How We Build
When we receive your deposit and signed contract for a project, the first step is to apply for a building and/or zoning permit from your township or borough. We take care of the entire process, including checking the requirements that apply to your project, and submitting all the necessary paperwork. The time required process the permit application varies by township. We will also schedule all required inspections during the project.
Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Approvals
If you live in a development, it is likely that you will be required to get approval from your HOA to build a new deck or porch. Typically, the HOA will only work with the homeowner, but we will provide all the documentation you may need, including project drawings, insurance documents, etc.
The holes for the deck footings are dug to meet or exceed your townships requirements. Most townships require a 36” deep hole. We pour approximately 12 inches of concrete into the hole and then set the post, which is a pressure treated 6 x 6, top of the concrete. The rest of the hole is then backfilled with dirt. If your township requires it, or you request it, we can also pour the footers with concrete to ground level, using a sono tube. A plate is then attached to the 6 x 6 and anchored into the concrete. There is an additional charge to do it this way.
The ledger board, which is the board attached to the house, is typically attached using 1/2 x 5 inch lags. Prior to attaching the ledger board, we will cut out the siding, and install vinyl flashing. If the ledger board needs to be attached to concrete, we use concrete wedge anchors. As of 2009, the state of Pennsylvania also requires that the deck be attached to the house using two lateral tension ties. These ties attach to the floor joist of the house and the floor joist of the deck and are tightened from both sides. The requirements for attaching to the house vary from one municipality to another, but we will always meet or exceed the requirements of your township or borough. Our framing joists are spaced at 16 inches on center for straight flooring and 12 inches on center for diagonal flooring and vary in size depending on the height and size of your deck. All joists are attached to ledger board using joist hangers that are zinc coated and hot dipped galvanized to protect against rusting.
The 6 x 6 post are notched out to accommodate a double beam. The beam size varies depending on the height of the deck, span of the floor joists, etc. The beam sets in the notched out part of the post. It is then bolted to the 6 x 6 posts using (2) half inch through bolts per 6 x 6 post. (The reason for the notch out is so the weight of the deck rests completely on the 6 x 6 post and not just on the bolts.) If you have a deck that is high off the ground, you may want to consider the option of wrapping the posts and beam in vinyl so that no wood is visible from the front of your deck. Ask one of our salesmen about this option.
The floor is one of the most noticeable parts of your deck. There are many options for the flooring. Boards can be run straight, diagonal, or in multiple directions. In most cases, we can design the floor layout so there will be no splices in the boards. The boards will also be professionally cut to fit against the house and around objects such as spouting, etc. Many times, our decks are designed with a “picture frame” border around the outer edge of the floor to provide a clean, finished look. For even more character, these border boards can be a different color than the main floor. Our salesmen will be happy to explain those options to you. Floor boards can be fastened using color matching surface screws (you will be able to see the screws), or using hidden fasteners. With the hidden fastener systems, you will not be able to see any screws in the surface of the floor.
The method of railing installation varies depending on which railing system is used. Almost all systems, including the vinyl railings, use 4 x 4 posts. These posts are pressure treated, and are attached on the inside of the deck framing using Ledger Locks. Some townships require that additional brackets be used to secure the railing post to the framing. The vinyl railing systems post sleeve designed to fit perfectly over the 4 x 4 wooden posts and also a post trim, which slides over the post sleeve and down against the floor to give it a great finished look.
One very popular option for decks and porches is lighting. There are many options, and our salesmen will be happy to discuss them with you. There are a few ways that lights can be wired. The most popular option is to use low voltage landscape wiring. This can be installed by our craftsmen. The lights are all wired to a transformer box that plugs into a regular electrical outlet. The transformer box has a timer and an on/off switch to control the lights. Another option is to wire the lights to a switch inside your house. This requires high voltage wiring and the services of a certified electrician. We have electricians that we work with on a regular basis, or you can hire your own. Lighting is an option, and there is an additional charge. Custom packages can be designed to meet your budget and ideas. Please talk to one of our salesmen for more information.
Our steps stringers are cut out of pressure treated 2 x 12’s and custom made on the jobsite to accommodate your deck to ground level. They will be attached to pressure treated posts and concreted into the ground, using the same method as the deck footings. The risers (the back of the step) will be covered with the same material you choose for the fascia of your deck.
The exposed pressure treated boards, which is the outer edge of the framing around your deck and the sides of the steps, is covered with a vinyl fascia. You can choose to either have the fascia put on vertically or horizontal and choose a color to match the floor or contrast the floor. This finishes off your deck so that everything blends in beautifully. This is standard and there is no additional charge.
Lattice is a great way to finish off the bottom of your deck, and also a way to prevent small animals from make their home under your deck. On vinyl or composite decks, we use a low maintenance lattice (not wood) that will blend in with your deck. Most people use a color that matches the railing on the deck, but there are many colors to choose from. A frame is built for the lattice using pressure treated 2 x 4’s. We can also add a hinged access door, so that you can use the area under your deck for storage, etc. Lattice is an option and not included in the base price of the base price for your deck.
Vertical Fascia to Ground (Optional)
Another option for finishing off the bottom of your deck is to use vertical boards. The same material that is used on the floor of your deck will be used to close up the side of deck. This is a great way to prevent any kind of animals from using the area under your deck to build their homes, and also a good way to create some extra storage space. This is also an option and not included in the base price of your deck.
If you would like to cover up the dirt or grass under your deck, stone is a great option. First, we put down weed barrier to prevent grass and weeds from growing under your deck, then cover it with 2 – 3 inches of stone. Our typical stone is a ¾” grey, clean stone, but there are many options available. There is an additional charge to install the weed barrier and stone.