Q & A

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How does an outdoor deck effect resale of your home?

A: Most Realtors will tell you that a quality deck gets you “good bang for your buck.” Decks are highly rated for return of investment. A deck adds extra living space to your home at a relatively low price compared to building an alternative enclosed area on your home. .

Do I need a permit to build a deck?

A: My advice to anyone considering building a deck is to check with the local building department to find out prior. If you are having a new deck built, then most likely it will be required. We do handle this process for our clients for an additional cost.

Can we use our existing framing and install new decking and rails?

A: Yes, we can remove the old decking and install new decking. We do not recommend this if your deck structure is over 8 years old. We do not warranty the existing framing and there may be noticeable flaws with your existing structure that may be more noticeable with the new decking. We recommend a 40 point deck inspection prior if going with this option and can offer this as an additional service as well.  All we can do is make recommendations but it is your final decision. The framing of a deck is the most important part, so why install high end decking on framing that will not last as long as you’re new decking and rails when overall the framing is not that much more of an expense.

Should I run my decking flush with the threshold of my house door or run the decking a few inches lower so I step down onto my deck?

A: It is much better to have at least a 4″ to a 6″ step down from your house to the deck.  The reasons are:  1) People expect to step down when leaving a house.  A flush deck may make folks stumble. 2) A small elevation difference at the house will tend to keep leaves, snow and debris from blowing into your house when you open the door. Sometimes it depends on the layout of your home. During a site visit we can discuss this. If you do not have a preference than All Decked Out will determine what that best possible solution may be for your home.

Can I put a hot tub on my deck after you build it?

A: We do not recommend this unless you have us build required support under the deck to support the weight of a hot tub.  If the deck is not designed to carry that load it could be a dangerous idea.

Should I space my deck boards to let the rain water through? And if so, how far apart?  

A: Spacing of wood deck boards was started when carpenters only had kiln dried wood or they built with a slight slope. The boards would not shrink much at all, but they would rot if water was allowed to stand on them. Today the opposite is true.  The boards are pressure treated and will not rot should water stand on them and because they come usually quite wet from the supplier, they shrink pretty quickly after install. We build are decks level. Most of the decking manufactures say to put a 1/8” gap.  When the decking dries out then you could have a gap of ¼” between boards or larger. I personally recommend butting them together as tightly as possible.  They will normally dry and shrink producing between 1/8″ gaps depending upon a variety of conditions.  Too often homeowners (and even some deck builders) will “gap” pressure treated decking.  This can result in unsightly spaces which also act as “high heel catchers” which can be dangerous. This is your decision and either way we can do. We can use a moisture meter prior to install if requested and let you know the results for determining if to space the deck boards or not.

Do you do pier style footers or buried footers? Will I see ugly concrete sticking above the ground?

A; Either way is a code approved method. I would never recommend installing 4×4 main support posts into the ground but if using a 6×6 posts this is our preferred method. A 6×6 posts with a buried footer will last longer than your deck framing.  I don’t personally like the look of a pier style but in some cases is needed.

Is there a perfect decking product out there?

A: No. There are pros and cons to every product. We can go over the pros and cons but highly recommend weighing all of your options. Decking is like technology. Typically the new lines of decking tend to be the better preforming.  PVC decking tends to be the best for keeping cool to the feet especially near pool areas but does tend to contract and expand quite a bit more. The capped composite’s tend to be hotter to the feet, but gives a more natural wood look. We do recommend discussing the details if going with the capped composite, and finding a solution to cover the exposed ends. Boarders are highly recommended with the capped composite decking.

Do you use nails or screws to secure the decking?

A: We use only screws to secure decking. This helps prevent the hazards of nails popping up after a few years. Nails are used for framing but not for decking or railing systems.

Should the 2×2 balusters on my handrail run all the way to the deck joist?

A:  No. We do not recommend installing 2×2’s directly to the rim joist. We install 4×4 posts in the deck framing with proper blocking and add a top and bottom 2×4 frail. We allow for a 3 ½” sweep space for easy cleaning of your deck. We also install a 5/4 x 6″ top plate (drink rail). Post caps may look good but for a very secure railing system we recommend a top plate (drink rail).

Can I make upgrades or changes once the project starts?

A:  Absolutely. Typically to keep costs down we recommend going over all of the details with the project manager or sales associate prior to the start of the project. Many of our clients do want to make minor changes and that’s totally fine but may result in additional charges in the form of the change order.  We also understand that some clients may want something done a particular way that varies from our standard practice ; in this case we would expect clear and concise communication on the details from the client up front and we may have to charge them for the changes.

Can I pay cash to get a discount?

A:  We do not offer cash discounts. We have to pay taxes and payroll to our employees and therefore do not offer such discounts. We do however accept cash, checks and all major credit cards. We do charge a 3% processing fee if you are paying with a credit card. Also, we offer active duty military discounts, flexible scheduling and off season discounts. We also offer special promotions on our Facebook page often as well.  If you really want to get the best deal it’s all about supply and demand. Off season is where we can offer some of the best discounts and rates.

Where do you purchase your materials?

A: We have a good relationship with McCabe lumber and use them for majority of our deck projects. They have a great showroom and we highly recommend visiting there before you make final material decisions on your deck.

How long does it take to get a quote back from you once you take a look at our project?

A:  We like to work on your quotes right away, but certain times of the year can cause us to take longer to get a proposal back to you.  We like to have quotes back to you via email within 3-6 days at the most. Larger projects may take longer to get numbers back from our supplier.

Who is the woman I spoke to that answered the phone?

A:  That is my amazing wife Jessica. She is the business manager and also known to the crew as “Joe’s Boss.” We are a family owned and operated business and have two young boys ages 3 and 6. So if you are on the phone when she is at our home office,we apologize in advance for any strange noises you may hear in the background!

Do I have to pay a deposit? 

A:  Yes. Deposits are required before we start any project. We once had a client who said they did not trust contractors and didn’t feel comfortable paying a deposit.  We feel that if there is no trust at the start of the project then the client may struggle to  feel comfortable throughout the process so in those cases we typically choose not to work for the client.  We do understand the need to be careful and to do your homework on the company you are wanting to hire. The best thing to do is to get referrals or do online review searches. As advice, never give a deposit in cash or pay for the entire project upfront and always ask for a receipt of all payments.

Q:  Can I just pay for you to design my deck so that I can build it myself?

A:  Absolutely. I am not a architect or an engineer but I am a deck expert. I have many design idea’s and some of my favorite designs, I have worked with my clients and bounced ideas back and forth until we came up with the perfect design for their family. We work with the building departments on a daily basis and are very qualified to generate plans for permits.  Be sure to check out the current deck codes prior to starting your project.