I just had Home Depot out to look at putting an 7' x 18' deck up
against part of my above ground pool (in New Hampshire).
They talk about how their decks aren't built in the traditional
fashion, how they are all free standing decks with no load placed on
the ledger board, how their posts are 3 2x6s fastened together in the
factory, not 4x4s, how it they are designed like a bridge where all
loads are distributed through the structure instead of the typical
shearing load placed on the ledger board on my traditional decks, yada
I'm an engineer... and yes, most of their ideas and methods do seem
ultra beefy and very solid. It makes a lot of sense, and it has to,
since they have a lifetime guarantee to support.
My question is... the thing is extremely pricey. We haven't gotten
other quotes, but I guarantee they'll be less than this deck assuming
a traditional build.
I just wanted to see if anyone out there has had one of these decks
put in and what they can tell me about them. Is it worth the extra
cost?... is it all a lot of hype?... are traditional builds really
that much worse?
4 feet with angle braces or something, is just too flexible for anything
more than a couple feet tall.
You're an engineer- run the numbers. What load does this deck need to
support? (People, furniture, snow, sail load and lift from wind, etc.)
Design to 120 per cent or so of that. Someone on here will jump in shortly
with references to beam deflection tables, footings, frost lines/heave, etc.
No competent deck builder loads up the ledger board- it is only supposed to
be a belaying point, so people don't get queasy walking from house to deck
and back, and to dampen the deck vibrations. The inner ear picks up on stuff
like that real quick. (When house shopping, I walked some decks that scared
me, and I grew up in the construction business. These things felt like badly
But having said all that- my gut inclination would be to go with a local
guy, unless the chain had a big price or value advantage. If something goes
wrong, I wanna be able to look the owner in the eye, not some designated
problem handler. The chain probably subs the scut work out to local crews
anyway. By any chance are they offering to finance the thing for you? If so,
I'd run like hell. Half the window and siding companies I had out for
estimates turned out to mainly be in the business of loaning money, with
their half-ass installed product lines merely the hook to get you in the
patio, supported by 4 4x4s. I didn't stay under it any longer than I had
to, and certainly didn't go in the room.
They would probably argue that it was cantilevered out, and the joists were
the real structural element, but why not use 6x6s?
"G. Filicetti" wrote in message
The first question that comes to mind is: Where in the heck would someone
fasten a ledger board on a pool?
Building a free standing deck is nothing new, and is definately _not_ a
Something else, if no weight is going to be placed on the ledger, why the
heck would a company want to install one?
Building with 3, 2"x6's as post, instead of using 6"x6's, sounds like an
utterly foolish idea, and more costly, let alone to mention they compare
this to 4"x4"s.
Why the odd number of "7' x18'"? Lumber comes in 2' increments, seems like
a lot of waste of an eight footer.
Lastly, they mentioned nailing 3, 2"x6's at the "factory". I've never heard
of a "factory" that mills, or sells lumber. Sounds like a garage type
Me thinks you're about to be taken for a ride.
On 28 May 2007 13:14:34 -0700, G. Filicetti wrote in alt.home.repair:
I promise you that with such an arrangement, you'll have carpenter ants
between those 2x6s in a few years. Been there, done that (in northern NJ,
I second the guy who wants to "look the builder in the eye." Not much of a
comfort, but better than "Sorry, that's HD's problem/Sorry, that's the
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I'd go with a reputable contractor. They'll be able to build free
standing if that's what you want. They'll likely attach to the ledger
as well, but it won't be supporting the weight of the deck.
I also don't like the idea of the 3 2x6s fastened together. The
balcony we just ripped down last summer was built with 2x4s fastened
together, and the rot & bugs got at them from the inside & the
outside. I prefer the solid posts that hold the new balcony up
Lastly, the US Remodelers guys are just going to sub the work out to
the lowest bidder, and the main priority will be super-fast
turnovers. They don't need your word of mouth recommendation once the
job is done, they'll get their future jobs from the Home Depot
When you go with a private contractor, the work is his living. He
needs you to tell your friends and family what a great job he did and
what an excellent experience doing business with him was. That's the
bread & butter that keeps his company going. He knows this and will
go to great lengths to keep you happy.
Choosing a contractor to build the deck will end up being a bigger
factor that the method used to build the deck, IMO. When you go with
Home Depot, you don't get to pick your contractor. You don't get to
look the boss in the eye and establish a relationship. You don't get
to call his home or cell phone when you have a concern or question.
Instead Depot farms the work out to US Remodelers, and they sub it out
to the lowest bidder.
There are a few ways to put up the deck, and a good builder will make
any of them work. This includes freestanding, don't let the depot
fool you into thinking they own a copyright to that.
Pep boys doesn't wrench my car, and Home Depot doesn't build my
house. Both may be capable of getting it done, but I refuse to pay a
premium for a lesser quality product or service. I've got a good
contractor and a good mechanic and wouldn't think of trading in either
even if the chains were charging less. The fact that the chains
charge more is icing on my cake.
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