Custom Deck Construction: An Overview

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Custom Deck Construction: A Comprehensive Overview

As a homeowner, there are few things more rewarding than creating the perfect outdoor living space that you’ve always dreamt of.

For most, this idealized version of a backyard will extend their living spaces from the inside of their homes and into their backyards. This will allow for more opportunities to both relax and entertain. One of the best ways to accomplish this home improvement task is through the construction and installation of a high-quality deck.

Exterior view of a wooden house with an elaborate wooden deck

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

No matter what materials are used or how long the building process takes, your deck project should be carefully crafted to match the aesthetic style and structure of your house. In addition, the craftsmanship of the deck should reflect your personal preferences, personality, and needs as a homeowner.

Here, you’ll learn everything there is to know about building a custom deck, from the actual deck building process to the different types of materials that can be used.

Starting the Deck Construction Process

The first step of a new deck construction process involves meeting with either a general contractor or a larger group of individuals from the construction company you’ve decided to work with.

Here at Sleeping Dog Properties, this open-ended preliminary meeting will allow you to explain your particular needs so our deck design experts can get a feel for what you’re wanting. This will allow us to talk about timelines, budgetary requirements, warranties, and any number of general expectations.

A two-story house with a large deck on the second floor

Photo by NICO BHLR on Unsplash

After our early discussions, our deck builders will have a much clearer understanding of the size and scope of your project. We’ll also make sure to confirm what materials, add-ons, and other accessories will be needed, then work with our partners, subcontractors, and you throughout the entire process to ensure there are no surprises.

The Deck Building Process: The Suburbs vs. the City

After the preliminary process of picking and meeting with a reputable construction company composed of experienced general contractors, then the deck building process proper can commence.

In our experience, this process differs depending on whether you live in the suburbs outside of Boston or within the city itself. We’ll start by providing a general outline of what you can expect if you live in the suburbs, then provide a general outline for those living inside the city.

Custom Deck Building in the Suburbs

In the suburbs, the deck usually ends up connecting directly to the house. This means that a hole has to be excavated so foundation posts can be installed. Concrete is then poured so support posts can be placed, and on top of the support posts, we place the deck’s framing materials (or “frames”) which can be made from either wood or metal.

After all of the foundational components are poured and in place, we sometimes add Sonotube® Concrete Forms into the existing concrete. These Sonotube® Concrete Forms are an economical way to create round, column-like tubes in which we can easily pour more concrete into the foundation.

After this, we connect the foundation of the deck to the house with a ledger board and as many bolts as necessary to ensure optimal security over time. Finally, we can begin laying the deck before bringing in all the remaining accessories and add-ons as requested.

Custom Deck Building in the City

When building a custom deck inside the city, the process can be a bit different depending on where the homeowner lives.

For example, if our deck contractors are tasked with building a new deck on top of a building (which is quite common for deck construction projects within the Boston city limits) we don’t actually need to pour any concrete. Instead, adding in a strong steel substructure in place of a wooden or metal one becomes a priority since we don’t want anything blowing off the roof, nor do we want to risk structural wood rot over time.

Once the steel substructure is securely in place, we lay down the rest of the components exactly like we would in the suburbs.

Decking Materials: Learn How to Build the Best Deck for You

Composite Decks

When it comes to composite decking, we often rely on materials manufactured by trusted companies with years of experience, such as TrexPro and TimberTech. But what exactly are composite decks?

As one of the most popular alternatives to wood decks, composite deck boards utilize a core and a cap which makes them resistant to fading, moisture, and countless potential weather-related issues. Because of their durability, they are relatively low-maintenance and capable of retaining their beauty for decades with minimal upkeep. In fact, many composite decks only require a simple soap and water-based clean twice a year.

Strong warranties are also a great benefit associated with composite decks. For example, Trex’s decking solutions are backed by a 25-year Limited Fade and Stain Warranty. With so many advantages, coupled with an inherent aesthetic beauty, it’s no wonder that composite decks have seen such a boost in popularity over the past few years.

Types of Wood Decks

The classic wood deck is a hallmark staple of any luxurious residential home. They’re also generally less expensive than composite decks – however, this depends on the particular type of wood material you choose. Let’s take a quick look at each type.

But first, we should note that, despite their names, hard wood and soft wood decks do not refer to the literal softness or hardness of the wood. They are actually biological terms used to describe the species of wood that the decking materials are built from.

With that out of the way, let’s explore some of the differences between hard wood decks and soft wood decks.

Hard Wood Decks

Usually made from slow-growing deciduous trees, hardwood decking boards can be made from Cherry, Oak, Ash, Ipe, and more (including a wide variety of other broadleaved trees).

Since many of these trees are harder to process than those used for soft wood decks, hard wood decks typically have a more complex structure, making them one of the more expensive options.

However, the costs are usually justified when you consider the fact that, when built with the right workmanship and experience, hard wood decks preserve their appearance for years. In fact, many wood decks can even look better as the years pass!

Soft Wood Decks

Soft wood decks are made from faster-growing coniferous trees such as Pine, Cedar, Fir, and Spruce. To keep away fungal diseases and insects, soft wood timber must be well-treated before being used.

Soft wood decks are easier to work with than their harder counterparts, making them both widely available and more affordable. In terms of longevity, soft wood decks can last for quite a long time if it is pressure treated regularly. However, if these decks aren’t pressure treated on a consistent basis, then their lifespan is significantly reduced.

While they’re generally shorter lasting, soft wood decking materials are a popular option for many reasons. Among them are the lower prices, the fact that they’re made from faster-growing trees (making them more eco-friendly), and the fact that they’re easy to install and maintain.

Are You a Homeowner Looking to Upgrade Your Outdoor Living Space? Contact the Best Deck Contractors in the Area.

Whenever you hire an experienced team of professional deck builders, you can be sure that your new home addition will be built with high-quality yet easy-to-maintain decking materials, while also allowing for year-round use as much as possible. Whether it’s hard wood, soft wood, or any number of exotic materials, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today so we can start discussing your dream deck design.


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