumber species, grade, and size. Another attribute you need to consider is the size and spacing between the joists.

According to the building code, the standard cantilever length for a 40-pound load per square foot is 40 and ½ inches. If you wish to extend, you will have to consult with your contractor or engineer.

Other Deck Designs You May Want To Consider

Cantilever decks are worth your time and money as it gives a modern and stylish aesthetic to your property.

But in some cases, a cantilever deck design may not be suitable for your location and house structure. Nonetheless, you can still choose from other designs that builders may recommend, such as the following.

1.      Attached Deck  

This is the most common type of deck design wherein the deck is connected to your house through a ledger board, and the framing sits on groundwork.  

2.      Floating Deck

This deck is not attached to any structure. Instead, you can put the pier blocks straight on the ground.

3.      Wraparound Deck

A wraparound deck in an exterior structure that surrounds the entire house.

4.      Multi-level Deck

This deck has multiple levels or stories strategically raised on top of the other.  

5.      Roof Deck

A roof deck is simply a flat surface on the roof designed for casual foot traffic.

Summary

Consulting with professional deck builders is essential when you are building a cantilever deck. Not only will your deck have quality construction, but you can also ensure that the installation is done according to the standards of the building code. If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit the deck services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

What Are the Different Parts of a Deck Called?

pic of a Composite deck built in fort collins, co

Knowing the different parts of a deck can guide you in understanding how a deck installation works.

A deck has several components that contribute to its strength, capacity, endurance, and safety. The major parts of a deck include the foundation, framing, decking, railing, stairs, drainage system, and hidden fasteners.

If you are curious about what makes an ideal deck, stick around, and learn its essential parts. 

Parts of a Deck

1.  Foundation

Like any other building or house component, a deck should have a solid foundation that holds up the entire structure. Three major parts make up the groundwork of a deck.

1.1   Footing

The footing is the very foundation of your deck. First, it is laid on the excavated portion of the ground. Then, concrete is poured to strengthen and carry the overall structure of the deck. Simply put, the footing acts as the base.

However, before you can plan on how much concrete and how deep the footing should be on the ground, you have to check your local building code and the frost depth requirement in your region or state.  

For a standard 12 X 12 deck, you should aim for at least three footings. But if you’re planning to add stairs, add two more footings for better support.

1.2   Pier

The pier is also made of concrete poured into a column or cardboard tubes. Of course, the number of piers or posts depends on how many footings you have. These posts function to hold up the beams.

Moreover, having sturdy piers or posts not only allows good airflow. But they also ensure that you can perform underboard repairs safely and conveniently.

Hence, enabling smooth maintenance of the deck.

2.      Framing

Once the foundation is laid down, here comes the framing that gives the deck a case structure. The frame includes the beams, joist, ledger, support columns, band board, and post base.

2.1 Ledger

The ledger is connected to the house and usually leveled to the floor of the main home structure.

It is typically made of pure or treated lumber measuring at least 2×8 nominal and attached horizontally to the house’s exterior wall.

The size should be the same as that of the measurement of the joist.

Although the foundation plays a big part in holding up the deck, ensuring that the ledger is fixed tightly on the main building is another vital safety precaution for homeowners. That is why the installation process should comply with the building code.

2.2 Support Columns

The support or structural columns/posts are connected to the pier and hold the beam. The size of the columns depends on the expected capacity of the deck.

Standard sizes for support columns range from 4 feet x 4 inches to 8 feet x 8 inches. 

2.3 Beam

A deck beam is a longitudinal piece of lumber placed on top of the structural columns.

The beams are essential for framing and substructure support. They are typically made of wood or composite materials.

Beams are usually positioned perpendicular to the joists. You can opt for either flush beams or drop beams.

Flush beams are placed at the same level as the joist, which is attached using the joist hangers. If you’re building a smaller deck or one with an atypical form, then flush beams are the way to go.

On the other hand, a drop beam is placed right under the joists. This position provides better weight support for the frame. 

Furthermore, if you choose a drop beam, you can extend and add a cantilever that enhances the deck’s aesthetic.  

2.4 Joist

Joists are planks of pure or treated timber that support the deck boards. They are placed on top or at a similar level as the beams and are positioned parallel to one another.

Likewise, joists often run perpendicular to the house as the deck boards are parallel to the main building.

The distance of the joists depends on the position of the beams and ledger. The local building code dictates that residential decks should have the joists distanced at 12 inches to 16 inches apart when it comes to spacing.

2.5 Rim Joist

The rim joists are lumber that act as the outer joist covering parts of the deck structure. They are connected perpendicular to the joists.

2.6 Header

The header is located on the opposite end of the ledger. It covers and supports the outer side of the joists.

3.      Decking

After the framing is complete, the next step is decking, wherein you install the deck’s flooring.

While this is considered the most exciting part of the deck building process, there are several considerations when choosing the best flooring materials, particularly the deck boards.

3.1 Deck Boards

Deck boards make the surface of the deck that people walk on. Available deck boards come in different species of timber and composite materials made by combining wood components and plastic.

As a rule of thumb, the first thing you have to think about when choosing deck boards is thickness.

The strength of the flooring relies on the foundation, framing, and deck board thickness. This attribute is also influenced by joist spacing.

If the spaces between the joists are too far apart, you may want to consider stronger deck boards for optimum support.

Nonetheless, one of the best decisions you can make is selecting quality deck boards that could last a lifetime. With this choice, you can rely on deck board collections from TimberTech.

4.      Stairs

Putting stairs on your deck is vital, depending on the height of the structure. Naturally, the stairs allow you to go up and down the deck without having to go inside the house.

For deck stairs, the essential components include a tread, riser, and stringer fascia. In some cases, stylish railings are added.

The tread is the part you step on when you ascend or descend.

On the other hand, the riser is positioned vertically to the tread.

The stringer fascia provides the overall support and framework of the stairs and holds the treads.    

5.      Railing

It’s hard not to imagine a high deck without railings.

On the other hand, for houses with low decks, this seems to be a common occurrence.

Nevertheless, adding railings to your deck will not only provide additional safety, but it can also make the structure visually appealing.

5.1 Top Rail/Cap Rail

The horizontal structure at the very top of the rail is called a cap rail or top rail. It provides efficient finishing on the railing system.

Choosing a top rail depends on the overall design of your deck.

Materials for the top rail should be carefully screened. You can opt for a metal or timber top rail.

 If your deck style works well with wood, choose quality lumber to avoid cases of splinters.

Also, you can go for composite materials to keep the beauty of the wood while providing added strength and endurance.  

5.2 Base Rail

The base rail is a horizontal structure attached to the flooring of the deck. It also contains the baluster and keeps the entire structure fixed to the deck perimeter.

5.3 Baluster

The balusters provide the intended barrier of the railing system. They are placed in between the top and base rail with enough space for airflow. 

6.      Drainage System

In some cases, a drainage system may be considered optional. However, it is necessary for decks that store water unintentionally.

Since most decks are made of wood, prolonged exposure to water can cause irreversible damages. Hence, installing a drainage system can be beneficial.

Consult with your contractor if your deck needs to have a draining structure. 

Summary

Deckbuilding need not be complicated if you know the parts and how to install them properly. But if you truly want to get the convenience you deserve, it is still best to hire professional deck builders.If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit our deck building services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

What is a Ground-Level Deck? The Benefits and Features

Have you ever wondered if you could build a deck directly on the ground? And if so, how long would the deck last? If you’re wanting to spend more time outdoors and want to landscape your yard to a cost-effective budget, you might consider a detached, ground-level deck to add conveniently usable space to your yard.

A ground-Level deck is a freestanding deck that’s constructed less than 30 inches above the ground. Any deck higher than 30 inches requires guardrails, stairs, and possible permits. If your ground-level deck is not attached to your house and is less than 200 square feet, you do not need a permit. (With some exceptions on a per county basis).

How nice would it be to have a secure and stylish deck in the middle of your yard just under that shaded tree you’re so fond of? Or tucked away in a corner behind some shrubs for some morning coffee privacy in your pajamas? You can build a ground-level deck anywhere in your yard and the best part is that it’s easy to build in a day if you have the right equipment on hand.

Read on to find out more about ground-level decks, the benefits, and some ideas that might fit your budget, your time constraints, and your backyard. 

Ground-Level Deck Benefits.

You might hear of ground-level decks also being called floating decks, free-standing decks, island decks, or platform decks. This is because of their proximity to the ground and because of their detachment to a house or dwelling. 

Although the names are commonly used together, you might find some differences in these decks across different companies and construction businesses. 

You can legally build a ground-level deck anywhere in your yard as a type of platform or floating deck as long as you adhere to any easements and setbacks to your property line. 

There are numerous advantages to building a ground-level deck that make them a popular option for homeowners across the country. 

If you’re just starting to research good options for a backyard deck, here are the benefits of building a ground-level deck that might help you to decide:

  • Ground-level decks are cost-effective.
  • You don’t need stairs or railings
  • Less risk of injury from height-related incidents.
  • No permits are required if the deck is detached from the house and not used as a house entry, is less than 30” from grade level, and in some cases can not exceed certain square footage sizes. (Check your local guidelines for confirmation on the acceptable area)
  • A ground-level deck can legally be built anywhere in your yard. (You still have to follow the rules in your county concerning easements and setbacks from the property lines)
  • Less time-consuming than elevated decks. 
  • Frost-depth footings aren’t required. (Although here at TNT we overbuild everything so we still recommend following your local caisson depth requirements to avoid future issues.)
  • They’re generally easier to build because of their closeness to the ground. 

You can read more information on the Building and Construction Code and Standards here for any permit and construction queries you might have. See Section 105.2 “Work exempt from building permit”. Alternatively, here’s an easy-to-read PDF brochure from Larimer County Community development on residential deck information for your property

Do I Need Footings for a Ground-Level Deck?

At TNT Home Improvements we recommend using footings for every deck, even ground-level decking that “hugs” the ground. What you don’t need for ground-level decks are the typical frost depth footings for higher-built decks, depending on your area of the country. 

Footings provide the foundation of a solid deck. Ensuring that the deck doesn’t quickly rot, fall, or tip, and blow away in strong winds. You need one footing and/or support block for every angle of the deck.

12 inches below ground is the recommended and required depth of the footings for ground-level decks. Some platforms and free-standing decks can be supported by concrete blocks instead of footings. 

At TNT Home Improvements we recommend using footings to support the overall weight of the decking as well as to maintain the structure longer and to avoid fast rotting by being so close to the ground. 

Ground-Level Deck Ideas

There are a few options that you can choose from to support your ground-level or free-standing platform deck. 

You can opt for the traditional footings, dug 12 inches below ground level or alternatively, you can use blocks. Blocks can be DIY or store-bought, either way, if you want a stronger deck, no matter what the size or height, supported decks are stronger and longer-lasting decks. 

Here are a few options that might work for your ground-level deck:

Concrete Deck Blocks/Pier Blocks

One of the cheaper options is concrete blocks. Depending on the style of your deck, these might not be the most attractive option so you might want to spend a little extra on having them covered up. Then again, maybe you like the rugged concrete look!

The pier blocks were designed specifically for floating decks so they’re a popular option. 

Depending on the height of the blocks used, keep in mind that you may need to partially bury them in the ground to ensure your ground-level deck doesn’t exceed the 30-inch limit, resulting in it no longer being a ground-level deck and needing to rethink the whole project. 

Remember, solid concrete is heavy, so you might want to work with a partner on this one if the blocks are a little heavier than you realized. You might also need gravel to support the blocks if you’re needing to dig them into the ground. 

Keep in mind this is the easiest, but the most temporary solution which doesn’t always make it the best; especially over the long run. Here at TNT, we don’t even give this as an option to our customers as it’s more of a DIY solution. Not commonly seen on a professional grade deck.

Wood Post Anchor

A more costly but more attractive DIY option is the wood post anchor. 

A great option to help avoid premature rotting and is quick and easy to install. If you have a good hammer, you can easily install these anchors in the ground without needing to dig or spend any more money on gravel. 

They also come in a few different options, including colors and sizes depending on what your deck requires.  Some, which may be of interest to you and your design style, can be painted. 

You might want to check the hardness of your ground area where you plan to build your deck before going out and purchasing this option as it’s essentially a giant spike that needs forced down into the ground. If the foundations of your land have concrete anywhere underneath, this might not be the best option for you. 

Composite Post Foundation

No need for concrete or gravel, this lightweight composite post foundation is tested by third-party engineering labs, approved and certified by the International Code Council Evaluation Services (ICC) and can provide support for your deck and up to 2355lbs (1068kg). 

Simply dig a hole that fits the footer, flatten the bottom of the hole, place the footer in and attach the decking structure for a wholesome and peace of mind type of ground-level or elevated deck. 

A huge pro is that these footings pads aren’t too expensive depending on how many you require and another bonus is their lightweight design meaning you can carry these on your own.

Concrete Filled Caisson

This is definitely a more permanent, long-lasting solution that we here TNT are more prone to use for the majority of our projects big or small. This solution doesn’t require you to break the bank, but it does require a bit of sweat equity as we dig all of our caissons to at least the 30” frost mark for Northern Colorado. If the deck does require a permit then you will have to adhere to the exact width and depth for your footer holes.

After digging the required (or even non-required) caisson hole size, be sure to ‘bell-out’ the bottom of the holes making it impossible for any future uplift. Then run on down to your local builders’ supply and grab a flat cart full of bags of the appropriately rated concrete mix. With the right amount of water to concrete mix ratio, you can fill your holes and add any required hardware to the top most surface.

If this one sounds too hard/complicated then you may have to make a decision to either settle for a less secure method… or call in the pros. Here at TNT Home Improvements, we’ve got the big-boy tools like giant two-man augers that can make the job of punching 10+ holes in your yard fly by in just an hour or two.

What Timber Should I Use for my Ground-Level Deck?

On every outdoor deck we build, we use pressure-treated lumber for the framing of the structure. Pressure-treated wood is wood that has undergone a process to make it more durable and sturdy, less vulnerable to rot and decay from the elements, and in some cases is even fire retardant. If you are planning on setting your deck framing directly ground (which we don’t necessarily recommend), then you would have to use special ground-contact lumber to further prevent rot for your ground-level deck.

As far as the decking that you pun on top of your ground-level deck, you can go with either a natural wood (like a redwood) or you can choose a synthetic decking material (like a composite or ‘Trex’ material). Keep in mind that referring to Trex as composite material is very similar to referring to Kleenex as a tissue. Not every tissue is created by kleenex just like not every composite deck board is created by Trex. There are many options for composite decking material manufacturers.

Here at TNT Home Improvements of Loveland, Colorado, we recommend TimberTech decking materials to all of our customers. With numerous composite decking options to choose from, TimberTech has a sustainable approach to designing your decks. 

Up to 100% of the wood used at TimberTech is made from recycled materials and since 2001 Timbertech has helped to save over 3 million trees. 

Conclusion

TNT Home Improvements can help you to design your dream ground-level or elevated deck using high-quality materials and dedicated, experienced, professionals in the construction and building field. If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form here to make an appointment to discuss your options for your ground-level deck vision.

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.

The Importance of Hiring a Professional Deck Builder in Loveland, CO

pic of a builder cutting wood with a skill saw

Building a deck is a fantastic way to improve your home. Not only does it offer a place where you can enjoy outdoor recreation just steps from your door, but it also increases your home’s curb appeal and can even boost its value on the real estate market. If you’re gearing up for a deck building project, you have a lot of things to consider. From the materials that you choose to buy to the dimensions of the deck you want to build, there are several important decisions you will have to make.

One of the things you need to consider is whether you will be building your deck yourself or getting help from a professional deck builder in Loveland, CO. You might think that doing the work on your own is worth the potential savings, but there are certain benefits to hiring a professional that should be taken into account:

pic of a three story triple deck w/under decking built in fort collins, co

 

  • Quality of the design:

    If you are not professionally trained and experienced in completing home construction projects, you will likely not be able to achieve the same quality that a professional deck builder in Loveland, CO will be able to offer. When you work with a deck builder, they will be able to consult you on your specific space and work with you to create a design that is both beautiful and functional.

  • Compliance with regulations:

    There are certain regulations and permits that apply to construction projects like deck building. Professional deck patio builders will be able to build to code and ensure that the project is done in compliance with all relevant guidelines that apply in your city and state.

  • Experience:

    The more experience a deck builder has, the more they are able to handle a project with a high level of quality and care. If you have never worked on a deck building project before, you likely won’t be able to bring the same degree of care and quality that a professional will.

  • Knowledge of materials:

    One of the most important decisions you have to make about your deck is what type of materials you will be using. When you work with a professional, you will be able to consult with them and find out which materials are best for your budget and the climate in your area. Certain materials will be able to stand up better over time, and professionals will be able to help you determine the best option for your situation.

If you’re ready to work with a professional deck builder in Loveland, CO and get started on turning your vision for a deck into a reality, get in touch with TNT Home Improvements. We strive to offer our customers the best when it comes to deck building, siding, window installation and patio covers. Our family owned and operated company has been in business for over a decade and we continue to provide our clients with the best when it comes to home improvement. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get a completely free estimate.

Looking for a deck estimate for your next outdoor project? Give TNT Home Improvements a call at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form at https://tnthomeimprovements.com

Why Wood Decks Are a Beautiful Addition to Your Home

pic of a wood deck built in windsor, co

It’s every homeowner’s dream to live in a house that caters to their every lifestyle demand. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible—home upgrades and renovations cost money and take time that you don’t always have. Too often, people settle for “good enough” and aren’t able to enjoy some of the luxuries they want when it comes to their home.

While you might never be able to afford that fully-enclosed sunroom or build an addition to your home, there are some cost-effective enhancements you can make to your property that are sure to bring a high degree of luxury and happiness with them—none more so than wood decks in Loveland, CO.

Versatility and beauty

The reason a deck is such a valuable investment for your home is because it offers a return on that investment in a twofold way: in both functionality and aesthetics. It’s a space that you can use for a variety of different activities, and it also serves to enhance the curb appeal and prestige of your home:

  • Use your deck as an extension of your indoor living space! You can sit out in the sun and relax, cook up something on the grill, entertain guests, stargaze and more—all without leaving the comforts of a structure that’s literally connected to your home. It’s the perfect foray into nature without straying too far from civilization.
  • From the street, a deck will make your home look bigger and grander. It also helps to proportion your property with your home, connecting the landscape to the structure in a seamless way. Decking also appeals to prospective homeowners, adding perceived value when it comes to buying.

And, because decks can be designed in infinite fashions, using a wide assortment of different materials, it’s possible to create a deck that’s uniquely appealing on all fronts.

Create the space you need

Building a deck is all about affording yourself a new luxury. Why do you want a deck? Is it so you have an outdoor space to entertain in, or because you want the convenience of structure in your backyard? Whatever the case may be, be sure you design with that thought in mind.

For example, if you want your deck to be a space for entertaining, make sure it has sprawling space for things like chairs and a table or standing room for mingling. Conversely, if you want a space that’s just for you to relax on, you may choose a more ornamental design that’s decorative and welcoming to you. Either way, you’ll come away with a deck that’s ideal for your home and your needs.

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your home without draining your bank account or getting in over your head with remodeling, consider the benefits of wood decks in Loveland, CO. You’ll get a space outdoors that’s enjoyable and a major boost in your home’s curb appeal—two things that are sure to pay for themselves over time. Contact TNT Home Improvements today to learn more!

Six Elements to Consider with Deck Railing in Fort Collins, CO

a deck built in fort collins, co featuring lattice work

Customers who agonize over the wood stain or type of lumber for their deck may barely give deck railing a second thought. However, choosing the railing for your new deck carries elements of complexity that you may not have considered until you reached this stage in deck construction. Here are six elements you must consider when choosing deck railing in Fort Collins, CO:

  • Budget: Your budget for your deck must include the railing. There are many varieties to fit budgets, which makes it likely you will find railing that works with your deck design and does not push you over the edge cost-wise. Custom wood railings are more expensive than vinyl or steel systems that only need mounting. Know what you can spend so you are not disappointed later when your grand vision exceeds your budget.
  • Local codes: The primary purpose of deck railing is safety. Code requirements assure this by placing guidance on railing height. Most railing must be at least 36 inches tall, with no more than four inches of space between posts. These requirements can change each year as new safety precautions take priority.
  • House style/architecture: Railing that is perfect for a modern home will not work on an 1890s Victorian. The challenge here is that many period homes did not originally have deck railing, so it makes it difficult to find material that matches well. That is why our design process is so critical. We can help you discover what works best with your home’s architectural style and period.
  • Sun exposure: If your deck receives heavy sun exposure, we will likely recommend additional treatments so it does not fade. The same consideration is also relevant with deck railing. You do not want to spend time finding a style that matches and fits your budget only for it to fade to nothing by this fall. Glass railing may produce glare in constant full sun or, if your sprinklers reach it, look spotty. There is also the consideration of temperature. Choosing black railing for a deck that receives full exposure all summer long will create a burn hazard on your deck.
  • View: If your home has a view from the deck, you want railing that does not interfere with it. Likewise, if all you see from your deck is the back of another building, there are railing choices that can distract from that. This consideration also addresses the visibility of your deck to the outside world. If you have a hot tub and want privacy, wide balusters and tight railing can provide that.
  • Maintenance: Wood railing looks great on that period home, but you will spend time maintaining it. You will be staining or cleaning it when you would rather be enjoying your deck. If you install glass panels, prepare to know Windex well! However, if you prefer to spend more time at the barbecue and less time maintaining your railings, metal or composites work best.

TNT Home Improvements offers deck design and construction, including deck railing in Fort Collins, CO. Call us today to start planning for your new deck!

Now’s the Time to Start Planning Deck Construction in Fort Collins, CO

pic of a second story deck built in Fort Collins, CO

You can just about picture it: Your own beautiful deck, a little oasis right outside your house where you can enjoy the outdoors in comfort and convenience on a warm spring or summer day. You’ve got an icy cold beverage, a couple burgers and hot dogs on the grill and you’re relaxing with friends and family. During these cold winter months, this vision sounds pretty ideal, right?

Fortunately, it’s just the right time to begin planning your deck to enjoy during the warmer part of the year. If you’re looking for the best deck construction company in Fort Collins, CO, you’ve come to the right place. Our expert craftsmen can construct the deck of your dreams at a price that won’t break the bank. For more than a decade, TNT Home Improvements has been making homeowners happy.

Permits and codes for deck construction

You’ll want to investigate whether your town requires permits before beginning construction. Nothing is worse than starting to build a deck only to have construction stopped because of red tape. Check with relevant government officials to find out if you need a permit, how much it costs and when you need to secure it. When you choose TNT Home Improvements, our on-staff engineer will guide through the entire process.

You’ll also want to check city and county codes to find out design requirements, which are typically detailed in zoning laws. If you own a condominium, you’ll want to discuss this with the homeowner’s association to ensure you don’t run into any problems. Now’s the time to sort out all the logistics so you can begin enjoying your deck once the first warm days of 2017 roll around!

trex decking contractorHow do you want your deck to look?

Consider meeting with a licensed contractor to discuss the style of your deck and what materials you’d like to use. From stains to protective railings, our trained professionals will take all of your preferences into consideration. You’ll want to consider flooring, footings, materials and other options. We can customize everything to what you’d like to see.

This is also a good time to establish a budget. Decks come in relatively simple, value-friendly options all the way to high-end options with hot tubs and other luxury items. We’ll work with you to fit your space, needs, and budget. No matter what you choose, you can rest assured we’ll build a beautiful, functional deck.

TNT Home Improvements is a locally owned and operated company that’s the leader in deck construction in Fort Collins, CO. We’re a fully licensed and insured company with an expert engineer who oversees all our work. Our customers keep coming back to us because of our prompt and friendly customer service, combined with our expertise in home improvement.

Our trained team will work with you every step of the way to construct the deck of your dreams. That’s why people in Fort Collins have trusted us with their business for more than a decade. Contact us today for a free estimate and to learn more about our exciting deck options perfect for your home.

Looking for a deck contractor for your next project? Give TNT Home Improvements a call at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form at https://tnthomeimprovements.com

Five Types of Deck Design in Fort Collins, CO That Might Work for Your Home

pic of a Composite deck built in fort collins, co

Adding a deck to your home can greatly enhance your outdoor living space. While deck design in Fort Collins, CO is dependent on the space you have available in your backyard, you do have several choices of styles and creations to choose from that offer a variety of functionality and convenience for you and your family. Whether you are looking for a peaceful retreat or a spot to entertain, there is a deck model designed to give you what you are looking for. Think about these deck styles when you are looking to add to the outdoor living space of your home:

pic of a deck and pergola built in Fort Collins, CO

  • Attached:

    This popular deck design in Fort Collins, CO makes for easy access from your home, as it is attached to the house in the rear. It provides an entryway from the inside of your home and is the perfect choice to add some outdoor living space to your house. It is usually raised up and acts as a patio area that is made of wood or wood composite. It works well in an L- or U-shaped home.

  • Detached:

    This type of deck design in Fort Collins, CO is separate from the home and works well to add space to entertain or relax in a backyard. It is often referred to as an island deck, as it literally seems to be floating in your yard. It can carve out a special area in your property or designate a space for you to place patio furniture.

  • Wraparound:

    As the name suggests, this style of deck wraps around your home. You may have several access points to it from inside your home. A wraparound deck truly expands your living space and offers multiple ways in which to enjoy the outdoors. This allows you to enjoy the sun, no matter if it is setting or rising, and may give separate rooms in your home access to the outdoors from different vantage points.

  • Multi-level:

    If you have a lot of land, a multi-level deck design in Fort Collins, CO may be just right for you. This deck configuration has different elevations that are typically adjoined by stairs or pathways. This is an ideal deck type for elevations that have hills, slopes or rocky terrain. A multi-level deck can get you from one point of your yard to the other with ease and can provide sitting areas throughout.

  • Entryway:

    Make a grand statement with an entryway deck design in Fort Collins, CO that will welcome your This deck style can be simple or elaborate and is designed to complement the architecture of your home. Wood deck platforms can be used to outline the entrance to your home and can incorporate benches and planters along the way.

With so many deck designs to choose from, it may be hard to pick just one. A deck builder will be able to advise on what type of deck design in Fort Collins, CO will work best for your yard and can custom design features that offer you everything you are looking for. To have a deck installed at your home, contact TNT Home Improvements. We are a home improvement company that specializes in deck building and much more. Call today for a quote!

Looking for local deck builders for your next project? Give TNT Home Improvements a call at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form at https://tnthomeimprovements.com