Hello Everyone !

 Well it is the middle of March and the winter weather is still holding on here in Michigan. Despite that, we have already started the Michigan deck building season !

 Today we are going to look back at a Timber Tech XLM deck project from last year.  On this project there was an existing wood deck that was in need of updating. So we removed the old deck and did a slight re-design of the old deck layout.

 He is the before picture, you can see the old deck had two different levels which for a deck this size was a bit of a design flaw, the space was to small for different levels. At about 400 square feet one level is the best option to get the most functional space.

Here is the new deck design that is all on one level with a seam board to give the effect of the dual levels, but where you can use all the deck space without worrying about falling down a step.

Here is a picture of the center seam board which has a two part use, one it can divide the deck into unique spaces or separate deck spaces for different functions on the deck like dining areas verses lounging areas etc.. The second part is it divides the deck boards into sizes that work best for cost & waste. Deck boards come in 12′, 16′ and 20′ pre-cut sizes. So the seam board divided this deck into 16′ and 12′ sections

The other thing to notice is the deck surface is completely fastener free, the Timber Tech XLM decking is a grooved product that uses a Concealoc clip to hold the decking in place. The seam board and the border are screwed down with the Cortex plug system which is a really cool product.
Here in the picture below where we are installing the Cortex screw/plugs on the treads. 
The railings are Timber Tech Black Radiance rail, There is also Trex low voltage lighting riser lights and rail lights in black.
Here are some final pictures of this custom PVC deck project in Rochester Hills MI

                                        Thanks for reading our blog … !    Michigan deck builders


Hello Bloggers !

 Today we just closed out the first month of 2013 and business is already picking up, spring is just around the corner ! The Michigan Deck Building season usually starts up in March so we have a little time to keep updating our blog. Today we are going to review a Rochester Hills composite deck project.

 This is a Timber Tech Evolution Rosewood deck with black Timber Tech Radiance Rail.

 Here is the deck design pictures

This composite deck is 13′ x 36′ with a 2′ bay that matches the house door wall bay. There is a double center seam board that splits the deck in two sections to allow the 16′ & 20′ deck boards to span without butt seams.

 Here you can see the decking has been installed except for the picture frame border. I have mentioned this many times in previous blog posts one of the main keys in building a deck is the picture frame border. Which when it is done right will protect the gap of the fascia/framing materials. Because the fascia board underneath the border board.

See the picture below how the picture frame border hides or protects the fascia that is underneath, kind of a drip edge effect.

 Here Paulie is working on installing the deck railingsTimber Tech Radiance Rail on the bay. The Radiance Rail has been on the market for better then seven years and it is still the nicest synthetic deck railing that is on the market. It is better made, nicer looking, and much stronger then the Trex Transcends rail or any of the other synthetic manufactures railings.

 Here you can see the bay once the railing is completed.

Here is a picture from the underside of the deck focusing on the stair stringers. You can see how we attached our stringers to the deck rim. We drop another rim board underneath the upper rim, bolting them together and strapping the stringers to the lower rim board.
 Here we are still working on the railings and the next steps is to install the fascia’s on the deck and stairs. This set of steps has a mid-point platform that allows us to turn the steps ninety degrees back towards the house and the garage for ease of egress for the homeowner.


Here is finished look of the stairs from the deck.

Here is a close up of our signature triple stack fascia, again let me first point out how the fascia is dropped underneath the picture frame border. This picture shows where the stair fascia butts into the deck fascia, and how we cut little returns on the different tiers of the fascia and glue. You can see the blocks holding the returns in place.

 Here is the outside finished look of the stairs, notice how the stair fascia ends nicely into the triple stack fascia and they are at just about the same depth.

Here a little close up picture of the bay and the triple stack deck fascia.

 Thanks for reading our blog !

Hello again Blogger world !

 We are in the middle of winter here in Michigan. But the Michigan deck building season is fast approaching, and we have been out on several estimates this winter. Today I am going to review some different deck designs we did last year Oakland county MI.

 Here is a design we did for a new construction home builder in Oxford MI deck designs and building.
  On this one we started with simple square design as requested by the builder, but we also did an upgraded design with some landscaping added.

One thing we like doing in deck design is keeping a simple square design and adding center bays or double or triple cut corners. This allows us to make the use of the deck boards sizes and usually we don’t have to add extra deck beams and deck support posts. So if there is a walkout or daylight basement there will not be all kinds of posts in the possible space under the deck.

Here in the upgraded design below you see the same simple square deck with a 3×12 center bay where we can keep the same post & beam structure as the first design.

Here is another deck design in Rochester Hills Michigan. On this design the homeowner wanted a patio space to service their walkout basement, and a deck to service the first floor. We also did some  different column options in the 3D views.

Here is another deck design in Rochester Hills MI
This one we did two different deck design options. Because the homeowner wanted some different ideas on how to plan their outdoor living space.

Here is another design feature we like doing is combining a deck space and a patio. Not only does it give you two unique outdoor spaces it gets you flowing out do the backyard, which is the goal to enjoy the outdoors.

We did two different stair design options for this project.

Thanks for visiting our blog site Michigan deck builders.

Hello again from Michigan … The deck construction season is quickly coming to an end, so we have a little more time to update our blog.

 A topic I have been meaning to write about is Re-covers

 In Michigan we call them “Re-covers”  because this is where you have a good deck frame but the decking/railings need to be replaced because of aesthetics or rot. Usually the frame should be no older then 20 years.

What we usually do on estimates where customers have an existing deck that might be a candidate for a re-cover – is to do a extensive inspection of the support posts, ledger board, spans of the framing members, the condition of the hardware and flashing.

1) Inspect the support posts:

 Check for rot at grade level or just below grade level. This is where we usually see damage. The support post length can be an issue with older decks because there was not much code requirements. In 4×4 support posts you don’t want to be more then 4′-5′ above grade anything thing more then that you should have 6×6 post. Check the post/beam attachment – on many old decks the beams are bolted to the sides of the support posts which is frowned upon now unless your using special hardware for that type of connection. Nowadays the code really leans towards the beams bearing on the support posts by either notched into or sitting directly on top of the posts.

2) Ledger Board:

Make sure the ledger is properly bolted to the house rim with either lag bolts or carriage bolts. Generally you should have 1/2 galvanized bolts every 12″. Watch out for cement anchors bolted to a brick veneer that is not code and should be addressed. Note: – no longer in the code are you allowed to attach a ledger through brick veneer even with the proper bolts. The other thing to check on the ledger is proper flashing, this is usually never done. There is different techniques for different exterior wall materials, brick and stucco being the most difficult to do properly and siding being the easiest.

3) Framing spans:
The joist span is the first thing I look at for proper decking size. Most all 5/4 decking is rated 16″ on center joist framing at 90 degrees or perpendicular to the joists. A lot of decks in our area have 24″ on center joist framing and they used 2x decking or they have 16″ on center joists with 2x decking running on 45 degree angle. With both examples re-covering with 5/4 decking cannot be done unless you add extra framing or you stick with 2x decking. Remember most synthetic decking is 5/4 and rated for 16″ on center joist framing. Another thing to watch out for is the spans of the joists/beams a good reference guide for treated wood is the DCA6.

4) Hardware/joist flashing:

This an obvious one but you should check and your bolts and hangers for corrosion and proper installation. We also flash all the tops of the old deck joist with a peal and stick membrane. This will help give longer life to the old joist and also help with any water damage through the old nail penetrations in the joist.

One other thing I forgot to mention is the condition of the footings, this is usually evident by how level the deck is. In Michigan we have a 42″ frost depth so if your deck is raised up and out of level in areas your footings have heaved from the frost or originally they were not done correctly. Two main points with pier or post hole deck footings is proper depth below the frost line for your area, and make sure you bell shape your footings with bottom being the widest and top being the narrowest this taper angle will not allow the frost to catch a footing and pull it up. Another issues you might see in older decks is sinking footings/posts this is usually due to – to small of footing width the DCA6 is another good place to look for proper footing size for your deck.

Here is a recent Timber Tech XLM re-cover we did in Rochester Hills MI
Here you can see the peal and stick deck flashing membrane that covers the old deck joist, and then we start installing the PVC decking with hidden fasteners.
Once the Timber Tech XLM Harvest Bronze decking is installed we will move on to the railings
The railings are Timber Tech Radiance rail sandridge and mountain cedar colors, with post cap lights
Here you can see the complete fastener free surface with the Cortex plugs that are used on this deck
Here are a few final pictures
Thanks for reading

Here is a link to our GuildQuality customer review site, our goal is to exceed the clients expectations, and have a 100% customer satisfaction !


Hello again .. we have really been behind in updating our blog, I have to apologize !

 I am hoping to go back to our weekly post.

Today we are going to look at a Timber Tech Evolutions cap composite deck we built last year. Here is the framing plan on the left along with a 3D design. We matched the old deck layout except where the old deck had a step down octagon. The homeowner wanted the new deck all on the same level so we did a two tone picture frame border and we wrapped the border around the octagon to add a design focal point to the octagon area on one level. The old deck was cedar and needed to be updated so the client wanted a synthetic deck with much lower maintenance then the cedar deck. We recommended Timber Tech Evolutions for a high grade cap composite that is durable, Evolutions has a 25 year fade and stain warranty which is outstanding.

Here in the picture on the right we just finished up installing the Timber Tech Evolutions Teak decking and the two tone Teak/Walnut border and octagon inlay. The border/inlay really gives the deck some interest and the octagon inlay gives a distinction to this area which was a step down in the old deck. The decking is installed with Timber Tech Concealoc hidden fastening clips, and the borders are screwed down with color matching stainless steel Headcotes.

Once we finish the decking/borders we move onto the railing post which we cut out holes to set the treated 4×4 posts thru and then we attach with 3) 8″ Thrulok bolts. You can see this in the small picture above where two members of the crew are laying out and cutting in posts. Once the 4×4 rail support posts are install we move to installing the triple stack fascia. Here in the picture on the right the 4×4 post and the Radiance rail sleeves have been installed along with the triple stack fascia. The triple stack fascia is our standard fascia detail that we use to hide all the frame work it start just below the beam level and stacks out from there.

This hides all the frame work except the posts. The other main detail is that the border cover over the fascia so no water will enter the frame/fascia gap which is a hugely important detail that most all other builders leave out.

One last detail we do is to trim out the flashing on the deck. The deck flashing is cut into the brick which had to be above the decking level to hit a mortar joint. We covered the flashing with a rip off a XLM Walnut Groove deck board again to hide the Z flashing that was cut into the brick veneer above the decking level to protect the ledger from water intrusion. 

Here we move onto the stairs and railings, the treads and risers are all screwed down with the Headcotes. The railings are Timber Tech Radiance rail in the Traditional Walnut color with Bronze colored Deckorators Aluminum balusters, we also used their decorative centerpieces. With baskets on each side of the centerpiece with a center layout for each rail section.

The last step was installing the Trex low voltage lighting on the rail

All finished up !
 Thanks for reading !


Hello again,

Today we are going to review a Timber Tech Evolutions cap composite deck we built last year. The colors are rosewood evolutions decking with white Timber Tech radiance rail express, and white Koma pvc fascia.

There was an existing cedar deck that was about 25-30 years old that was in bad shape. So we tore down the old deck, and did a re-design of the deck. The existing deck was just one big deck connecting the two door walls access points of the home, one was from the kitchen area and one from the master bedroom. The new design separated the deck into two different deck spaces. One large main deck and one small deck off the master bedroom with no stairs.

I could not find the before pictures but here is one right after the tear down, first the old deck was attached to the house which has wood lap siding. There wasn’t any flashing protecting the the ledger board attachment. You can see why the ledger connection needs to be flashed, the rim joist of the house is completely rotted out from lack of flashing allow water infiltration.
Once we replaced all the rotted wood and installed the proper flashing we went on to the rest of the deck building.
Working on the framing below and then on to the decking/rails

The decking is done in the picture on the right you can see the decking is running on alternate 45 degree patterns across the deck with two different seam board locations. From there we went on to the railings and the privacy fence/rail section. The railings are brand new railings style from Timber Tech call Radiance Rail Express. The Express radiance rail is a more affordable railing options that installs much faster than the Radiance rail. The privacy fence/rail is just lattice top fencing. Lastly on to the stairs, and the triple stack fascia.
Timber Tech Radiance rail express
The small deck

Thank you for reading !  Michigan deck builders