Decked Out With Azek Decking On Cape Cod!

New Deck and Hot Tub Platform

We've recently wrapped up a deck make-over for a new client in Falmouth that was referred to us by another client. While not our typical project, we've actually built many decks over the years, so it was a good fit for us.

In addition to rebuilding the deck, we had to build a concrete base for a hot tub and relocate/rebuild the stairs.

A Horror Show In Progress

When I first saw the deck and railings, I could not believe my eyes, for the deck had been painted white and grey when the house was built in 2006 and it looked like it had a bad case of the flakes, Paint was peeling and shedding off the decking, off the railings and even off the painted underside.  The ground around the deck was covered in a carpet of paint flakes and chips.

Throwing Away Thousands of Dollars Worth of  Labor and Materials

Regrettably we had to tear apart the upscale railings and throw them away along with the decking because it was not practical to try and save them. I winced thinking about how much work it had taken to build the railings and then 6 years later...poof! tear it all off and throw it way!

All of the existing decking and railings were constructed with pressure treated lumber and then painted over with a solid latex paint. Even the nail holes in the decking were filled and painted. Unfortunately, the decking and railings were never allowed to dry out. All the moisture and chemicals that were still in the wood was trapped by the skin of the latex paint. In fact, when we took the railings apart, we found that the wrapped posts, were saturated with water and thousands of ants had taken up residence because they were attracted by the trapped moisture.

In addition, we found that the framing had not been sufficiently secured and there was potential for major damage in the event of extreme winds such as a hurricane.

Before reconstructing the deck, we poured a 12" reinforced slab on compacted stone to hold the hot tub. Over this slab, we installed pressure treated sleepers and then topped the sleepers with composite decking.

The Reconstruction

Once we added additional framing and hardware to completely secure the deck, we then proceeded to install new composite Azek decking. I LOVE AZEK!  This stuff is easy to work with, cuts and drills like wood and installs smoothly use the the color matched stainless screws.  Azek is consistent in width and thickness and has none of the downside of wood. It even comes in 20' lengths, thus reducing the number of butt joints.  The downside to Azek is that it is pricy and flops around like semi cooked spaghetti during installation.   However it's worth the cost, as its a once-in-your-life-time premium product.

The railings were reconstructed using a railing system called Radiance Rail. This system has composite sleeves that slip down over a 4x4 post and then top & bottom rail with square ballasters is assembled and installed. To finish the railing off, a top rail is dropped into place and the posts are capped with a cover.

We relocated and reconstructed the stairs so they would land on the deck we had built previously for the hot tub. These stairs are more comfortable then the old ones, as they were built with shorter more consistent riser heights. Going up and down these stairs feels natural and comfortable.

Delighted Clients

Our clients were delighted with the end results. They now have a low maintenance deck that was completed just in time for a week long large gathering of family members!

Below are some iPhone pictures of the completed deck.






Winter Is Coming... How To Get More Bang for Your Remodeling Buck.

IMG_3240Right now as I write this post, it's about 75 degrees outside and the middle of June. Yet, I am already thinking ahead to winter. Yes, we are very busy with projects ongoing from Falmouth to Brewster. And as it is, we are scheduled out till the middle of September. And still, I'm thinking about winter. You see, our slowest period can be from about mid November until about mid March which at 4-5 months which is a significant chunk of time to be slow. This year, we've decided to avoid this slow time by booking work for this time period by no later then October 1st.

In order to make this happen, we want to do something of value and that provides an incentive for folks to schedule work during our slow times. Now our margins are not as such that we can say (in a deep, convincing voice) "Save thousands and thousands on your remodeling project if you buy today..." (if someone tells you that you can save "Big Money" on a remodeling project, run the other way, as they usually raise their prices in order to turn around and give you what you think is a discount.

And that last line brings to mind the thought, How do you really know if your saving money when someone offers you a discount on services such as remodeling? Quotes are usually all over the place for customized services such as remodeling.

So the question is: How can we add value to our services and provide an incentive for potential clients to schedule work during our slow time?

Introducing for the first time anywhere, Our new program called Home Assessment Prioritization Plan or HAPP for short.

Rotted Window Trim

HAPP is a comprehensive and professional review of your home and it's existing conditions. This assessment, which takes about 4-6 hours to complete, will look at every aspect of your home from the foundation to the roof and will include such whole house systems such as plumbing, heating and electrical.

Once the assessment is complete, we provide in writing, a detailed report about the home and it's condition, suggested fixes, prioritization and a plan for action. The HAPP can be used as a guide help keep a home in top shape while retaining it's value over time.


Get a Free HAPP and We'll Clean Your Gutters Too!

Purchase and schedule a remodeling project sometime between November 1st, 2011 and March 30th, 2012 and you will qualify for a free HAPP to be completed while your remodeling project is underway. (Project minimum is $9,998.00) And to truly sweeten the deal, we will also clean out your gutters during the month of April 2012 at no additional charge. (Services are valued from $1100.00)

Fresh, Experienced Eyes

You may wonder, why would I be interested and how would I benefit from having a HAPP done on my home?

Simply put: Fresh, experienced eyes. When we live in once place for long time, we tend to become blind to the imperfections or things out of kilter. Fresh and experienced eyes can spot the water damage that can lead to expensive repairs or the see the heating system that has corrosion in the wrong places, or water seeping through a foundation. Knowing what is going on with your home and taking corrective actions can possibly save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Contact us today to schedule your remodeling project for the upcoming winter, have a HAPP completed on your home and a gutter cleaning done next April!

Remodeling Repeat...with pictures. Week 3

This week we were focused on beefing up the floor framing with lots of LVL's. We had to replace the undersized headers over the 3 sliders across the back of the house. We also started on some actual framing and moved the existing gable out about six feet. IMG_2786

Lower addition almost ready for the "move" What is really interesting here, is that we added a 2 story addition without having to build a full foundation. This structure is actually supported by concrete piers that are dug down below 4 feet.


The existing gable end of the house was moved out about 6 feet and allowed us to retain some of the original structure and save the client some money.


This is a temporary roof covering that will serve as protection while we complete the floor framing.


What is this? A new bay window? A balcony? Watch this space to find out more!

Remodeling Repeat...with pictures.

This week finds us on Scraggy Neck getting going on an extensive remodel. For those who don't know, Scraggy Neck is located in the village of Cataumet and is part of the town of Bourne. Scraggy as it's known locally, is a horseshoe crab shaped island connected by a causeway. One that's by covered by water from time to time! One of the neat things about this extensive remodel, is that I am remodeling a remodel that I did on the same house for the same owners 12 years ago. I'll get to see how everything has held up on this waterfront property and then take apart some of what I built previously.

This project will keep 5-6 carpenters busy for several months as we construct a new roof system, add an observatory tower, raise new dormers and add additional square footage and a porch. We also have to build a new stair case that connects 3 floors.

It's my plan to share the progress of this project via this blog.


Above is a picture of the living room just prior to the demolition. The plywood box in the background, encapsulates a slate topped pool table. We covered the pool table with plastic and we're just about to put a cap on the top to keep it protected for the duration of the project.


This is the debris chute built to channel the debris down for loading into the dumpster.


Soon several tons (Yes, tons!) of debris will fly down this chute!