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.

What Is the Difference Between a Deck, Patio, Porch, Covered Roof, and Sunroom?

picture of a huge deck and cover built in Loveland, CO

When it comes to home improvements and additions, it helps to know the difference between some of the different options before you start hiring contractors to begin working on your property. You may want to add things that will increase the value of your property while giving you more space to do some of your favorite things, such as grilling, sunbathing, or simply relaxing outdoors.

Whether you want a deck, patio, porch, or something else added to your home, it helps to know the difference between these options before you officially pay to have anything done. So, what is the difference?

A deck is a wood framed platform that is commonly attached directly to your home. A patio is usually a cement slab in the backyard right up against the house. A porch is most commonly a covered deck with screens for walls. A Covered Roof (or sometimes referred to as a hard cover) is a shade covering for a deck or concrete patio and is commonly made from the same roofing materials as the house. And lastly, a sunroom is similar to a porch except made from as much glass as possible.

pic of a wood deck built in Loveland featuring built in seating and lighting

What Is a Deck?

A deck is a structure composed of wood that does not have a roof attached to it. As a homeowner, you can get a deck installed on any specific area of your home. Some people like to have a deck in their backyard, while others prefer having a deck that is off to the side of the property. It all depends on the location of your home and the amount of space you have available to get this type of addition constructed.

Decks come in all different sizes and shapes. Before getting a deck installed, you would need to have measurements taken to determine how much space you have available to work with in the first place. You may want a large deck to have plenty of room for a grill and chairs that you will have out for guests to sit on when they visit you. In addition to getting a deck that is the perfect size for your personal space, you will also need to decide on the shape, style, and color of the deck.

You can have a deck built with different types of materials. While wood is the most common goto for decking, decks made from wood-plastic composite have become extremely popular. No matter what you plan on choosing, you will need to decide on the species of wood that you would like used based on its longevity and general appearance. You want something that is going to look good and last a long time while not requiring nearly as much maintenance as some other options.

What Is a Patio?

Many people often confuse a patio with a deck or porch, but these are three entirely different things. While the patio is an outdoor area like a porch and deck, it is typically a paved area that is outside of the home and not attached to it. When constructing patios for clients, it is common for contractors to use concrete, bricks, and even assorted stones that were selected by the clients.

The purpose of having a patio is to have an outdoor area where you can sit, eat, and relax. Many people with patios like to host parties and gatherings with their loved ones where they are preparing food and serving it outdoors. Once there is the patio, homeowners may invest in items for those patios, including outdoor furniture, that they can leave outside and use whenever they want to sit outdoors.

Not all patios look the same, and some are much bigger than others. It does depend on the space available to the homeowner. One thing that most patios have in common is that they are found in the back of the home and may even be situated near a deck.

What Is a Porch?

The porch is an open structure that has breathable walls, but protection above it. Because there is a cover or roof above the porch, you can comfortably sit outside in any weather without worrying about dealing with the rain, sun, snow, and other elements. The porch is often added to the front of the home. There are several reasons that homeowners choose to get a front porch installed if they do not already have one. It gives them a safe and comfortable place to sit out while enjoying the weather and chatting with their neighbors.

There are different types of materials used to create sturdy and reliable porches for those who would like them. Some of the most commonly selected porch materials include plastic, PVC, wood, aluminum, and solid stone. The materials, colors, and overall style picked for the porch will vary from one home to the next and will typically depend on the personal preference of the homeowners.

You can choose from various porch options. For example, you may want an open-air porch that does not have walls, or you may prefer having a porch with screened walls. These are some of the things you will need to think about before you get this type of addition to your home.

covered deck shingled roof stone pillars all covering a hot tub

What Is a Covered Roof?

A covered roof often goes along with a patio. While patios are usually out in the open and provide a space for dining and relaxing with friends, some people choose to invest in a covered roof that gets installed directly over the patio. Having a covered roof comes in handy for potential rainstorms and other weather elements that could get in the way of an outdoor event. The closed roof also provides additional protection from the sun when sitting outside for extended periods.

Before getting a covered roof installed over the patio, professionals must first take measurements. It is necessary to make sure that the roof will provide the maximum amount of coverage for the patio. If you are thinking about getting a covered roof, you must also decide how much coverage you want. Some people like to have a portion of the patio covered while leaving a separate part open because that allows them to soak in the sun if they would like to do so.

What Is a Sunroom?

The sunroom is a sheltered room that is attached to the home. It is an added room to the house that has more windows than the average room, allowing plenty of natural sunlight to soak through. Property owners often like adding assorted plants to their sunrooms because that is the perfect room to get plants to thrive because of the added sunlight. Those who want to enjoy the benefits of the sun without sitting directly outside where they would end up dealing with insects may enjoy having a sunroom available to them.

Sunrooms are often smaller than the average size of a living room or bedroom, but they still offer an adequate amount of space. While the location of a sunroom may vary from one home to the next, it is common for homeowners to have a sunroom attached to the back of the house. There is a common misconception that a sunroom and back porch are the same thing, but this is false. These two home features are different from one another.

It is quite common for people to confuse decks, patios, porches, covered roofs, and sunrooms. Many people believe these home additions are all the same, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. Each addition has something unique to offer. If you are thinking about adding something extra to your home, you should make a list of your wants and needs and then decide which of these different options are the best for you.

Once you decide which additions to add to your home, you can start choosing materials, styles, and colors. You can go over these details with a professional contractor by giving us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit the contact page to send us a message. Also, if you want more info please check out our DECK and PATIO COVER services pages.

timber frame sun-room with amazing mountain views built by TNT Home Improvements

Which Option Is Cheaper: A Concrete Patio Or Wood Deck?

Outdoor living spaces such as patios and decks are just what you need for entertaining guests outdoors or truly getting to enjoy your space. Adding a patio or deck can also be an excellent way to increase the value of your property. It can also create the proper atmosphere for creating many happy memories. 

Overall, a concrete patio will generally be cheaper to install compared to a deck. While your specific house and yard set-up may determine which is cheaper for your individual needs, a wood deck is likely to have a better return on investment compared to a concrete patio. Of course, there’s no rule that prevents you from having both a deck and a patio. After all, they are both excellent spaces for entertaining. 

While both patios and decks can be wonderful additions to your property, it is first important to understand what each of them is as well as which option is cheaper to help you make an informed decision for your budget.

What is a Deck?

A deck is a raised platform that can be made of different materials, which include pressure-treated lumber, wood, PVC, composite, and more. However, here the focus will be on wood decks. A deck can sit high above the ground raised by posts and accessed via a staircase or be built low to the ground raised only by joists.

What is a Patio?

A patio is an outdoor seating area that’s typically flush with the ground and is often made of concrete. While concrete is probably the most popular material used for building patios, you can also use gravel, stone, and many other materials.

Decks vs. Patios: Which Option is Cheaper?

If you would like to add either a patio or deck to your home, you need to consider several different things. You also need to ask yourself questions. Is it cheaper to build a patio or deck? Which option is easier to build? Simply put, a patio is generally cheaper than a deck. However, that’s an oversimplification of the reality since the cost will depend on several different factors, which include:

  • Materials used (wood, concrete, vinyl, etc.)
  • Location of the addition (above ground, on the ground with supports, etc.)
  • Features (seating, railings, built-in barbecue, supports, etc.)
  • Size of the addition

Other Factors that Determine Which Option Is Cheaper Include:

Slope of the yard on which you wish to place the deck or patio

A patio is usually placed directly on the ground, which is why it is preferable to choose a level space. A patio is often not the ideal option for uneven ground since the cost to create a foundation can double or even triple the cost of the addition. If you have uneven ground in your yard, a deck would be the cheaper option since the cost of installation is almost always never affected by the slope of the yard. 

Installation Difficulty

Installing a deck is generally more difficult compared to that of a patio and is best handled by professionals. Structures for supporting the deck have to be cemented into holes that are drilled into the ground. You also have to make additional considerations when it comes to properly attaching the deck to your home.

You can build a deck on land that is not level, which makes it a great option for sloping landscapes or uneven yards. Waterproofing materials might be required in some cases to avoid compromising your home’s foundation.

Installing a patio is generally easier, but it requires extensive preparation of the ground surface where you will lay it. It is best installed in areas that are relatively flat and even because patios are typically installed on the ground directly.

The area where a patio is installed will often require reinforcement with rebar too if you are using poured concrete and the ground underneath has to be compacted. You can do it as a DIY project, but it will probably be a lot of difficult work.

When it comes to installation difficulty, installing a deck is generally more expensive since it usually requires a professional, but while installing a patio is generally cheaper, it might end up being quite an expensive project if your yard is either sloping or uneven.

Installation Cost

The cost of installing a deck will depend on the size of the deck, the materials used, and whether you hire a professional or do it yourself. A deck measuring 16-feet by 20 feet may cost anywhere from $7,500 to upwards of $15,000. However, the cost will vary depending on the material used. For instance:

  • Redwood and cedar cost anywhere from $25 to $30 per square foot, on average, with the cost of installation included
  • Composite or PVC costs anywhere from $30 to $45 per square foot with the cost of installation included.

You can save significantly on costs if you build the deck yourself. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1.75 to $5.50 per linear foot for the decking materials needed and between $4 and $8 per square foot for posts and joists materials.

The cost of installing a new patio depends on the material used to construct the patio and whether any leveling or groundwork is needed before installation. A patio measuring 16 feet by 20 feet will vary in cost from $2,500 to $9,500 depending on the materials used and the labor needed.

  • Concrete patio pavers cost anywhere from $10 to $20 per square foot on average
  • Regular concrete has an average cost of $9 per square foot on average
  • Stamped concrete cost anywhere from $12 to $15 per square foot on average.

All the above prices are inclusive of the installation costs.

If you compare the installation costs of patios vs. decks, it is quite clear that patios are generally cheaper, but that’s just half the story. Depending on the materials used, it is still possible for patios to cost more to install than decks.

Maintenance

Maintenance is an important consideration when choosing between a patio and deck since it may determine which option is cheaper in the long run. A wood deck requires just power washing annually to protect against mildew and mold. Decks should generally be stained and sealed at least every 2 years to increase lifespan and improve durability. And quality composite decks just need hosed off and offer 25 – 50 year warranties against staining,fading,splintering, and warping.

A patio, on the other hand, can be cleaned easily with a hose and requires minimal ongoing maintenance. Inspecting regularly for cracks is necessary at times to prevent water from leaking under the patio thus causing erosion. In some of the extreme cases, the patio can crack and the whole surface would require removal and replacement.

If you compare the maintenance requirements of wood decking it becomes clear that patios are the cheaper option since they require less maintenance while decks are not as cheap to maintain since they require power washing annually, which often involves a professional, unless they’re built with composite or PVC decking.

Return on Investment (ROI)

If you are considering selling your property in the coming years, it can be a good idea to consider the ROI for a deck vs. a patio. Your choice in building materials will obviously contribute to the costs. 

The average ROI for a deck is roughly 75 percent more than that of a patio. For instance, a homeowner that spends $10,000 to build a deck can expect to get back $7,500 after reselling the property.  In contrast, a homeowner that spends $3,500 to build a patio can only expect to get back $1,500 after reselling the property. But the value of a deck can also increase with the overall home as local property values increase along with it.

If you consider the ROI, the concrete patio is no match for the deck since decks have a generally higher ROI than patios. But it may also be the centerpiece of the house that is unique to its space and helps sell it. Buyers want a peaceful sanctuary they can envision themselves enjoying. Look around your neighborhood and make note if the other houses around you have deck or patio additions, it might be what sets yours apart.  

A Professional Guide To Building A Deck Around A Tree

a picture of a multi tier deck with a tree in the middle of it

A wooden deck is a thing of beauty, an excellent way of adding some oomph to your outdoor living area. It expands the living space while serving as a focal point for your outdoors. 

Building it around a tree might seem to complicate the project, but that is not the case. You can work with a floating deck that rests on above-ground piers or underground footings. It just depends on what your permit office wants to see. The tree’s size could influence the deck’s dimensions, the layout of the foundations, and the joist layout as well.

Why Incorporate Surrounding Trees?

A mature tree or two in the spot you plan for the installation can be a blessing in disguise. The plants can serve as natural shade and at the same time, you get to feel good about helping your environment. Furthermore, a deck that encompasses a tree or two looks phenomenal, a presentation that can make people have a deeper appreciation of your outdoor setting.

deck

How To Build Your Deck Around A Tree

Installing a deck is not something that you should brush off as easy and undertake it as a DIY project. We highly recommend that you let the professionals at TNT handle the installation, especially when you have an obstacle, such as a tree, that can impact the construction. Also, this guide explains just one of many different ways to approach the same project. Basically, be careful, use common sense, and always wear safety gear and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using power tools.

Below is a quick guide that shows steps we follow when building a deck that will surround a tree. 

1.   Assess Your Trees

As we layout and plan your deck we will get an idea of where the tree is going to be in relation to the deck space and plan accordingly. This will help us to not only make it easier to frame around but also plan for how it will fit into the decking or any railing obstacles we might encounter.

Most tree species stop growing upwards when they reach a certain point but most every tree keeps growing wider adding rings every year.

On a lot of installs, we will butt the decking boards right up against the tree all the way around and then at the end we carefully take a jigsaw and run it in a circle around the tree with one side of the blade guard up against it so that when you’re done you get an even gap all the way around the tree.

This will also help for future growth so in 10 years if the girth of the tree is grown out and is about to or is already touching the deck boards you can go ahead and use a jigsaw and cut another gap around it.

2.    Plan Your Deck

Be realistic and honest about how you plan to use the deck. Do you want to use it for barbecues or outdoor dining, as a casual entertainment spot for guests, or maybe somewhere to do yoga or coffee in the mornings?

If you have a lower budget, it would be best to consider installing something small with a potential second phase in the future. We believe a smaller deck can help create a more intimate space.

The size will also be determined by the space available. We will advise you accordingly while also considering the slope of your yard and the different support structures needs for the deck.

Permits will also have a huge influence on what you can and can’t do in your particular yard. We will dive into this more in step 4 but things you will have to keep in mind that the permit office will most likely be checking for are things like:

  • Setbacks (this is the amount of space there needs to be in between the deck you want to build and your property line)
  • Caissons (these are holes you dig in the ground with the intent of filling back up with concrete to support the deck using posts)
  • Ledger (this is the attachment point at the house (if applicable). It could look something like a 2×12 laying flat against the house and attached using ledger locks)

3.    Choose Your Timber

The wood to use should be robust enough to serve its purpose for years to come. For the framing lumber, we recommend you go for natural pressure-treated wood with excellent load-bearing strength. You won’t have to make many decisions about the framing as we will be recommending you what’s needed based on your individual decks’ specs.

As for the decking material, it’s up to your budget and your personal choice as to whether you put down something like a natural redwood decking or something easier to maintain like a composite decking material.

4.    Site Plan And Preparations

For the installation process to proceed smoothly, you need a site plan. We shall handle this as well as ensure that you have all the required permits and that everything is done up to code. We have an engineer on staff which greatly speeds up this process and ensures quality control. With the site plans, we will have the blueprints that will keep us on track about the materials needed, measurements for cuts, and any project-specific guidelines. 

We will measure off the house, staking and tying a string along the way, marking out where to place the caissons. We will clear the area and if space provides we will use an auger to dig the holes for the footings that will serve as the piers for the deck. The depth of the holes for the footings will depend on the deck design you pick and the county or region’s building codes. After the holes are dug, an inspector will most likely have to come out and sign off at this point in the project.

Ask us about our pre-visualization services if you really want to plan out your project in great detail.

5.    Setting The Posts

After the inspector signs off on the holes, we will fill them back up with concrete. We will give the concrete time to cure before putting weight on them. During this time we can still move forward by using temporary lumber nailed to the frame to hold it up until the concrete cures. We set the post-to-caisson bracket. Then we will fix pressure-treated 4×4 wooden posts into the brackets, securing them in place with nails to create the deck piers.

6.    Installing The Ledger Board

The ledger board is an essential component when constructing a deck, and it attaches the deck to your house. The connection should be robust, and depending on your house, you may need to first install flashing to prevent water damage. Then attach the ledger board directly to the house’s rim joist or concrete sub-wall.

7.    Framing The Deck

With the ledger installed, you can now attach a joist on either end and a rim joist on the outside of those two and now you’ve got a giant rectangle. You can then proceed to fill the interior with framing at a certain measurement you will get from your permit. A common joist layout example is sixteen inches on center. Make sure all lumber gets installed crown up.

The joists are the support boards that form the deck’s foundation. We will use 2×6, 2×8, 2×10, or 2×12 joists depending on what your deck plans call for. Depending on the building codes in your area, you may need to add extra support in between each joist across the middle of the rectangle.

8.    Framing Around The Tree

Ideally, you placed the tree between two joists and now you just need to put two small two by’s in between the joists hugging the tree. If necessary you may need to add framing at a 45-degree angle in the corners of your newly created square to round the corners and finish creating the frame. 

If the tree isn’t small enough to fit in between two joists then you may need to add double joists in certain areas. This will depend on your particular codes, but an example is to double joists on either side of the tree. Then add double joists spanning those first two doubles creating a rectangle of double material around the tree area. This area would almost certainly need to have posts designed into the plan holding up this heavy area. You will then end up with areas that need small joists and negative spaces around the tree that need to be filled with 45-degree mini joists.

No matter the exact process, we are just trying to create a frame that encompasses the tree and is close enough so that no one accidentally steps in a vulnerable spot.

9.    Laying The Decking

Installing the decking boards can be started from the outermost edge working towards the house or from the house working out depending on your preference. We like to start at the house and move out to get that nice clean line at the house. Based on the decking material you choose we would use a tool to make sure the boards have a tight consistent gap as we secure them down using deck screws.

If you chose to go with hidden fasteners then we let the hardware and the guns set their own gap as we hold the boards tight and snap down the fasteners. We will accurately measure the boards that terminate at the tree frame for snug fit then fasten them down to the tree frame and joists with deck screws or fasteners. We jig around the tree as described earlier to get an even organic gap. When the entire deck floor is laid, we will snap a chalk line along the edges to cut any excess overhang to achieve straight lines before attaching the outer fascia.

10.    Finishing touches

To finish up the deck we would want to add stairs if needed to get down into the yard (if the deck height is above a specific height [see permit]). Also, make sure to add handrail if your deck height is above a certain level as well. To do that you add 4×4’s or similar post material to the perimeter and span those with 2×4’s full of balusters. The full details of a handrail is a mix of what is required (spacing) and what is desired (material type and color).  

pic of a wood deck built in Loveland featuring built in seating and lighting

Wrapping up

To ensure that your new deck lasts a long time, we recommend you coat a wooden deck with a wood preservative or stain to ensure the decking is adequately sealed. Sealing the boards is essential for added protection against mold, moisture, and the sun’s rays.

If you went for a low-maintenance composite deck board option then you can just wash it off with the hose and maybe just a very small amount of dish soap if it gets dirty. 


To learn more about our deck construction services here at TNT please click here. Get in touch with us today if you want to know more about other outdoor hardscaping plans or know more about our services and how we can help transform your home. You can call us at 970-663-2868 or email us at sales@tnthomeimprovements.com

All About Louvered Pergolas

pic of a louvered pergola built in Fort Collins, CO

Are you looking for the best way to make your outdoor living space great while remaining functional? We understand your problem and have the perfect solution for you – louvered pergolas. With our premium louvered pergolas, you get to enjoy all the fresh air and beauty that nature has to offer while transforming your deck, patio, or other outdoor living space into a functional space that can protect you from rain or excessive sunlight.

What is a Louvered Pergola?

It is an adjustable roofing system that allows you to enjoy fresh air, sunlight, and other positive qualities of nature but are adjustable to provide coverage from the less desirable qualities such as snow, sleet, rain, or excessive sunlight. The adjustable roofing can even be outfitted with ceiling fans to provide additional outdoor comfort by keeping out pests such as mosquitos and flies.

Benefits of Using Louvered Pergolas

A louvered pergola provides the best of both worlds – the abundant sun or an open backyard or the complete shade of a covered porch. A louvered pergola lets you choose how much sun you would like to receive at any particular time.

Using the convenient controls of the pergola, you can open the louvers to let through sun, or close them if you want protection from snow or rain. That way, you and your family can spend more time enjoying the outdoors throughout the year.


pic of a job in loveland, co featuring a new deck and louvered patio cover

Here are the top benefits of using louvered pergolas:

Protection from the Elements

A louvered pergola system can be angled to provide protection from harmful UV rays from the sun regardless of its position. Since most of them are made from aluminum, they are usually highly reflective, which makes them incredibly effective at shielding your space from light, infrared radiation, and even radio waves.

A louvered pergola can even be angled to provide both airflow and shade without actually blocking your view. It is also possible to fully open the louvers to allow maximum light into your outdoor space while minimizing uplift and resistance due to high winds.

A louvered pergola roofing system can even be completely closed to provide sturdy shelter from the rain. Most systems come equipped with an integrated gutter where rainwater is pitched into to ensure proper drainage. They can also be equipped with wind and rain sensors that open or close automatically depending on the weather.

Better Airflow and Increased Comfort

Outdoor temperatures are hardly ever perfect, which is one of the reasons why patio covers are so popular. However, even with the regular covers, many times property owners want to increase the airflow and create a refreshing breeze under the cover.

A louvered pergola can really make a difference over a regular solid cover. While a regular cover obviously provides shade, it tends to limit the airflow for people sitting under it. A louvered pergola gives you the advantage of opening the louvers to the angle you desire thus giving you control over fresh air, shade, and breeze at any time of day or night.

Easy Customization Options

We fabricate each louvered pergola based on your preferences and design them to your exact specifications for the best fit and finish for a lovely finished product. We can even customize your louvered pergolas with ceiling fans, outdoor curtains, accent lighting, and custom colors to enhance your outdoor living space.

True Convenience

Louvered pergolas, unlike solid covered patios or those with a lattice overhead, can be adjusted with the simple push of a button. Just imagine being able to go from completely covered to 50 percent airflow with our motorized louvered pergolas above your outdoor entertaining area.

Having a louvered pergola installed on your patio is perhaps one of the best investments you can make. You get the best of both airflow when you need it and a protected cover if that’s what you want. Perhaps the best thing about it is that it isn’t exclusive to residential properties.

If you have a commercial establishment such as a hotel or restaurant, you can take advantage of our louvered patio covers for your outdoor eating areas. When the sun moves throughout the day, the pergolas can keep your customers in the shade.

Environmentally-Friendly

Our louvered pergolas are made from aluminum that’s non-corrosive, which means that it won’t rust. Aluminum is also a flexible and durable metal that’s capable of flexing under loads or springing back from an impact. It also does not burn and does not produce toxic fumes, even when temperatures are high. It is also recyclable without losing its valuable characteristics.

Expert Louvered Pergola Sales and Installation

If you are looking for a beautiful and high-quality product that’s guaranteed to transform your outdoor living space, get in touch with us today to learn more about our louvered pergola systems. We are the go-to resource when it comes to outdoor living products. We are committed to supplying the finest products for your property.

We offer complete design, fabrication, delivery, and installation of premium louvered pergolas for both our residential and commercial customers to choose from. We have taken all the necessary steps to take complexity out of the process by offering you all you need to include a beautiful and high-quality pergola into your project. Give us a call today at 970-663-2868 to schedule your free consultation.

To learn more about our shade options, please visit our patio cover services page.

The Best Ways To Add Shade To A Deck

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Outdoor living spaces can add a great deal of value to your home. When you have a deck or a patio, you won’t have to stay cooped up indoors all day. When the weather is cooperating, you’ll be able to step outside and enjoy the great outdoors.

With that said, it isn’t always comfortable to have sunlight shining in your eyes. If you’re looking for ways to add shade to a deck, here are a few solutions you’ll want to consider.

Patio Furniture

If you’re looking for a temporary solution to your lack of shade, the right patio furniture can help. For example, a table that comes equipped with its own umbrella can provide some shade on a sunny day. You could also pick up a swing or lounge chair with a built in shade cover. Patio furniture comes in many styles, and you can find outdoor furnishings that will give your deck the look you want.

With that said, deck furniture isn’t a perfect solution. If you don’t want to have to worry about the sunlight when you’re on your deck, you’ll want to explore some of your other options, such as canopies, pergolas, and patio covers. You’ll want to make sure you can enjoy your deck, even when the sun is at its hottest.

Try A Pop-Up Canopy

If you’re looking for a short-term solution to your lack of shade, you might find that a pop-up canopy works well for you. These canopies come in many different sizes, and they can easily be stored when they’re not in use.

While a canopy like this can detract from the appearance of your deck, it’s a fast way to get shade when you need it. If you do invest in a canopy, you don’t have to limit yourself to using it on your deck. You can also take your canopy with you so that you can get shade on the go, especially if you like to go camping.

deck

Plant A Tree

Trees are a fantastic source of shade, and they can also provide clean air around your home. While it can take a long time for a tree to grow, you don’t have to start growing a tree from a seed. Instead, you can buy larger trees that will start providing shade right away.

Trees can be a major investment. Many people are shocked when they see what it costs to purchase trees. However, trees can also greatly increase the value of your home. If you don’t have room in your budget for trees, or if you’re looking for a faster solution, pergolas are able to filter sunlight in the same way that trees can.

Install A Pergola

If you’d like to enjoy the sunlight when you’re sitting on your deck, but you’d also like a little more shade, then you won’t find a better solution than a pergola. A pergola can help filter out sunlight so that your deck won’t be bright. Because of the way a pergola is shaped, plenty of sunshine will still be able to shine through. A pergola can enhance the look of your deck, and it can also make it a more comfortable place to relax.

Most of the pergolas we build are a 50/50 sunlight to shade as far as what light is let through. If you were looking for something that is more adjustable you could go with a louvered pergola. These are powered by motors that let you open and close the louvers above you to let in more light or completely close it shut. If you want more control over the amount of shade this is a great option.

We can build a pergola above your deck so that you’re able to get some much-needed shade. A pergola can add a lot of architectural interest to your home, but it can also be highly functional. If you want to improve your deck’s appearance and get more shade at the same time, then a pergola is the perfect solution.

Hang Patio Curtains

If your pergola or deck cover still isn’t providing the kind of shade that you need, you may want to hang curtains around your patio. Curtains will allow you to block out even more of the sun’s rays so that you can get extra weather protection when you’re on your deck.

If you do decide to hang curtains around your deck, you’ll want to search for curtains that were specifically designed to be used outdoors. Choose curtains that are made from a durable, weather-resistant material that won’t fade in the sun.

Patio And Deck Covers

As mentioned above, a cover is one of the best ways to add some extra shade to a deck. Fabric covers, like a canopy, are a popular option. But if you want something more permanent and something that matches the look of your home than I highly recommend a deck cover.

We offer a range of options for patio and deck covers and will be able to build something that’s perfectly suited to your backyard. Your patio cover can complement your existing roof lines and match your shingle colors. We’ll be able to talk to you about your options for covers and answer any questions you might have. Once your cover is fully installed, you’ll have an easy way to get some extra shade.

Add A Gazebo

If you’re happy with the look of your deck, but would still like a shady place to relax in your yard, why not add a gazebo? Gazebos are designed to provide protection from the elements, and they don’t have to take up much space. It’s more than possible to add a smaller gazebo to your yard.

A gazebo can be a fantastic outdoor reading space, and it can even be a way to entertain friends. If you have room for a gazebo on your property, it’s another option that you could consider.

Adding Shade To A Deck Is Easy

If your backyard gets a lot of sunlight, you might think that your yard isn’t well-suited for a deck. However, there are all kinds of simple ways that you can get the shade that you need.

If you’re struggling to get shade when you’re on your deck, there are plenty of solutions you can try. Once you have a reliable source of shade, you’ll find yourself spending more time in your backyard.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to learn more about deck building and shade solutions. We can build a beautiful deck in your yard, and we can make sure that your deck has all of the shade that it needs. Call us at 970-663-2868 so that we can tell you more about patio covers, pergolas, and other shade solutions. Click on this link to learn more about our patio cover services.

Is It Better to Replace A Deck Or Repair It?

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It almost goes without saying that maintenance is essential in order to keep outdoor equipment in good working order. That also goes for infrastructure. Just as your lawnmower requires oil – so do fixtures like decks require maintenance. It is a fact of life that environmental factors can place huge stresses on outdoor fixtures such as decks, especially if they are built with natural materials such as wood.

Without that all-important maintenance, a wooden deck will suffer from exposure to the elements. Harsh sun and temperature fluctuations can be especially damaging to wooden decks. However, when viewing the damage most homeowners will be torn between having the deck repaired or replaced – what is the best option?

The first step is to ensure that you pay attention to the deck and its state of repair. An in-depth look at the state of the deck is absolutely essential in order to make a value judgment as to whether it might be a candidate for repair or replacement.

There are several things that need to be taken into account.

The first of these is to take a good long look at the surface of the deck including things like handrails. Moisture can wreak havoc with decks that are not sealed or have not had the sealing maintained. There is also the effect of UV rays which can play their part in degrading the natural fibers of the wood. Once that seal is degraded moisture can enter the deck and cause swelling which will inevitably lead to further damage.

The second part of judging the health of the deck is to check the posts. These are the foundation of a healthy deck. Due to the fact that they are vertical and hidden by the superstructure of the deck they are not usually exposed to direct Uv rays or the effects of pooled water. However, the base of the posts may be subjected to the effects of accumulated water.

There are a variety of ways in which a deck can be damaged. These can range from simple wear and tear to the effects of climate. However, there comes a time when every homeowner has a decision to make when it comes to repairing or replacing a deck. The issue boils down to one simple question: Is it more cost-effective to repair that deck or replace it completely?

It all comes down to dollars and cents – and the scale of the repairs that might need to be made. If a deck shows issues in one particular area it may not mean that the entire structure should be replaced. However, it is essential that the homeowner who wants to return his or her deck to ‘as new’ condition consult with experts like the ones we have here at TNT. The reason for this is simple. The deck may appear to only need cosmetic attention – however, there may be hidden dangers that affect the health of the deck. One of those is one that affects the older decks. Those decks might have support posts that were inserted directly into the soil. Modern best practice is to use footers – which limit the damage that standing water (or a high water table) can cause. Posts inserted into raw soil can suffer from rot – and an experienced and professional deck specialist will be able to advise homeowners on the best path forward should rot affect one or more posts.

That same professional should also be able to judge whether the deck is in need of repair rather than replacement in terms of the health of the beams. These Beams are the basis for the support of the deck. Damaged beams can spell doom for a deck. They are expensive to repair or replace. The sheer amount of time required to replace beams will mean that the homeowner is paying (per hour) more than the value of an entirely new deck.

If the deck requires remedial help there are a number of different options when it comes to material. The latest composite boards, for instance, mimic the look and texture of natural wood and have a variety of advantages over the natural material.

In fact, the decision to replace a deck should take into account the return on investment. Research has shown that a deck makes the home more attractive to buyers. A deck should be seen as a long term investment. However, that longevity should not mean that the deck requires constant maintenance.

The idea that a deck should require that much care and attention is firmly in many homeowner’s minds. Some go so far as to view a deck as an annoyance rather than an asset. However, on the other side of the fence, there are those who enjoy the convenience and lifestyle options that a deck provides.

These two opposing mindsets mean that judging whether or not to repair or replace a deck (or eliminate it altogether) may not be made logically. It is then when the services of a professional are most urgently needed.

One of our qualified and experienced deck specialists will conduct an in-depth examination of the state of the deck – and do all the calculations required to give you the peace of mind of knowing that the decision whether or not to repair the deck – or have it replaced entirely was the right thing to do.

It is also worth remembering that a skilled deck advisor will be able to offer a number of repair options when it comes to restoring a deck to its ‘as new’ status. This may mean using newer materials that are not natural – but that enhance, rather than detract from the visual appeal of the deck.

A deck is an asset in many different ways. It adds to the value of what for many will be the biggest investment they will ever make – a property. However, there is another investment that the homeowner will be making. A deck adds to the emotional wellbeing of a family. It is a place in the sun where the family can simply be with one another. So when that decision of whether to replace or repair that deck, consider the options carefully. Give TNT Home Improvements a call today at 970-663-2868. Click here if you would like to learn more about our deck building services.

Why Use Ice Melt and Plastic Shovels on Decking This Winter?

pic of a shovel sitting on a snowy deck

Colorado is well known for getting a healthy blanket of snow each winter. And while it might make for some great slopes and a well-deserved vacation to your favorite ski hill, it’s a huge paint for any homeowner who has a deck. Having to get out there and shovel off the deck with each fresh snowfall is a chore that most would rather skip.

Why Shovel Your Deck?

So, why not just skip the deck shoveling? It’s not like you’re going to be using your deck this winter, right? Well, while that might sound like the best idea you’ve had all week, it’s actually a bad one. As much as you might hate it, it’s important to shovel your deck.

Shoveling snow off your deck accomplishes a few important things. First, it alleviates a lot of stress on the decking itself. Snow is heavy! Leaving hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of wet, compact snow on your deck for the better part of the season may cause your decking to sag after just a few years. Considering the money you invest in deck building in Loveland, CO, stopping this from happening is paramount.

Removing snow is also important because it prevents the melt and freeze cycle. If snow melts off under the sun, it might seem like your shoveling chore has been done for you. Unfortunately, that melted snow is almost certain to re-freeze as ice on your deck, making it brittle. Worse yet, if your wood decking has absorbed any of that moisture and it freezes, it’s going to expand and warp.

Why Use Plastic Shovels and Ice Melt?

When you do finally get up the motivation to shovel off your deck, make sure you’re doing it the right way. That means laying down deicer and using a plastic shovel.

Ice melt serves the all-important purpose of getting rid of ice, which, if pried up with a shovel, can cause damage to your decking. This takes care of the problem, while also softening up the snow you have to deal with.

A plastic shovel is the best tool for snow removal, instead of metal shovels or those tipped with a metal edge. Metal will chip, gouge and scrape your deck as you diligently remove snow, leaving you with a battered façade come spring. There’s no reason to cause your decking damage—use a plastic shovel instead.

A Few More Tips

There are also a few more things you can do to make your life a little easier during the winter months:

  • Shovel when the hot sun is out, to loosen up the snow
  • Remove everything from your deck before the first snowfall
  • Plan ahead for snowfall and lay down a safe ice melt beforehand
  • Use two shovels—one big and one small—for navigating your deck
  • Use a brush for deck railings and other fixtures

The last thing you want is to have spent money on deck building in Loveland, CO, only to see your finished deck deteriorate after just a couple of winters due to unmanaged snow. This year, take the steps to keep it free of snow and ice!