Selecting a Deck Builder – Quality

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,178
    Building expert Shawn Miller discusses the importance of selecting a reputable company to build your deck, including how to ensure the quality of their work.

    Shawn Miller: Hi! I'm Shawn Miller with deckdesigns.

    com and I'm President of the North American Deck and Rail Association.

    Let's talk a little bit about quality. It's inseparable. The quality of the deck contractor you select will determine the quality of your deck, but let's develop that a little further. Your deck builder should be a professional. He should be engaged in the industry. Aware of the latest trends, materials, building practices, and codes, and he should be able to relate those to you in a way that you can easily understand.

    He should be an active member of a trade association like the North American Deck and Rail Association. That would be a pretty good indication that you're working with building professional. Unfortunately, like many of us these days they are going to have a budget. Always keep in perspective that value is not merely determined by the lowest price. You want your estimate to be comparative. So as a consumer do the responsible thing and get a few of them.

    Through that process of interviewing contractors standing with them in your backyard and sitting down at the kitchen table, you'll not only be confident, but excited and pleased to sign on the dotted line.

    Decks are wonderful addition to your home, but there are several areas of safety that should be checked on an annual basis. Let's first look at split or decaying wood. Check your deck in several areas to be sure the wood is still sound. This includes a ledger board which is where the deck attached to the house and can be a source of deck failure. Also, check the support post, the frame under the deck, deck boards, railings, and stairs.

    Pay special attention in the areas that are damp, that are regularly wet, or in contact with the fasteners. While this lumber may look like it's in good shape, poke around with a screwdriver and be sure that it's still sound. Check for small holes. This maybe an indication of insect infestation.

    Let's also check the flashing. Flashing is a metal or plastic guard that keeps water away from sensitive areas such as where the ledger board attaches to the house. Be certain that flashing is sound and firmly in place. Add or replace flashing if you notice areas that are allowing water to collect.

    Check for loose or corroded fasteners. These include nails, screws, or anchors in the ledger board. Tighten any bolts, hammered down any nail that have popped up, but also note your ledger board should not be attached only with nails. Check in handrails on your steps to be sure they are securely in place, check your stairs to be sure that they're fastened and there's no decay.

    Clean away any leaves and debris since these items can be slippery and promote mildew. If mildew is present or the deck coding has worn away, clean your deck and apply a new waterproofing coding. Make sure the barbecues and fire pits or any other source of heat is safely placed away from flammable surfaces or furniture.

    If you don't have adequate lighting there are lot of great new deck lighting products you could consider to illuminate your steps and pathways. Be sure all electrical outlet, appliances, and features are up to code and in good condition and childproof.

    If you have trees overhanging your deck, be certain there is no danger of decaying limbs breaking free and falling onto your deck. A full consumer checklist is available online at nadra.

    org. By following these few simple steps you and your family can enjoy a wonderful and safe time on your deck.