Custom Deckworks builds decks the "Old School" way. Progress and invention do not always improve on the quality of things. Sometimes we are simply left with cheap products which are harder to work with and don't last as long.
This is the section that will help you to compare apples to apples when getting bids on your project. Ask every contractor you interview about each item on these pages. Remember, it's your money; you deserve to have your deck built the right way. Here are a few examples of why we and our customers say "The Quality Is The Difference".
- For starters, we always attach our decks to the house using 3/8" lag screws.
3/8" lag screws
When attaching to the wood band of a house, we first nail our Deck Band and then install lag screws. If attaching to brick or block, we drill into the mortar joints and install lead lag shields between the brick to receive the lag screws. This fastening system is time-tested and proven to be the best all-around way to ensure a secure and long lasting mount. Some builders are fans of carriage bolts (smooth round head, washer & nut on opposite end) but have to admit that they can't always be fully tightened. Without a very tight "pressurized" mount, they are relying on the sheer-force of the bolts and the integrity of the existing structure alone. Often times, because of the excellence of lag screws, our Deck Band has served as a "band-aid" to existing damaged structures.
- Next, the type and size of nail used is very important. Every nail used on our decks is a 3" hot-dipped electro-galvanized ring-shank nail.
3" hot-dipped electro-galvanized ring-shank nail
The "hot-dipped electro-galvanized" is a must since January 2004 when the chemicals in treated lumber changed from CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) to ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quat). The lumber treatment companies insist that using anything less could result in the nail corroding in half within six months. We cannot confirm any truth in this but, we would never ask you to help us test their theory by using any other nail on your deck.
If you've ever had a deck with any nails that have "popped up" from the deck surface, your deck was probably built using "smooth-shank" nails. This is caused by the sun heating them and allowing them to rise up. The "ring-shank" nails we use are designed to stay put. They hold so well that it's difficult to even pull them with a hammer. Again, some builders are fans of screws. Screws, however, present several problems: They are very costly to purchase, very costly to install, frequently the heads break off just before they're screwed flush and the heads also have the tendency to strip easily preventing them from being fully installed or being backed out. Having a board replaced that has been screwed down can quickly turn from a $5.00 labor fee into a $50.00 labor fee.
For those of you who really like for the horizontal surfaces of your deck (floor, top-cap of handrail, etc.) to be fastened with screws, there are some very good screws that are becoming much more readily available and we are certainly glad to use them at your request. These screws are properly coated to last with any type of wood or composite and are designed to eliminate some of the problems listed above. There is, however, an extra charge when using screws to cover the higher cost and the extra labor involved.