Decks by Seven Hills Construction
Outdoor living in Montana is key, and deck building is one of our specialties. We design and build outdoor extensions of your home that blend in to your house and your lifestyle. Below is information commonly discussed during design meetings. If you need a deck builder in Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, or the greater Flathead please call us today!
One of the first decisions to make is the decking material. Wood decking is beautiful and cost effective but must be re-stained every year or two in order to keep its appearance and durability, depending on the amount of sun exposure. The most common wood decking is:
- Cedar: a very durable wood that has superior weather resistance compared to other species. Cedar is the most common wood decking
- Douglas Fir: the most cost effective decking available, somewhat less weather resistant than cedar but looks great and is very common to this area
- Redwood: more expensive than other species, but beautiful when stained and has good weather protection
Wood decking is beautiful but composite decking makes more sense for many folks because while the up front cost is typically higher, if you factor in the costs to stain (and re-stain) the decking it will pay for itself over time. Plus it has superior durability and is impervious to rot and insects. Trex is the most common composite decking which we install regularly although there are other brands available. Trex also has a base line (Trex Select) and an upper line (Trex Transcend) featuring different patterns and colors. They can be attached with hidden fasteners or screwed down through the face of the board.
Design: Size and Shape
Size and shape come down to a combination of what fits your home architecturally and structurally, restrictions in your building jurisdiction, budget, and personal preference. We work with all our clients to find what is the right combination for them, and draft our own building plans in-house.
If the deck is over 30" off of the ground, a railing is required to meet building codes and prevent injuries. There are many, many methods of building rails to choose from. Here are a few options:
- Wood 2x2: very common on decks with wood decking, usually this style uses a combination of 2x2,2x4,2x6, and 4x4 posts and is stained to suit
- Metal Baluster rail: this is usually a hybrid of dimensional lumber with metal rods in the center part (called "balusters"). We build these regularly. The top piece (the "handrail") is commonly a piece of the same decking that was used (composite or wood).
- Panelized Rails: these come in prefabricated sections, typically made of lightweight metal, and are usually very cost effective with many designs to choose from
- Composite rails: these are plastic/vinyl parts (a la Trex) that assemble to create a durable rail system
- Wire or glass panel rail: These designs are commonly seen on decks that feature large views and there is a desire to have the rail be as transparent as possible
Build Quality and Craftsmanship
Having your deck professionally built can make a big difference in longevity, aesthetic, and adding value to your home. There are lots of ways to cut corners and unfortunately we have had to remove and replace many decks because these corners were cut. Details matter, especially the details you can't see. Some commonly seen problems we see from poorly built decks are: insufficient depth of piers or simply no piers at all, undersized framing members, not using pressure treated lumber where appropriate, insufficient water flashing, poor house<>deck connections, or poor craftsmanship. We always focus on quality and whether we need the approval of your local building department/HOA or not makes no difference to us. If our name is going on it, it will meet or exceed any building standard.
We have done numerous projects which involve a need to make the underside of a deck waterproof, whether because there is another outdoor space underneath or the deck is actually built over the house itself. There are several ways to achieve this goal, and we have installed several products such as Trex RainEscape and Dec-Tec waterproof membranes.