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Decked Out

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Decked Out

Four decks from four different deck builders, celebrating unique design and exceptional execution 


By By James F. McClister December 30, 2019
This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of Pro Remodeler.

Alot of remodelers build decks. And why wouldn’t they? The jobs pay well, some into the six figures, and they can be finished in a few weeks (sometimes quicker). They’re not as invasive as something like a kitchen remodel, where you’re in a family’s living space for weeks at a time, making the whole thing incredibly stressful. And most importantly, people like decks. They’re the most popular exterior feature in every region of the U.S., and one of the top motivators for homeowners to hire a remodeler, according to HomeAdvisor. 

But because so many remodelers are out raising high-quality decks, or restoring aging decks to modern compliance and glory, it’s easy for truly exceptional deck design and building to go under-appreciated. So, we felt it necessary to appreciate a few. 


New Frontier Tiny Homes

Nashville, Tenn.

You might call tiny homes a fad, but David Latimer calls them a business; and when you see what his company does with small spaces, you may start to understand why people so badly want these dwellings. The “Alpha Tiny House” is a perfect example of tiny home potential. “We made the frame out of aluminum and custom welded these big hinges onto the trailer,” says Latimer. “The hinges are bolted to the frame in eight different spots.” Made Murphy-bed style, the deck can be raised or lowered, depending on the mood (or whether the home is being moved, because it is on wheels). “We’ve used several lift mechanisms,” he says. “We’ve used a hydraulic lift, a winch and pulley system, and just good, old-fashioned, manual elbow grease lifting.” While the mechanisms can increase the ease with which the tiny deck can be raised and lowered, Latimer prefers the manual method. “Introducing mechanisms and complexity invites opportunities for failure.” 


Decks By Kiefer 

Martinsville, N.J.

It’s called the megadeck. It wasn’t a tricky build, says Travis Despres, of Decks By Kiefer. “This deck was about getting the views.” Situated above a pond, overlooking a forest and distant mountains, this wraparound deck, complete with added wood ceiling, a wood-burning fireplace, and four infrared heaters is designed not just for outdoor living, but outdoor entertaining. Efforts to limit view obstructions went down to the details. Cable rails were used for their subtlety, and space on the back deck was made by relocating the outdoor kitchen to the front. 


Dr. Decks

Tacoma, Wash.

Known throughout the industry for its creative deck designs, and in particular for talent with board bending, Jason Russell and the team at Dr. Decks recently unveiled this curved glass, bent-boarded, multi-level deck that uses AZEK TimberTech and Coastal Curved Glass—glass that is, as Russell puts it, “very unique for decks.” What’s especially impressive about this deck, though, is not just its design and build, but the fact that it sits on and juts out over a 45-degree slope. “At its highest point, the deck sits 20 feet off the ground.” The uneven ground made the build difficult, Russell says. “We had to use special fittings called Diamond Piers—basically a pier block with four holes and you drive 5-foot-long metal bars through the footing with a jackhammer to create maximum bearing.” The result is a sturdy deck that seems to float.


Tundraland

Kaukauna, Wisc. 

It’s not often that building a deck means also remodeling a roof, but that’s what Tundraland ended up doing here. The home had a screened-in porch coming out from the basement before the deck was built, and the homeowners wanted to keep it in place and have the deck rest directly overhead. “We redid the roof and pitched the deck away from the home,” says Tundraland sales manager, Joe Moran. “That’s along with installing custom stairs.” As the picture shows, the stairs, built with treads of varying lengths, spiral down and ultimately sit on an even hill. 


written by

James F. McClister

James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.


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