11 Gregory Drive, S. Burlington, VT 05403
+1 802-482-5777

Decks & Porches

There are few pleasures in Vermont like standing on a deck, grilling something tasty and watching the sun go down on your backyard. If you are ready to reward yourself with a new deck and make the most of the warm weather, these are the important things to consider:

STRUCTURAL SUPPORT

In places with harsh winters, proper structural support is a requirement if you want to enjoy your porch for many, many years. The support posts need to go beyond the frost level, and in Vermont, that means 54″ into the ground. To achieve this we can either excavate the area and install concrete posts, or we can drill helical piers below grade. Helical piers cost less, but you cannot use them if the soil is dense clay or has boulders. The size and design of the porch will determine the total number of support posts needed.

FRAMING

Pressure treated lumber is the #1 option for posts, joists, beams and all the other structural parts of your deck. Pressure treated wood, also known as ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary), can support more weight and span longer distances than cedar, redwood or other woods commonly used for building decks. And not only is it less expensive, but it has special preservatives that protect it from rot, insects, and fungal deterioration. No matter what decking materials you use on top, pressure treated framing is a must.

FLASHING

Decks are usually attached to the house with a pressure treated ledger board. Since infiltrating rainwater can travel in all directions, flashing is a vital step to ensure that moisture cannot reach the house. In the past, metal flashing and extra layers of roofing felt (tar paper) were often used, but nowadays vinyl “Z” flashing and rolls of vinyl back flashing do a better job. Ideally, the house’s sheathing should be triple protected from moisture: with building paper or roofing felt stapled to the sheathing; then with back flashing; and then the Z flashing, which also protects the ledger itself.

DECKING MATERIALS

Wood is the original and most common decking choice because it’s natural, sturdy, easy to install and feels good under bare feet. But it also requires a lot of maintenance, and it can rot, splinter, and warp. Even though all wood naturally weathers to a gray color, it should be cleaned and re-stained every two to three years to keep it looking its best. Pressure-treated lumber can last up to 15 years, making it the least expensive option. Above that, there is cedar and redwood; tropical hardwoods like Red Balau or IPE are top of the line.

Other options are composite wood, engineered wood or PVC. These materials don’t splinter or need paint or stain, and the only requirement to keep them looking like new is power-washing when they get dirty.

For a deck that is shiny and bright, call Sparkles ’cause they do it right.

RAILING MATERIALS

Traditional wood railings are still a popular choice, as they are economical but still classic and elegant. However, as mentioned above, they need the most maintenance as they tend to damage more easily and require regular staining or painting.

Other options are aluminum, cable, cap-stock composite, glass, steel and vinyl. With so many beautiful styles and configurations in the market, the challenge is choosing just one!

WHAT ABOUT LABOR?

Now that you understand the components of deck construction, we can break down the labor costs:

Excavating and installing concrete footings (per footing with materials) $550 – $900
Installing Techno Posts (per post with materials) $300
Framing (per square foot, includes pressure treated lumber) $8 – $16
Decking Installation (per square foot) $5 – $8
Railing Installation (per linear foot) $20 – $60
Staining (per square foot with materials) $4 – $6

We hope the information above encourages you to come up with a working plan. We can help you design and build a deck or porch that not only meets your needs and budget but one that all your family will love and enjoy for many years to come.

CONTACT US

11 Gregory Drive
S. Burlington, VT 05403

(802) 482-5777

MEET SPARKLES

If you are feeling dirty, it’s time you meet our sister company Sparkles.
For a home that is shiny and bright, call Sparkles ’cause they do it right.