deck boards
Redwood Table

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To the Facebook Page!
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Decks
"Installing a deck may be the most cost-efficient way to add square footage to your house, and of all the outdoor home improvements except painting, it may be the most reliable value. Decks average $6,304 and generally recoup 104% of their value. That may not sound terribly impressive, but other touted outdoor improvements fare much worse."
--SmartMoney.com
   June 2004

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"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

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For the purposes of clarifying any "Deal" or coupon:
A "Deck" or "New Deck Installation" is defined by anything that is over 200 sf. and includes stairs and railing. Anything less may be defined as a Porch, Platform, Stoop or landing. Furthermore, sf. rates are higher for smaller items to cover set up costs; standard volume discounts on sf. rates apply to larger structures on top of any "Deals" or coupons.

 

 

 





Technical Information

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

The things we mentioned on the previous two pages are just a few of the basic fundamentals of deck building. There's much more to building a quality deck than most people realize. Custom Deckworks knows every trick-of-the-trade. We're even the creator of a few of them. There is no aspect of deck building that we haven't mastered.

Here are a few more things to look for when entertaining bids:
  • How does the contractor install lattice? Does it really look good? Lattice is an expensive product and installing it can either be a waste of money or a beautiful investment.

  • How does the contractor install skirting (underpinning)? Is it durable? Did they include quality access under the deck?

  • If you request a gate in the deck handrail, will it last or cause constant problems? Is it sturdy?

  • Will the contractor make sure that all steps and landings in a stair case have the same rise (height) to avoid tripping or falling when traversing them? Math is the foundation of construction. Simply knowing how to read a tape measure is no substitute for mathematical ability.

  • When cutting out the stairs or cutting notches in any board, do they cut WAY past their line? If so, that amounts to being lazy, disrespectful and can seriously weaken any structural boards like stair stringers.

  • If a contractor purposely spaces new treated floor boards, beware! They will dry out and you will be left with huge gaps that can catch a high-heel shoe or even a toe!

  • What does the contractor know about roof construction and house framing? Building a roof or enclosing a deck adds significantly to the cost of the project and must be done right. Ask to go visit actual jobs they’ve done.

  • Is the contractor comfortable building the deck around trees? This involves proper structuring and support, knowledge of trees and frequently a commitment to return in the future (free of charge) to make adjustments as the tree grows.

  • Beware of any deck builder that has so little respect for the deck that YOU will have to live with that he leaves pencil marks, layout lines and arithmetic written all over it.

  • Building treated wood decks with curves or circular sections are easier said than done. There is a right way and many, many very wrong ways. Again, you must go see actual decks they have built in this manner! If they can’t show you any, don’t let them build yours.

  • In Arkansas, if a contractor shows you any pictures of benches that resemble the ones you see in our photo gallery, question them about it. The benches are likely copied from ours and without the contractor having a proper understanding of the design. Our Bench and Table Sets are another example of proven design and specifications that must be strictly adhered to. There has even been a case of a local contractor showing pictures of Custom Deckworks decks and claiming them as his own. Do your homework.
    ----- Also, beware of anyone claiming to have been a part of the Custom Deckworks company in the past. They may very well have been a part of this fine company, but, all of the people that have a true and complete understanding of design & construction the Custom Deckworks way are all still employed here.

  • Be sure the contractor is professional enough to be licensed and insured. Beginning January 1, 2012, ALL contractors, regardless of size or type of business, are REQUIRED to have a real License from the Contractors Licensing Board! From time to time it is necessary to get a permit to build a deck or other outdoor structure. Is the contractor familiar with the process of obtaining a permit? Is he/she comfortable with this?

  • Is the contractor fully versed in the latest release of the local building codes? The local Code Enforcement Office offers free copies of the code, so there’s no real reason for a contractor to be uninformed.

  • If you are thinking about building your deck with something other than treated wood, is the contractor willing to do so? Can he/she explain the pros and cons when using Cedar, Redwood or a Composite material? And there are many composite materials now - some are worth their money, others are NOT. Ask your contractor to give his opinion of each; if he has nothing bad to say about some of them, then that indicates that he doesn't really know. You sure don't want to pay for a deck full of $40 boards that are junk!

  • Again, beware of the jack-of-all-trades! If your project will require drywall, plumbing, vinyl siding, electric or even painting, make sure that you have hired a General Contractor or that you are ready & willing to be the General Contractor yourself. Hiring a Deck company or average Framer to be in charge of any different trade than they specialize in can be risky. If they do not have the proper skills/tools to do the other work, they'll have to hire someone else. They may not have the experience, the insurance, a large enough bond or even the ability to budget properly for this; and, if their hired sub-contractor runs off or does a bad job, will they be able to finish it the right way? Futhermore, you wouldn't want to risk all of this AND pay a middle man extra for each additional trade. Bottom line: in these cases, treat the deck builder as one of YOUR subs and pay each one separately. AND, for EVERY sub you hire, GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING !

The warnings listed above are due to just some of the things we continue to see people end up with after hiring some of the local deck builders that are available. Purchasing an Ad in the yellow pages does not constitute valid experience or certify that someone cares about what you are paying for. THERE IS A REASON THEIR PRICE IS SO LOW! No matter who you hire, due to the lumber prices, a deck will not be cheap; so why not get the most you can for your money and end up with something you can be proud of?

For more information on hiring a Deck Contractor, please visit Decks.com to get an idea of industry standards nationwide.

For further information on pressure treated wood, visit treatedwood.com.

Important News & Updates. Please Read!

 

Members - Click Here!
MUST READ for Angie's List Members!

 

Before you sign a Contract!

Must Read!

 

Spring 2013 :   BEWARE! Scam Alerts....

- Don't ever say you weren't warned!

 

 

Spring 2012 :   Pricing Information....

"The Bitterness of Low Quality Remains
Long After the Sweetness of Low Price
is Forgotten!..."

 

 

Spring 2009 :   Apples to Apples in a Bad Economy....

...It could be a mistake not to read this.

 

 

Update: 2012

Arkansas Code § 17-25-501 thru 17-25-515. Act 1208 of 2011 Summary:

ANYONE performing work at a Residence, when the project is $2,000 or more, labor & material,

IS required to have a license from the Contractors Licensing Board

starting January 1, 2012!

 

In most cases this does not apply to the Homeowners doing work themselves.

But if you hire someone to build your deck that does NOT have a license,

you may be breaking the law and will have very limited recourse in the event of a dispute.

If they don't have a REAL license, DON'T HIRE THEM!

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