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Old 02-04-2013, 10:02 AM   #1
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Deck building


I'm officially in the market for a new back deck. I'm thinking it will be 15' out from house and 30' across the house. Now can you guys tell me if I'm crazy to think I can have this done for $2-3k for materials and labor? I would like a set of stairs on both sides also.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #2
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How would we possibly know? Draw up some plans and get estimates from local contractors.

That said, I think the answer is not a chance. Around here, $2K would barely pay for just the materials.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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On a side note. How hard is a deck to build? I would pay someone to attach the ledger board to the house just to be sure its font right but other than that how hard would it be? I'd like to use composite material for the floor and railings.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2lgyk
How would we possibly know? Draw up some plans and get estimates from local contractors.

That said, I think the answer is not a chance. Around here, $2K would barely pay for just the materials.
How about this question... How close to a tree can I bring the deck out to? The current deck is about 7' away from a tree in the back yard. I want the new one to extend out from the house more since the current one is only about 6-7' out from house.

Deck building-image-3505984351.jpg

That is from the door. The tree on the right is a little closer.

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:54 AM   #5
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Hmmm....450sf. Good quality composite. My "guess" is 6k for
materials.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by nikeman View Post
I'm officially in the market for a new back deck. I'm thinking it will be 15' out from house and 30' across the house. Now can you guys tell me if I'm crazy to think I can have this done for $2-3k for materials and labor? I would like a set of stairs on both sides also.
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Depends what part of VA you're in, but you're probably looking at 2-3k for the price of MATERIALS. That's with pressure treated everything. Composites and the price goes up VERY quickly. So to answer your question, you don't have a chance in hell of having it all done for basically the price of materials..

You said you ALSO want 2 staircases? Stairs take more time/work, and many contractors want 1-2k for each set of stairs coming down from the 2nd story, that's in my limited experience and based on my area (suburb of DC, not cheap).

For your price the only option is DIY. Asking how "hard" a deck to build is entirely relative. It's a 2+ person job, so you need an extra hand. Also, how familiar/proficient are you with home improvement things? Some people I know call hanging blinds and curtains "home improvement" so it all depends on your skill. I certainly could have built my deck myself, but simply don't have the time.

Edit: Another piece of advice.. If you're going composite do your research. Trex = junk imo. I have yet to see one after many years that doesn't develop spots due to mold growth from the inside. The best "composites" aren't really composite but just pvc/plastic. Those are the only true "no maintenance" decks I've seen, but the materials are VERY expensive.

Edit2: Here's my local county's code for deck building (yours is likely very similar). http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/p...ks/details.pdf Just read through that doc it basically explains how to do everything for a single level deck w/ or w/o stairs.

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Old 02-04-2013, 02:03 PM   #7
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Thanks. I think I could do it myself but I would worry about attaching it to the house the right way. If I use all wood how hard is it to maintain? My current deck is all wood and a lot of the boards are warping and twisting so bad that the nails get pulled out. I'm not sure it's even pressure treated wood because of that. I'm sure it never got maintained and I have never messed with it in the 2 years I have lived in the house because I have always planned on replacing it. If I use stain do I have to stain everything or just the floor and guard rails?
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:14 PM   #8
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Thanks. I think I could do it myself but I would worry about attaching it to the house the right way. If I use all wood how hard is it to maintain? My current deck is all wood and a lot of the boards are warping and twisting so bad that the nails get pulled out. I'm not sure it's even pressure treated wood because of that. I'm sure it never got maintained and I have never messed with it in the 2 years I have lived in the house because I have always planned on replacing it. If I use stain do I have to stain everything or just the floor and guard rails?
Honestly, attaching the ledger board is a piece of cake. Basically you just need to make sure you have a rim joist running along the outside of your house (or perhaps use anchors if you have brick), and you basically just use lag bolts to attach the ledger board to the side of the house. That's it. If you have siding you have to pull back the siding and add some flashing/etc, but it's really not that big a deal. I overstressed that same thing, the ledger board attachment because I was worried about water intrusion into the house, but I had to tell the contractor how to do it as he wasn't going to do it properly. Moral of the story is, don't depend on anyone else.

The key with a wood deck is maintenance. No question. Also, when installing the deck boards, use screws NOT nails. You have to pay contractors extra for screws because they're more expensive and take longer, but they keep boards in place and keep them from popping/bowing as much. You current deck might be salvageable. It'd be best to take good pictures and post them to get others' opinions on whether it's salvageable. Keep in mind, you also can decide to simply reface the deck (just replace the deck boards not the whole structure) if the structure is sound.

Regarding staining, there are many options, and I'll be staining my deck come spring time for the first time so I'm not the best person to ask. My understanding though is every 2 yrs though you need to plan on restaining it. There are some stains that seem even more durable (google semi-solid stains, they almost look like paint), but when it comes time to "restain" it might take more of an effort to strip the old stain. Do some searches on this forum for decks and you can read up a lot about it. Good luck!
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:23 PM   #9
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I would suggest taking a look at the American Wood Council's "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide." This is based upon the 2009 International Residential Code. Your actual code may vary.

Check with your local building department. Many building departments in Virginia has a deck handout that will explain the construction standards as well as necessary drawings for the permitting of residential decks.

If you have brick siding you cannot (according to code) have your ledger board anchored into the brick. Again, what you can do and do per code are two different things. You can have an anchored connection through brick if designed by a professional engineer. At least in the parts of the country I have worked in.

I think you are looking at more expense that you realize based upon your $2000 - $3000 pricing. I'm not in Virginia so I do not know material or labor costs, but where I am you wouldn't get much if you have a professional build you a deck for that amount of cost.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:01 PM   #10
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Deck building


The resource suggested by GBrakins is an excellent one. I used it when building my house. I would never consider composite materials. My brother-in-law in KS built his deck with them and has regretted it ever since. Whatever he used expands and contracts so much that the screws work out and everything is loose. And it's only two years old.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:15 PM   #11
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If this is a single story deck I would not even concider attaching it to the house. Just make it free standing.

Last edited by joecaption; 02-04-2013 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:34 PM   #12
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It's a single story but my yard is so slopped that one door is about 4' off the ground and the other is about 6.5' high. If I build it free standing can I build it right up against the house touching it? Thanks for all the tips. Here's a materials quote I just got. I didn't get all the measurements I needed so this was he could get for me with 2 stair cases. He said it should be about right even without knowing all the heights.

Deck building-image-4110689685.jpg
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption
If this is a single story deck I would not even concider attaching it to the house. Just make it free standing.
You've seen my current deck joe. The wood is all twisted and bent around the hand rails and even the steps. It's pretty high off the ground also.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:49 PM   #14
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that's why I would not use 4x4 posts as they tend to twist
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:50 PM   #15
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This is a simple program I used to use that works pretty good.
It will come up with 3 differant views, a material list, let you design about 4 differant style hand railings, three differant styles of attaching the beams, change materials used, mine even came up with Home Depot UPC codes and prices.
http://bighammer.com/

You just use longer 6 X 6's on the low side.
You have to find out how far your footing comes out away from the hole to set your post.
The deck is built cantilevered out so the ledger is about 2" away from the siding. The decking boards sit about 1/2 away from the siding for drainage.
It would sort of look like this.
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...lectedIndex=41

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