There are several key steps in the deck designing and building process, and some variability based on things like the selection of materials and space, layout. There are also many factors to consider when deciding on what type of service company or companies to use. In general, though, the specialties of deck contractors, deck construction, deck building, and deck designing services companies tend to fall into the broad categories detailed below.
DECK DESIGN SERVICES
Deck design services are primarily focused on reviewing a space, offering potential designs or renderings for the best decks to fit that space, and providing those designs to a deck contractor or deck construction services or deck building services company. Sometimes, they are a division of a larger company and affiliated with them, whereas sometimes they have many expert deck contractors, deck construction services, or deck building services that have worked with that kind of project in the past.
Deck design services are akin to architects, in that they work with a consumer to determine what the consumer wants from their deck, what kind of footprint or dimensions it might have, and can also suggest different materials selections and considerations. Generally, a company that is exclusively a deck design service does not build the decks themselves.
DECK CONSTRUCTION, DECK BUILDING SERVICES
Deck construction services and deck building services are the complements to deck design services. While some are associated with or offer in-house design services, they typically are primarily concerned with the work of building a deck for a client. They obtain the materials and schedule deliveries, provide the equipment and workers to build, seal/finish the deck physically. They also review the work with a consumer when the process is complete, and frequently offer warranties or guarantees on their work for a certain number of years. Finally, deck construction services and deck building services companies also often offer maintenance, repair, resealing, or refurbishment services for consumers who already have a deck and want to bring it back to like-new condition.
Deck contractors can generally consider a combination of both deck design services and their deck construction/deck building services counterparts. Typically, a deck contractor is not affiliated with a large firm and may or may not be able to provide a formal design brief or renderings of proposed decks. They do, however, typically have extensive experience in building decks for consumers. They often take a bit longer than a full-fledged deck construction services or deck building services company and usually don’t have the large personnel numbers, but the trade-off is they generally offer a much more personalized, consumer-focused service and can cost considerably less.
Regardless of which type of deck contractors, deck construction services, deck building services, or deck design services one chooses for a job, consumers must ultimately make some of the key decisions in the process. Considerations for deck building include location, dimensions, materials selection, seal/finish, and additional features.
DECK BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION – LOCATION
The desired location for a deck is an important consideration that often discussed in the early stages of planning a deck. Deck design services can help homeowners decide the overall best place to put a deck. Naturally, most people want a deck flush with their home, usually adjacent to or including an existing doorway. Others prefer decks that are free-standing away from home and are more focused on enclosing or allowing access to a swimming pool or other features. And there are some other considerations that deck design services or even deck contractors might want to review with a homeowner at the design stage. Such as blocking of other home features (windows, doors), utility access (blocking utility meters, water taps, and similar), or other aspects of design.
DECK BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION – DIMENSIONS
Another often-overlooked consideration is the final dimensions of the deck. While deck construction services and deck building services are experts at the building process, the ultimate decision on the height of the deck, how many levels or tiers it may have, railings, and other features belong to the consumer. Height indeed dictated by the height of what it is butting up against, such as a house door or a pool. But the overall dimensions, how many levels, stairs, and all the other features of the deck decide the consumer.
Deck design services may offer various examples of their previous work to provide consumers with some sense of these dimensions, and renderings of a mock-up deck against a picture of their actual house or pool. When in doubt, consumers can always take some measurements of their own with a tape measure, as it is often difficult to visualize dimensions until it’s marked out or measured. Some deck contractors, but especially deck construction, building services, may have showrooms available with different types of miniature/abbreviated decks, to showcase the height, width, levels, and other dimensional features available.
DECK BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION – MATERIALS SELECTION
Perhaps most critical to building a deck is the selection of the building materials. Deck design services will often have recommendations, as will deck contractors and deck construction services/deck building services. Consumers should review their choices based on their long-term goals for the deck, expected lifetime of the home and deck, and various local factors like rainfall, sun/shade, harsh winters, etc.
In general, there are two main types of materials used for most of all consumer-grade decks – wood and composite. Wood can take many forms and types but is generally referencing natural wood boards and slats. Composite material, on the other hand, often mimics the look and feel of wood, but is primarily made of composite plastic. One typical example of composite decking material is Trex.
Both primary groups of building materials have their pros and cons, and skilled and knowledgeable deck contractors or other professionals can help to walk consumers through this choice.
DECK BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION – SEAL AND FINISH
The specific sealing of a deck is more relevant to wood-based decks; as most composite materials do not require sealing. With wood, a choice of seal, stain, or is what gives the deck its finish, and protects it from the rigors of weather and use. Deck contractors, deck construction services, and deck building services typically have a palette of different options to choose from, ranging from natural wood stains to solid opaque colors.
In the case of composite materials, there are sometimes different options for the texture or finish used on the functional (top) side of the material. Likewise, deck contractors, deck construction services, and deck building services, along with deck design services, will typically have a booklet or samples of different textures and finishes for consumers to choose from at the design stage of the deck building process.
DECK BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION – ADDITIONAL FEATURES
Sometimes, there are additional features that also need to consider when it comes to decking. Deck design services will generally know what they (and any associated deck contractors, deck construction services, or deck building services) are capable of and more importantly, these experts will know what is and are not allowed under the building code in a particular jurisdiction. They can work with consumers to execute the consumer’s vision for things like built-in tables and benches, storage compartments, lighting, additional stairs/ramps and access, and more.
DECK BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION – CONCLUSIONS
A deck is an excellent addition to a home, something that increases a home’s value and provides functional and aesthetic benefits for the homeowner and their family. Deck design services are experts in helping consumers design the perfect deck. Deck construction services and deck building services generally do the building. Deck contractors are typically a jack-of-all-trades and can help with the entire process. Consumers have several decisions they must make during the design and construction process, but the expertise and experience of the experts at deck design services, deck construction services, deck building services, and deck contractors can provide peace-of-mind and satisfaction.
A deck is an excellent investment for a home, increasing both the value and the functional and aesthetic uses for the homeowner and their family. It can be great for kids, family time, entertaining, or just relaxing on a beautiful day. As with any significant investment around the home, it is essential to ensure that, over time, proper maintenance and repair take place; otherwise these great home features can become a problem. The professionals at a deck restoration service, deck staining services, or deck repair services business will help prevent that from happening. While consumers generally can perform basic maintenance and cleaning of a deck themselves, periodic treatment and restoration by professionals can extend the life of a deck for many years or decades. Deck restoration services, deck staining services, and deck repair services have the skills and equipment needed to perform the kinds of maintenance and restoration that consumers can’t rely on their own.
DECK RESTORATION SERVICES
Deck restoration services primarily concerned with bringing a deck back to like-new condition. They typically aren’t the first choice to fix the isolated physical damage (those would be Deck repair services) but are capable of fixing damage uncovered in the process of restoration. Often, this involves determining if any of the wood is rotted or otherwise compromised and removing and replacing it. In most cases, deck restoration services will also clean the deck and fix any minor physical flaws like broken trim, chipped railings. Deck restoration services will then often sand or scour the deck surface and apply new coats of sealer and a chosen paint or finishing lacquer. In this way, consumers can obtain a deck that looks new or make subtle changes to the appearance of their deck through a change in color or finish.
DECK STAINING SERVICES
Deck staining services typically only do the last part of what deck restoration services do. They don’t generally fix physically damaged parts, check for rotted wood or things of that nature. Instead, a deck staining service typically is like a painting service would be for the interior or exterior of a house. They will clean and sand or strip the current deck finish, re-seal the deck, and then re-stain or re-paint with the consumer’s preferred choice of finishing product. Much like deck restoration services, this allows consumers to either obtain a like-new stain finish appearance or make some changes to a different color of stain or paint than what one used previously.
DECK REPAIR SERVICES
Last but certainly not least, deck repair services are the opposite of deck staining services. Where deck staining services mostly concerned with aesthetics, deck repair services almost exclusively focused on the physical, structural part of a deck. In addition to removing and replacing rotted or damaged wood, deck repair services can fix impact damage (such as from falling branches or trees in storms), repair or renovate railings and other fixtures, make modifications, or additions to the deck, and more. Some may offer restoration services akin to those from deck restoration services but typically aren’t as focused on restoring or re-staining a deck, vs. ensuring the physical structure of the deck is in tip-top shape and up to code.
Choosing the right type of deck repair services company for a given situation is essential, and a photo, review check is a way to make a final decision. However, understanding these differences between the deck restoration services, deck staining services, and deck repair services helps consumers narrow in on the right category of professionals to hire. In some cases, deck services companies may offer all these services and be called something like deck maintenance and repair services.
DECK MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR ISSUES
No matter what one calls them, and no matter which specific type of deck repair services, deck restoration services, or deck staining services needed for a job, there are specific common deck maintenance or restoration problems that they will all come across. Consumers should be able to identify these problems, or at least be familiar with them, to help in choosing the best type of deck restoration service, deck repair service, or deck staining service to suit their needs.
In brief, some of the most common types of deck maintenance and repair issues include:
- Rotting Wood – while not a problem with composite materials, real wood decking is susceptible to rot. That is more likely in climates that receive high amounts of precipitation, have significant variances in weather throughout the year, or decks that get a great deal of shade. Deck restoration services or deck repair services are often the best bet to deal with identifying, removing, and replacing rotted wood.
- Physical/Structural Damage – both wooden and composite decks, are susceptible to physical damage. That can include damage from nature such as crushing or impact from fallen trees, branches, or extreme weather. It can also cover damage from people, such as wear-and-tear fatigue, broken lattice from impact from an errant sports ball, cracked stairs or floorboards, and more. Deck repair services are the first choice for consumers for the physical, structural damage that a deck may exhibit and are best suited to fix these problems.
- Faded Stain/Paint – normal wear-and-tear, as well as environmental factors, will result in fading stain or paint over time. Additionally, excessive or abrasive cleaning of the deck can gradually remove some of the stain or paint that was applied. Therefore, periodically (typically every five years or so), it is advisable to have the deck re-stained, and possibly re-sealed. Deck staining services are best equipped for this kind of task. An added benefit is this kind of repair work allows consumers to make changes to the appearance of the deck, through the choice of a different color stain or paint that was used previously.
- Mold/Mildew– while not as dangerous as rotting wood, both wood and to a lesser extent composite can develop mold and mildew over time. The conditions that cause this are like what causes rot – a lot of shade, climate variability, heavy rainfall/high humidity. Consumers can often take care of minor mold or mildew themselves by cleaning the deck regularly. However, for severe cases of mold and mildew, deck restoration services or deck staining services might be warranted. They can scour the surface and remove the mildew, mold, and existing paint, re-seal the deck, and then re-stain it to the customer’s satisfaction.
- Sinking/Shifting Ground – this is perhaps one of the most severe problems that a deck can experience, and one of the least accessible to recover. Quality decks are often built with support slabs underneath main load-bearing sections, to spread the weight of the deck around the underlying ground. However, over time, both the deck itself and the ground underneath it can settle, shift, or sink. If so, it may be necessary to reinforce the support slabs under the deck, to maintain a proper level deck surface. Deck repair services and deck restoration services may be able to help in these cases, alternatively, may direct consumers to a deck contractor or deck construction/building service, as heavy equipment may be required to fix this kind of problem.
DECK RESTORATION, STAINING, AND REPAIR SERVICES – SUMMARY
In summary, deck restoration services, deck staining services, and deck repair services all have something to offer when it comes to maintaining a deck. They each have different areas of expertise and depending on the specific type of problem that needs work, and consumers should be able to discern which kind of deck repair and maintenance services company they will need to employ.
Homeowners are advised to routinely clean and monitor their deck, and periodically consult a deck restoration service, deck staining service, or deck repair service to make repairs and maintain the deck. In the case of specific damage incidents, deck repair services or deck restoration services are best suited to set things right. In the cases of mold, mildew, or faded paint or stain, deck staining services can help an old deck look fresh and new.
If properly maintained, most well-built decks will last a decade and more. The experts at deck repair services, deck restoration services, and deck staining services can help maximize the useful life of a deck through preventative and reparative deck maintenance.