Building a deck

SCyclone

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Mar 11, 2014
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Why? I've always had wood decks but looking into composite, so curious to hear thoughts.
It's junk. There's a reason it's so cheap.....they actually guarantee that it will fade! Of course the degree to which it fades may be more than what they say.....

I've read lots of horror stories and talked with people who have bought it. They wouldn't do it again. If you are leaning toward a composite - and with the price of lumber what it is right now, why wouldn't you? - make sure that it is a capped product (capped with PVC). If you want to know more PM me, I'd be glad to share what I know.
 
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tbone

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Mar 9, 2009
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I am also going to start researching some new deck options. What are the pros/cons of cedar vs composite? I've always heard composite is much more expensive, but more durable. But with lumber prices now, is cedar not much cheaper than composite?

I'm seeing some people say you still have maintenance for composite. What would that be? Is composite resistant to scratches from kids and dogs? Is there an actual difference in brands of composite?
You used to be able to say if treated decking price is “x”, then cedar is twice that and composite is twice the price of cedar. All time record high lumber prices have changed that. For one, there are some lower price point composite decking options that have fluted back sides. Those can retail probably closer to 1.5 times treated or maybe not even that much more. But, not all of them are equal. Trex came out with it first and tried to eliminate a lot of an ingredient (can’t remember what but it is the most expensive part of composites) and it failed miserably. I believe they have changed their formula, and started charging more but not sure what types of issues they do or don’t have with it now. Just google “ trex lawsuits”. Reading material for years. Many comp deck manufacturers have extremely long lists of things that can void their warranty. This can include such crazy things as being adjacent to low e argon glass. Find me a patio door without that. What I’m saying is there are huge differences between composite decking manufacturers. Here is a link to a lesser known, but extremely high quality brand. Disclaimer: I am biased because my company sells this so do your research. I believe you will find I’m not bs’ing you. And heat is most definitely a concern. Over 50% of deck owners regret the heat of it. There is a solution for that as well.

 
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tbone

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Trex would be a step up (small step up in price), TimberTech would be a big step up (and
I will start building a 14x19 deck at the back of my house with a walkout basement in couple weeks, and wanted to see if people have any suggestions/advice from personal experience in similar matter. The stairs will be without a platform and will go along side deck.

I've checked the local code to make sure I am building it so it passes the inspection at the end. It will actually be slightly overbuild anyway. Will use treated 2x10 lumber for ledger board, joists, and beams. Trex composite decking on top. Diamond piers for post foundation.

Original quote was $26K for a pro to build it and half would be labor, so I decided to save myself $13K. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be one of those "you get what you pay for" things.

Also, will have pro's put in a circular concrete patio. Any suggestions on what should the minimum size be in order to feel comfortable with some patio furniture and fire pit?
I am guessing with a 19’wide deck you will have 3 posts/footings. Have you looked into a treated glulam to span the entire 19’ with no intermediate posts? Just a thought. Seems like posts always get in the way of the patio door view. A tip on deck rigidity. Hidden fasteners are a great look, but if the deck is only tied into the house one on side it can be a little shaky. Especially on a walkout. If that is the case do some blocking (after everything else is done) between the joist in an “x” pattern from corner to corner. That should make your deck solid.
 
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Pat

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Oct 20, 2011
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Our house was built in 1989 and has what I am assuming is original composite decking. It looks great, but is slicker than ice when wet, though it’s possible newer stuff doesn’t have that issue. What hasn’t held up great is the treated lumber joists - we’ve had to replace one of two because the lumber was disintegrating. Not that it would have happened sooner if it was cedar or treated lumber, but It makes you reconsider the longevity.
 
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legi

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Oct 31, 2008
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Maple Grove, MN
I am guessing with a 19’wide deck you will have 3 posts/footings. Have you looked into a treated glulam to span the entire 19’ with no intermediate posts? Just a thought. Seems like posts always get in the way of the patio door view. A tip on deck rigidity. Hidden fasteners are a great look, but if the deck is only tied into the house one on side it can be a little shaky. Especially on a walkout. If that is the case do some blocking (after everything else is done) between the joist in an “x” pattern from corner to corner. That should make your deck solid.
I could do 3 posts per code but would need 3-2x12 beams and my joists would need to be 12” on center versus 16”, and even that is taking it to the max. I’ve decided to go with 4 posts which will actually work better with how the patio will be laid out under the deck.

I did look into glulam and to be honest can’t remember the exact reason why I didn’t feel comfortable with that.

I am planning to do the blocking but didn’t think about the “x” pattern. Was just gonna do a straight line. Your suggestion makes sense and will definitely add that to my plans. Thanks.
 

legi

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Oct 31, 2008
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Maple Grove, MN
Our house was built in 1989 and has what I am assuming is original composite decking. It looks great, but is slicker than ice when wet, though it’s possible newer stuff doesn’t have that issue. What hasn’t held up great is the treated lumber joists - we’ve had to replace one of two because the lumber was disintegrating. Not that it would have happened sooner if it was cedar or treated lumber, but It makes you reconsider the longevity.
I am guessing that you are doing pretty good if you can get 30 years out of a deck. I’ll probably be out of my house in about 20-25 years anyway.
 

swiacy

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Apr 9, 2009
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Our deck is cedar at a 45 degree, screened and has a solid wooden roof. Very comfortable on hot scorcher days, No bugs, no snow in winter so allows year round grilling, no direct sun, moisture helps life of cedar. Works for me and would do it again. Since no exit, makes good place for young kids to play outside and still keep an eye on them. No bugs big seller for wife.
 

Pleasanthillclone

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I will start building a 14x19 deck at the back of my house with a walkout basement in couple weeks, and wanted to see if people have any suggestions/advice from personal experience in similar matter. The stairs will be without a platform and will go along side deck.

I've checked the local code to make sure I am building it so it passes the inspection at the end. It will actually be slightly overbuild anyway. Will use treated 2x10 lumber for ledger board, joists, and beams. Trex composite decking on top. Diamond piers for post foundation.

Original quote was $26K for a pro to build it and half would be labor, so I decided to save myself $13K. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be one of those "you get what you pay for" things.

Also, will have pro's put in a circular concrete patio. Any suggestions on what should the minimum size be in order to feel comfortable with some patio furniture and fire pit?
We put https://rain-out.com/ rain out system over our walkout patio. You can sit and watch the rain. Gilcrest has it.
 
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RLD4ISU

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Sep 13, 2018
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If there's even a slight chance you would consider putting a roof over the deck at a later date - put in a foundation that would support it. Then you don't have to go back and re-do it.
 
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tbone

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Mar 9, 2009
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I could do 3 posts per code but would need 3-2x12 beams and my joists would need to be 12” on center versus 16”, and even that is taking it to the max. I’ve decided to go with 4 posts which will actually work better with how the patio will be laid out under the deck.

I did look into glulam and to be honest can’t remember the exact reason why I didn’t feel comfortable with that.

I am planning to do the blocking but didn’t think about the “x” pattern. Was just gonna do a straight line. Your suggestion makes sense and will definitely add that to my plans. Thanks.
I’m not sure why the size of your beam would dictate on center spacing of the joist. I would think on center spacing would be decided by direction of decking, loading on the deck(hot tub?), and span of the joist. You may have looked into a treated glulam and saw it would take a 5-1/4”x14” beam to span that and the height was more than you wanted to go. Or, simply $1000 for a beam was more than you wanted to spend. Having only 2 posts could also affect footing size and design.
 
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jcyclonee

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Apr 12, 2006
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Thanks for your suggestions.

Ledger board on top of siding would be against the code here, so definitely can't do that. Will remove siding, and install flashing.

Oldest homes in my neighborhood are 5 years old and none of them have issues with their decks that are using Diamond Piers, so hopefully that's a good sign.
We live in Champlin. I don't think Diamond Piers are allowed here yet but Maple Grove may be different. Our inspectors were very helpful so don't be afraid to ask questions.
 
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legi

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Oct 31, 2008
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I’m not sure why the size of your beam would dictate on center spacing of the joist. I would think on center spacing would be decided by direction of decking, loading on the deck(hot tub?), and span of the joist. You may have looked into a treated glulam and saw it would take a 5-1/4”x14” beam to span that and the height was more than you wanted to go. Or, simply $1000 for a beam was more than you wanted to spend. Having only 2 posts could also affect footing size and design.
You are right... size of the beam would only impact the post spans, and doesn't really have anything to do with joist o.c. spacing. Joist o.c. spacing only affects the joist span I believe. It was a late night post so wasn't looking at the code tables correctly.
 

BigTurk

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Dec 17, 2013
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Admittedly I didn’t know it was an option until minutes ago, but anyone have experience with aluminum decking?
 

BCClone

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We live in Champlin. I don't think Diamond Piers are allowed here yet but Maple Grove may be different. Our inspectors were very helpful so don't be afraid to ask questions.
Well hello neighbor. Yeah will definitely run some things by them before I start.
Time to add another set of keys for the JC club it sounds like.
 
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