Why We Consider Building Codes
To Be Just A Good Start
Most contractors consider building codes to be the endpoint of their efforts. After all, those codes govern everything from driveways to shopping malls to the largest skyscrapers in the nation. What they forget is that building codes are about minimums. The minimum safety standard, minimum longevity, and the minimum acceptable results.
Well, we didn’t get to where we are by shooting for the bottom.
The Trouble With Stopping At Code
There are two major areas where we go beyond the building codes with every deck we build. First, there are the joists for the understructure of each deck. The code requires joists every 16 inches on center, which is adequate, but adequate is not and has never been our goal.
We place our joists every 12 inches on center. This gives our customers a deck that is 50% stronger than code and will outlast even our industry-best 10-year labor warranty without blinking which is, of course, the point. We consider our warranties a promise, not a dare.
Building codes also allow the use of untreated wood for any deck that sits higher than 30-inches off the ground. Untreated wood is, of course, vulnerable to water infiltration, large movement from climate pressures, and insect activity. Great for controlled conditions but not so great when exposed to the elements.
Well, we have this crazy theory that no matter how high you build your deck, it’s still outside where the weather is, so we never use any indoor materials on our decks. Ever.
Even then, we only use kiln-dried pressure-treated wood. When pressure-treated wood is kiln-dried, all the movement that comes from the drying process happens in the kiln. Standard pressure treated wood is still wet deep inside its fibers when it reaches the job site and will spend up to a year drying out. This causes a lot of movement after the wood has been used to build your deck, which can weaken the structure in just its first year.
It may cost us up to 70% more to use kiln-dried treated wood rather than other treated woods, but it gives our customers a deck that will last twice as long. We consider that a fair trade. After all, what is the point of building something that you know won’t last more than a few years?
Our Decks Last Longer And Just Plain Feel More Stable
While we are justifiably proud that our decks last for decades, there is more to a deck than simply staying in place. Our decks are also more stable, thanks to the extra bracing we put in and the way we lay the deck boards. While it is easier to lay them in line with your home and straight across the framing, we’ve found a better way.
We lay our deck boards at a 45° angle to the joists and your home. Instead of side-to-side, our boards run corner-to-corner. This helps to reduce racking (the movement of individual boards as weight moves across them) and makes for a more stable deck overall. It also has the added benefit of looking amazing!
If you’ve ever been on a standard straight board deck at a large gathering, you may have noticed that the entire deck would flex and sway as people moved about on its surface. With our decks, this effect is reduced to the point that it can’t be noticed even when under a heavy load. You will never feel a swaying motion or planks springing up and down on one of our decks.
Why Do We Care So Much About Decades From Now?
While we have done very well over the years, it’s possible we could be a more profitable business if we were willing to shave some corners here and there, or simply build our decks to code and stop there. Well, if you’ve ever spoken to any of our employees, you know that profit is not our top priority.
Sure, we like to see the company grow, but never at the expense of our values. We’ve never built anything that didn’t make us proud, and we never will. If that cuts into our profits, so be it.
We feel that we are a part of every community in which we work, and we consider that giving our very best each time, every time, and on every project is part of the social contract that allows us to do what we love for a living.
What All This Means For You
The result of all this is a steady string of spectacular decks serving our customers and their families going all the way back to 1996. It means that our next deck, and the one after that, will be at least as well built as the one before. It means that if you decide to work with us in designing your new custom deck, you can be confident that it will outlast any other deck built by any other company.
It also means that you know that we will give you the best materials, the best designs, and our best effort, not because it’s our gimmick, but because it shapes the very core of who we are. As a business, as builders, and as members of this community.