New Deck and Hot Tub Platform
We've recently wrapped up a deck make-over for a new client in Falmouth that was referred to us by another client. While not our typical project, we've actually built many decks over the years, so it was a good fit for us.
In addition to rebuilding the deck, we had to build a concrete base for a hot tub and relocate/rebuild the stairs.
A Horror Show In Progress
When I first saw the deck and railings, I could not believe my eyes, for the deck had been painted white and grey when the house was built in 2006 and it looked like it had a bad case of the flakes, Paint was peeling and shedding off the decking, off the railings and even off the painted underside. The ground around the deck was covered in a carpet of paint flakes and chips.
Throwing Away Thousands of Dollars Worth of Labor and Materials
Regrettably we had to tear apart the upscale railings and throw them away along with the decking because it was not practical to try and save them. I winced thinking about how much work it had taken to build the railings and then 6 years later...poof! tear it all off and throw it way!
All of the existing decking and railings were constructed with pressure treated lumber and then painted over with a solid latex paint. Even the nail holes in the decking were filled and painted. Unfortunately, the decking and railings were never allowed to dry out. All the moisture and chemicals that were still in the wood was trapped by the skin of the latex paint. In fact, when we took the railings apart, we found that the wrapped posts, were saturated with water and thousands of ants had taken up residence because they were attracted by the trapped moisture.
In addition, we found that the framing had not been sufficiently secured and there was potential for major damage in the event of extreme winds such as a hurricane.
Before reconstructing the deck, we poured a 12" reinforced slab on compacted stone to hold the hot tub. Over this slab, we installed pressure treated sleepers and then topped the sleepers with composite decking.
Once we added additional framing and hardware to completely secure the deck, we then proceeded to install new composite Azek decking. I LOVE AZEK! This stuff is easy to work with, cuts and drills like wood and installs smoothly use the the color matched stainless screws. Azek is consistent in width and thickness and has none of the downside of wood. It even comes in 20' lengths, thus reducing the number of butt joints. The downside to Azek is that it is pricy and flops around like semi cooked spaghetti during installation. However it's worth the cost, as its a once-in-your-life-time premium product.
The railings were reconstructed using a railing system called Radiance Rail. This system has composite sleeves that slip down over a 4x4 post and then top & bottom rail with square ballasters is assembled and installed. To finish the railing off, a top rail is dropped into place and the posts are capped with a cover.
We relocated and reconstructed the stairs so they would land on the deck we had built previously for the hot tub. These stairs are more comfortable then the old ones, as they were built with shorter more consistent riser heights. Going up and down these stairs feels natural and comfortable.
Our clients were delighted with the end results. They now have a low maintenance deck that was completed just in time for a week long large gathering of family members!
Below are some iPhone pictures of the completed deck.