Choosing a Deck Company In San Antonio

The Premier Deck Company in San Antonio

Deck Company In San Antonio

 

Choosing a Deck Company In San Antonio Texas can be overwhelming. With so many options how do you decide which one is right for you? With the click of a mouse one can easily become overwhelmed. Here are some simple yet effective tips to find the perfect deck company in San Antonio for you.

Tip 1 –

Think with your head not your wallet!

Budget is crucial, but if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is. Get three qualified estimates from reputable companies before allowing Mr. Jack of all Trades build your outdoor oasis. A reputable deck company in San Antonio won’t be the cheapest, but the old saying rings true….”you get what you pay for.” When choosing a Deck Company In San Antonio think long term. Will the cheapest deck company in San Antonio be around next year for a warranty issue?

Tip 2 –

Go with your gut!

No matter how many times we hear it, we want to fight it. If you have a funny feeling about the “shady” salesman that XYZ Company sent out, chances are that company will not deliver. If a company doesn't’t have the integrity to hire a knowledgeable, personable sales associate; what makes you think they will stand behind their work? Simply following your gut instinct can help you separate the good from the bad when choosing a deck company in San Antonio.

Tip 3 –

Do your Homework!

If a company cant provide references, or doesn't’t have a website, why would you consider them? You are adding value to perhaps the largest investment you own, so it only make since to trust a builder with a solid reputation. Ask them simple questions. Are you Insured? Do you offer a Warranty? Can you give me 5 References off the top of your head? If a company or it’s representative can’t answer these simple questions, move on to the next.

Choosing a deck company in San Antonio can be overwhelming, but following these simple tips can help you create the outdoor escape you deserve. Until next time this is the Patio Man reminding you that life is always better served outside.

 

Outdoor Deck Materials

OUTDOOR DECK MATERIAL

outdoor deck material

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Decks aren’t what they were in years past. There are countless options for today’s consumer. With dozens of species of wood, composites, and composite hybrids, how does todays consumer know which outdoor deck material is best suited for them?

There are pros and cons to each material, making it a tough choice when choosing a material for your outdoor deck.  Whether you’re still in design mode or planning on breaking ground this weekend it pays to understand your options. Here is a list of four basic options, each with its own benefits, look, price, and durability.

 

  1. Pressure Treated Decks – The Budget Friendly Choice

Pressure Treated Decks are hands down the most affordable option when considering an outdoor deck material. Most of your local hardware stores stock this material making it readily available. A Simple online search at Lowes and Home Depot prices 5/4 X 6 Standard Treated Decking around 60 cents per Linear Foot. Most pressure treated decking is milled from yellow pine. It is then chemically treated to resist rot, fungus, and insects. Installation is also easy as it is a soft wood that accepts screws or nails very well.

The downside to using Pressure Treated Decking is that it is softwood. This material will crack and shrink over time, making routine maintenance a must. Annual deep cleaning and staining is advisable to keep this product looking its best.

 

  1. Cedar Decks –

Affordable, Durable, and naturally Beautiful is what makes choosing Cedar a great option for your outdoor deck material. This native softwood contains tannins and oils that naturally resist rot, decay, and insects. Cedar decking is a great choice for those looking for an affordable yet beautiful outdoor deck. Award winning builder Premier Deck & Patios, LP uses Cedar for the majority of their outdoor wood decks. “Cedar decking is not only beautiful, but offers our clients an affordable option for a great product.”

To maintain the natural beauty of this wood it is recommended that stain be applied. Yearly maintenance is encouraged, but those that like a more rustic look can forego the stain allowing the wood to turn into a grey-silver color.

 

  1. Hardwood Decks –

Ipe, Tigerwood, Cumuru, Massaranduba are just a couple of hardwood species used for outdoor decking. These are exotic or tropical hardwoods rich in character, extremely dense, and naturally resistant to decay, rot, and insects. I recently saw a video of a girl using a piece of Ipe (Iron Wood) decking as a ramp for her car. It's worth a look if your considering this material.

Hands down these exotics offer more for those looking for a truly unique outdoor deck, but with a price tag starting at $4.00 per Linear Foot, they aren’t for the faint of heart.

 

  1. Composite Decks –

Composite Decking is the fastest growing industry in the outdoor realm. With dozens of companies manufacturing every thing from 100% plastic, to combinations of saw dust and plastics; the consumer today has countless options to choose from.

Trex, Timbertech, Fiberon, and Azek Deck are just a couple of companies making composites readily available for consumers. For a green alternative, composite decking is definitely a great option. Some claim they are maintenance free; however Premier Deck & Patios, LP has a different opinion. “ Composite Decking is susceptible to mold and mildew, especially in shady damp areas. There is no true maintenance free outdoor deck."

With more and more companies manufacturing composite decking, prices are getting more and more affordable. Local big box stores are even stocking some brands of composites making it very accessible for the DIY family. With a price tag starting around $2.00 per linear foot new composite wont exactly break the bank.

As you already know there are a ton of outdoor deck material options. If you decide to build your own deck or hire a professional learn the basics of whatever material your are considering. Until next time, this is The Patio Man reminding you that Life is Truly Better Served Outside.

 

 

 

When Choosing a Custom Deck Builder Consider This.

San Antonio deck builders

                       

       With so many deck builders out there, how do I know which one to hire?

 

 

This is a very good question. I am in San Antonio TX. A simple Google search will list hundreds of deck builders in San Antonio alone. With all the companies out there it can get a bit overwhelming to say the least.  There are quite a few reputable deck builders in San Antonio each with different strengths as well as weaknesses. Some companies build close to a 1000 decks per year, while others only build a dozen extremely high-end custom decks. One company specializes in Cedar Decking, while another specializes in Composite Decking.

So which one do I choose?

With all of these companies eager to earn your business I would interview at least 3, maybe even 5 separate deck builders. When you call so set up an estimate ask them three important questions.

  1. Is Your Company Insured?
  2. Can You Provide References?
  3. Do You Offer a Warranty?

Ask them to bring proof of insurance, 10 referrals, and their warranty contract to your initial consultation. You would be surprised how many will show up with out this simple list. In my book you blew it as a contractor if you cant accommodate this simple request. Assuming some of the builders show up with what you have requested move on to the consultation. This usually consists of walking the proposed location, taking measurements, pictures, and a drawing. This process doesn’t take long at all. A competent builder or designer can be in and out in under an hour in most cases.

With the formalities out of the way it is now time for the builder or designer to go back to the office and prepare your proposal.

                  WRONG!!

Most deck builders in San Antonio will send out a salesman that will try and get you to sign a contract right then and there. I understand….. These salesmen are dependent on closing the deal; I just think its poor taste. I want to have time to verify your references and check your insurance. Half the time when the actual builder gets to look at the Deck Drawing it has to change due to the salesman not having adequate knowledge of the building components. There is no reason to sign a contract on the initial visit.

After they leave, do yourself a favor and do a little research. Pick up the phone and call their references. Ask if they can send pictures, if they truly are a good reference they might even invite you out to look first hand. The next call should be to their suppliers or vendors. I have seen first hand where a builder is in debt to their supplier creating a very costly situation. The supplier by right can come after the materials, and if those materials were delivered to your property they have the legal right to file a lien on your home. Though this is rare I have seen this happen right here in San Antonio.

After calling their references, check on the status of their insurance. 99% of the time deck companies in San Antonio sub out the actual build. These subcontractors are often not insured leaving you liable if something should happen to them. If they left you a copy of their insurance a simple 5 minute call could prevent a catastrophic problem.

Lastly go with your gut, don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish. If you are on the fence and your favorite deck builder charges $500.00 more than one that makes you feel a little uneasy, spend the extra $500.00. You will be happy you did.

Until next time, this is The Patio Man reminding you that life is better served outside.  

What is a Pergola?

What is a Pergola?

San Antonio Pergola

As a contractor specializing in outdoor construction in San Antonio TX I have been asked this question on countless occasions. I started questioning my own definition of a Pergola, was it an arbor, a shade arbor, a trellis arbor??? To better answer the question, What is a Pergola? I decided to do some homework to see what other professionals were saying.

Let me start by explaining that after looking into how other industry professionals define a Pergola, I am now more confused. It seems that Pergola, Arbor, and Arbour are used synonymously in describing what I always thought a Pergola was.

By definition “A Pergola, arbor, or arbour is a garden feature forming a shaded walk way, passageway or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained. As a type of Gazebo, it may also be an extension of a building, or serve as protection for an open terrace or a link between pavilions.” (wikipeda)

That didn’t really help me at all…. So what is a Pergola as defined by me. The best way for me to explain this is to define what each is typically used for.

Arbors are primarily used in gardens and entrances. They are smaller and almost always have plants climbing on them. I mostly see what I call an Arbor at a gate entrance or over a bench. They are built very similar to a Pergola with one big difference.

SIZE

We build a lot of Pergolas, some of which are substantial in size. The columns are often 12”X12” posts, sometimes constructed with stone or brick. Most of these structures are built to define an area. Todays Pergolas are used to create a space to gather. Throw a Fireplace in the mix and you’ve got a year round escape. Though they don’t offer complete protection from the elements they are visually attractive and becoming more and more popular. Ask an outdoor company if they had any key word focus on Pergola 10 years ago, they probably didn’t. Today, a Pergola is an affordable extension of the home allowing many homeowners to create a beautiful outdoor space. Easy to construct, our crews can usually be in and out in under a full day. 

Regardless of the definition Pergolas offer a beautiful extension to a home. With many functions you are sure to love the space it creates. With just enough shade, and just enough sun, a Pergola adds the perfect balance for enjoying life outside.  

Deck Permits Made Simple

Do I Need A Permit for Building a Deck?

 

deck permit san antonio

Each city or jurisdiction has diffrent rules and regulations that they adhear to, so always check with that particular jusrisdiction before building any structure at your residence. People shy away from simple projects because dealing with permits and codes seems overwhealming. The codes and guidelines a jurisdiction operates under are intended to protect the residents of  that dwelling. They insure that everything is built to current industry standards. 

Our team can assist homeowners in obtaining a deck permit in San Antonio. It is a simple process that can be obtained by the homeowner or the contractor. The contractor must be registered with the city and hold the necessary Licencing and Insurance in order to pulll the permit.  

To quote the city of San Antonio, "If your property is within the City of San Antonio and you are erecting, constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, improving, removing, converting, moving, demolishing any building or structure or a portion within the structure, you are required to obtain City of San Antonio permits."

They go on to add….

"Specific examples of when permits are required are:  room additions, walls, carports, decks, patios, in-ground & above-ground swimming pools, fences, re-roofs, foundation repairs, and general repairs to include siding, doors, and windows".

Always remember that each jurisdiction is diffrent and operates under seperate guidelines and codes. 

When should I stain my new deck?

When Should I Stain My New Deck        

       

         When should I stain my new deck?

 

 

As a contractor I am asked this question all the time. New wood contains moisture. This moisture always varies, but rest assured its always there. I know your excited and can’t wait to see the end result, but trust me its worth the wait.

I always tell my clients to wait at least 60 days before adding any kind of sealer or stain. This will allow for the wood to acclimate to your climate, sweating out all the debris and moisture allowing the stain to penetrate the wood undiluted. This will give you a far better end result.

A great test to see if your deck is ready for stain is to give it the good old water splash test. Take a couple of ounces of water and pour it directly on the surface of the deck. If the water quickly absorbs your ready, if it sits on the surface like a freshly waxed car wait. Repeat this process every couple of weeks and before you know it you’ll be ready for stain.

Always consider the stain manufacturers recommendations when applying. A wise homeowner will always have his or her deck stained to protect their investment, and staining is the ultimate protection for a deck. How often should you repeat staining? That will have to wait for another post….

Until next time, go enjoy the outdoors and remember, life is always better served outside.   

 

 

Custom Deck Builder Deposits

Custom Deck Builder Deposits

As a home owner I have hired trade professionals to build or repair things I felt were over my head. Its always a touchy subject when someone asks me for a deposit. I dont blame them for asking, but I have never felt 100% comfortable giving a new contractor a deposit. When it comes to Custom Deck Builder Deposits I think I have figured it out. 

 

Simply NO!

Some Custom Deck Builders are asking for a 50% Deposit up front, not to mention they want you to pay them two more draws before completion. This tells me a couple of things.

  • This Deck Builder is Broke

  • This Deck Builder can't pay his payrol

  • This Deck Builder will rob Peter to pay Paul

If you cant afford to front the materials to get the job started then you have no business in the construction world. When he can't afford to pay his contractors they stop coming out to your house causing your build to stall. In an attempt to pay his contractors this builder will take on more work and get more deposits to help pay to finish your build. It's a vicious cycle, that I have seen first hand. 

I know what your thinking. I also know I have offended some builders reading this post, but hold on….. There is a happy medium. 

As a Custom Deck Builder I do not require a deposit. Most of the Decks I build cost less than a couple of thousand to frame out. I explain to the client that after the frame inspection is complete a deposit is due. Often times I will ask for %40-%50, and never have a problem getting it. That deposit is enough to cover materials to that point, pay my help, and keep everything running smootly. This does two things. One, it sets my clients mind at ease about the quality and confidece of my work. Two, it sets my mind at ease because it didn't break the bank to get the job.

Are there certain jobs that should require a deposit? That my friend will have to wait for another post.Until next time go outside and live a little.  

 

 

 

The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio

Who is The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio

 

Premier Deck and Patios, LP is The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio for many reasons. When shopping for a deck in San Antonio it is important to ask yourself these questions.

The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio

 

1.     Are they Insured?

2.     Can they provide references?

3.     Do they stand behind their work?

 

These three questions could save you thousands of dollars and a whole lot of heartache. Do yourself a favor and ask these questions before shelling out a deposit to some high-pressure salesman.

 

1. Are they Insured?

 

Would you hire your lawn man to replace your HVAC system? Would hire your home builder to fix your car? The answer should be NO. Maybe not as drastic, but when hiring a deck contractor make sure to hire some one that specializes in that field. If someone gets hurt during the build and that company is not insured, you will more than likely be held liable. During your first conversation with a deck contractor you should ask if he or she holds the necessary insurance to conduct business in your area. More times that person will tell you “oh yea we are covered”. Thats great; tell them to forward you their policy or cover sheet. It’s funny, because most of them will not ever call again. Premier Deck & Patios will always supply our clients with a copy of insurance.  This is only one of the reasons Premier Deck & Patios, LP is The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio.

 

2. Can they provide references?

 

I like to place companies I am thinking of doing business with on the spot. This may sound crazy, but if you can’t give me three references on the spot I don’t want to work with you. Have your salesman come out for your initial consultation. After going over the designs ask him or her for three references.  If they cant produce those references why would you hire them. At Premier Deck & Patios LP, we get excited when people ask us for references.  Our clients sell our jobs for us, and will more than likely invite you out to see first hand what makes us The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio.

 

3. Do they stand behind their work?

 

Do they offer a warranty? Not a verbal agreement to come out and fix something, a written warranty. Premier Deck & Patios, LP offers the only written warranty in its field. Would you buy a new car with out a warranty? I’m guessing not. We give our clients peace of mind that our product will last. This is just one more reason that makes Premier Deck & Patios, LP The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio.

 

When talking with a deck contractor remember to ask them these important questions. It will literally be the difference between a hiring a fly by night company or The Best Deck Builder in San Antonio. Until next time, this is the Patio Man reminding you that life is always better served outdoors. 

Deck Inspection

Deck Inspection Made Easy

 

The Checklist:

1.     The Ledger

2.     Joists

3.     Posts

4.     Decking

5.     Railing

 

It is very important to Inspect your Deck on a yearly basis. The typical life span of an outdoor deck is 15-20 years. I have seen decks that are older than this simply because the owner took the time to preform proper maintenance. Annual inspections will protect your investment, and more importantly your family. Every year, people are severely injured, or even killed, in Deck collapses.

The good news is Injuries can easily be prevented by routine yearly Inspections and maintenance. Most repairs are quick, inexpensive and easy. Many of your local lumberyards carry the tools and materials you’ll need.

 

1.The Ledger Board

The Ledger board is up against the house. It is crucial that this board is secured and in good repair. A poorly secured ledger board can fail resulting in your deck separating from your house and falling to the ground. Most of the ledger boards I inspect are not properly secured to the house.  To be secured properly the ledger board needs 1/2in X 3in Lag screws or bolts driven every 16 in.

Starting at one end of the ledger board install two Lag screws or bolts, one towards the top and the other towards the bottom. I like to offset my lags or bolts. Then move down 16 in and repeat.

2. Joist Inspection

How are the joists attached to the rest of your frame? They should have Joist hangers that are designed to support the load of the floor. Some of the decks I inspect don’t have any hangers. If this is the case install new ones.  Inspect your hangers making sure all holes are filled with nails. Often times deck contractors will place one nail to hold the hanger in place and forget to go back later and secure it properly. Be careful to use the right nails. Joist hanger nails are the only nails acceptable, specifically designed for this application.

3. POSTS

Deck Posts are under continuous pressure. Often times they are exposed to the elements and if in contact with the ground will eventually rot. Replacing a rotting post may seem like a daunting task, but can be achieved with a little bit of sweat equity.

Start by making some temporary bracing. I like to use 2x6s nailed together. Set your bottle jacks with in 3 ft. of either side of the post you are replacing. Make sure you are on solid even ground. I recommend cutting a 2’X2’ piece of plywood to ensure a sturdy base. Next, use your 2×6 bracing. Place one end on the jack and the other end on the rim joist. Slowly jack the brace up until it is tight, we don’t want to raise the deck. Repeat for the second  brace and your ready to remove the rotten post and replace.

4. DECKING

Walk the deck to ensure none of the deck boards are damaged or showing signs of rotting. If damage is seen replace as needed. Deck boards are typically nailed or screwed down. Determine how your deck is fastened and remove the rotten board. Cut the new board to size and secure it to the joists.

5. RAILING

Most of the decks Inspect have loose railings. Though this wont cause your deck fail, it could cause you or someone you love to fall off. Railing posts should be attached to the deck frame with carriage bolts. Determine the width of the post and rim joist and add 1 in to the length of your carriage bolt. These bolts should be ½ in in diameter. Drill two ½ in. holes through the post and rim joists. Stagger these holes for a stronger hold. Drive the carriage bolts through and tighten until flush.

Inspect the spindles to ensure tightness. If a loose or damaged spindle is found simply remove and replace. Most spindles are and sold at your local hardware store for ease of installation. Determine if they are nailed or screwed and replace as needed.

As you can see Inspecting your Deck can be done quicly. There are not a lot of structural components, and often times they are easily accessible. Take an afternoon to look at your own Deck. If you see any problem areas address them to ensure a longer life to your investment. 

 

Improper Installation Causes Deck Failure

Deck Failure - Roughly 60% of all decks in America are deemed unsafe?

A strong contributor might be that there are an estimated 40 million decks that are over 20 years old. Should you repair or replace your deck?? 

Just like every other aspect of your home, your deck needs a strong foundation. Even though decks seem to be simple structure they are load-bearing monsters. If not built correctly deck failure could occur. You hear it on the news every once in a while where a deck collapsed and killed someone, but how many stories go unheard of someone falling through a bad railing? How many people fall due to a set of wooden stairs failing?  These small failures contribute to most of the injuries reported in the United States, but could have been prevented. 

Nails or Bolts? It’s normal for me to have 10 -15 friends and family on the deck during a nice summer evening. That weight adds up quick.  Major deck failure can occur due to improper ledger and beam attachment (Nails instead of Bolts).  
 
What is the load rating for your deck? Improper or undersized framing will result in your deck not being able to distribute or handle a heavy load. This could create a catastrophic failure leading to injury or worse.
 
Save yourself the heartache. If you think your deck is unsafe, it probably is. If you don’t know, but would like to sleep good at night ask a professional. A reputable builder will be more than happy to inspect and address any concerns. 
 
If like me, you’re a DIY kind of person stay tuned and join me on my next blog. We will be covering Deck Inspection and Maintenance to help you thoroughly inspect your deck.