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DECK FINISHING GUIDE • STALKING BAMBOO DECKING • DECK EXPO PREVIEW

DECK

FALL 2017

SPECIALIST Ideas & Strategies for Outdoor Living Professionals

DECK EXPO PREVIEW


The easy way to a picture perfect deck.

Introducing EB-TY Premium Hidden Deck-Fastening System ®

The new EB-TY Premium system comes with the ingenious EB-GUIDE predrilling tool to ensure precise and efficient fastening. The system’s redesigned biscuit features a stainless-steel reinforcing plate to ensure a strong, concealed connection – showcasing the natural beauty of the deck. Whether you’re installing composite decking or exotic hardwood on your project, EB-TY Premium delivers a picture-perfect deck every time. To learn more, visit go.strongtie.com/ebtypremium or call (800) 999-5099.

© 2017 Simpson

Strong-Tie Company Inc. EBTY17C

Including the EB-GUIDE


Trex Transcend® Decking Shown in Island Mist. © 2017 Trex Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Every deck is made for standing on. Only one has a reputation for standing out. When it comes to building your reputation, it helps to rely on materials you can trust. That’s why the world’s best builders choose the enduring beauty and durability of the world’s #1 decking brand. After all, only Trex® composite decking and railings are engineered to eliminate time-consuming maintenance while providing superior scratch, fade and stain resistance. Before your next project, visit trex.com and discover why nothing compares to Trex.


DECK

SPECIALIST

Ideas & Strategies for Outdoor Living Professionals COMING ATTRACTION

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Deck Expo Preview

FEATURE STORY

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Bamboo Decking

New generation of ultra-sustainable products angling for market share WHAT’S HOT

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Top Drivers of Demand

Analyzing the outdoor building boom PROJECT SPOTLIGHTS

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Rooftop Sanctuary

Pavered plaza gives way to modified wood boardwalk

Island Adventure Remote location forces deck builder to “design on the fly”

INSIDE LOOK

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CSI: Decking

Exotic imports get DNA fingerprinted

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ON THE COVER This beautiful elevated deck wraps around the rear of a mountain home in north Georgia. It was built using MicroPro pressure treated southern yellow pine from Koppers Performance Chemicals.

ALSO INSIDE 8 Editor’s Note 10 Industry News 40 On the House with the Carey Bros. 42 The Bottom Line with David Elenbaum 44 The Rail Post with Matt Breyer 46 Stacking the Deck with Pat Noonan 48 Set the Standard with Brendan Casey 50 How To: Deck Finishing 54 New Products 61 Ad Index 61 Date Planner 62 Idea Book Deck Specialist

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DECK SPECIALIST A publication of 526 Media Group, Inc.

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Phone (714) 486-2735 Fax 714-486-2745

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Managing Editor David Koenig david@building-products.com Editor Stephanie Ornelas sornelas@building-products.com Columnists Matt Breyer, James & Morris Carey, Brendan Casey, David Elenbaum, Pat Noonan Guest Contributors Thomas Rathbone, Julia Yesler, Kathleen S. Ziprik Director of Sales Chuck Casey chuck@building-products.com

SUMMER 2017

WOOD GS • RESURGENCE OF REAL

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ECO-FRIENDLY BUILDING

• CHOOSE THE RIGHT RAILIN

DECKING

SPECIALIST Ideas & Strategies

for Outdoor Living

Professionals

Sales & Marketing Coordinator Chelsea Hiers chiers@building-products.com

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Subscriptions Chelsea Hiers chiers@building-products.com (714) 486-2735 DECK SPECIALIST is published quarterly at 151 Kalmus Dr., Ste. D200, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, (714) 486-2735, Fax 714-486-2745, www.building-products.com, by 526 Media Group, Inc. (a California Corporation). It is an independently owned publication for U.S.-based builders and contrators that specialize in decking and other outdoor living projects. Copyright®2017 by 526 Media Group, Inc. Cover and entire contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission. All Rights Reserved. Deck Specialist reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising matter, and assumes no liability for materials furnished to it. Fall 2017 • Volume 1 • Number 3

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The new publication for qualified industry decision makers! STAY IN THE LOOP! • Update your subscription • Sign up key colleagues • Enroll multiple locations Deck Specialist 2 2017.indd

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December 2016

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Building Products Digest


EDITOR’S NOTE

In search of the Perfect Deck Builder So, my deck is falling apart. Not rickety, haunted-house, call-the-safety-inspector falling apart. But it started to show moisture damage on the fascia boards. The main structure of my elevated deck is nearly 20 years old, although I had new composite decking, stairs and railing installed about eight years ago. I figured that I’d do what the deck builder did eight years ago: the bare minimum. Remove and replace what absolutely needed it. But when I pulled off the rotting fascia boards, I discovered that the beam behind them was showing its age. Sure, I could just cover it up until the next surface emergency—or else I could use it as an excuse to build the deck I’d always wanted. So, like many of your prospective customers, I’m at a crossroads. Patch it myself and buy a few more years? Cost: one afternoon and a $50 trip to the local lumberyard. I can hire a professional to do a long-term fix: disassemble a portion of the deck, swap out any aging pieces, then put it all back together again. Cost: about $1,000. Or, I can use my predicament as an opportunity to start from scratch. Which course of action I choose will, in great measure, be up to the deck contractors I bring in for quotes. Previous contractors I’ve dealt with seem to gravitate between two extremes. There’s the quick-and-dirty

guy, who usually has the lowest estimate, but is prone to taking shortcuts and using inferior materials. Then there’s his Highness, the King of the Contractors, who makes it clear you’re a cheapskate or a fool if you don’t build the biggest deck possible, using the finest components, sustainably sourced from the virgin jungles of Myanmar. And if you’re not willing to spend three times your budget, you’re not worth his time. If I encounter only these types of contractors, I’ll be inclined to, for now, kick the can on this project. What it’s going to take for me to commit to an extreme makeover is discovering someone who will work with me to find a solution that satisfies both my imagination and my budget. He won’t tell me what deck he wants to build; he’ll show me how he’ll create the deck I want to live on. The other bidders will present numbers and compromises. The deck builder I choose will dazzle me. He’ll get my business and, if he follows through, he’ll get my neighbors’ business, as well. Fingers are crossed that I’ll find The Perfect Deck Builder. Who knows? Maybe my new deck (and its builder) will be so impressive, they’ll catch the attention of the folks who put together Deck Specialist!

David Koenig is managing editor of Deck Specialist. Reach him at david@building-products.com

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INDUSTRY NEWS Tapco Phases Out Clubhouse

Tapco International is discontinuing its Clubhouse decking and railing product lines. Clubhouse was acquired by Tapco in February 2016 and manufactured in Metamora, Mi. Clubhouse serves the residential and commercial decking market as a manufacturer of PVC decking distributed through a network of two-step distributors and pro dealers. The decision to exit the decking and railing category was a business decision made so that Tapco can focus on its three main categories: siding and trim, shutters and accessories, and other related exterior building products. Since its acquisition last year, the Clubhouse product line has not shown a path to financial sustainability. Tapco and its parent company, Headwaters, were acquired by Boral Industries in May of this year. “While this is a difficult announcement, we are focused on remaining a market leader in our core categories and will be sharing positive product enhancements and new products in those categories in the coming months,” said Brian Below, division president, Boral Light Building Products.

Deckorators Dangles Pro Summit

There’s an exciting new incentive available to contractors who partner with composite decking/railing maker Deckorators—the opportunity to attend the Deckorators Pro Summit, an all-inclusive trip for top-selling installers. The trip will be offered to the top 10 Certified Pro contractors with the most 2017 Deckorators sales recorded to their rewards account between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2017. They will be invited to Fort Lauderdale, FL., for three days and two nights of education and leisure at Bahia Mar Resort Feb. 26-28, 2018. Deckorators will cover all airfare, lodging, transportation and meals for each qualifying Certified Pro. Educational activities will include a panel discussion and an exclusive preview of newfor-2018 products. Attendees can also earn

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Fort Lauderdale’s Bahia Mar Resort, site of the 2018 Deckorators Pro Summit

a continuing education credit hour from the National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and American Institute of Architects by completing a separate course on-site. Besides offering education, the summit will also feature recreation on the beautiful South Florida coast, including reef fishing and dinner at a waterfront catch-and-eat restaurant. The Deckorators Certified Pro Program encourages contractors who use Deckorators products to become trained as specialists. Upon completion of their training, they’ll earn points by tracking the products they purchase for their projects. Points are redeemable for promotional items or cash back. Certified Pros also receive a preferred contractor listing on Deckorators.com, have a direct line of communication to the Deckorators team, and are the first to know about new products and promotions prior to launch.

Cali Bamboo Chief Wins Award

Cali Bamboo co-founder and CEO Jeff Goldberg has been named Most Admired CEO by the San Diego Business Journal. This is the fifth year Goldberg has been named a finalist and his second time winning. The award recognizes CEOs’ achievements across a wide variety of industries, as they demonstrate leadership and vision within their company and throughout the community. The award was presented at a ceremony at the Hilton Del Mar in the category of Privately Held Company with 101 to 199 employees.


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INDUSTRY NEWS Bamboo Decking Plant on the Way

DassoUSA, Atlanta, GA., has announced its parent company has broken ground on a new state-of-the-art factory in JiangOu City, Fujian Province, China, to meet growing North American demand for its decking, siding and other fused bamboo building materials. The 1-million-sq. ft. plant will sit on 36 acres and should be completed by July 2018, with 400 workers and the capacity to produce 20 million sq. ft of recently developed “light-colored” exterior building products annually.

include water and ground contact—making Deckorators one of the only brands to stand behind installations in, or in contact with, water or ground. Featuring patented Eovations technology that allows virtually no water absorption, the lines are now backed by an industryleading 25-year structural, 25-year stain-andfade, and 25-year removal-and-replacement limited warranty that states the boards “may be installed in contact with the ground or submersion in water.” Coverage applies to both fresh and saltwater contact. “We believe in the technology behind Deckorators Vault and Frontier decking, and we’re excited to pass along that confidence to our dealer and contractor partners,” said Chris Camfferman, category marketing director.

Kebony Receives ICC Certification

DassoXTR recently held a groundbreaking for its huge new bamboo decking facility in China

DassoUSA is the company’s exclusive sales and marketing arm in North America, with a warehouse in Atlanta. Separately, DassoUSA is warning North American customers to be wary of selling counterfeit exterior bamboo products. It has received reports that several Chinese companies have begun exporting copycat bamboo products falsely claiming they are selling Dasso products under private label names. All Dasso products in the U.S. and Canada are sold through DassoUSA and every carton features the Dasso logo on the bundle.

Deckorators Expands Warranty

Deckorators is making a big splash with new warranty coverage for two of its composite decking lines. The warranty for Vault and Frontier decking has been expanded to

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Kebony has received International Code Council certification for its Kebony Clear modified radiata pine and southern yellow pine decking products. Kebony Clear decking in 22mm and 38mm thickness were evaluated under the ICC criteria for Division: 06 00 00—Wood, Plastic, and Composites; and Section: 06 05 73.13— Preservative Wood Treatment Section: 06 15 33—Wood Patio Decking. The products passed testing for preservative-treated wood, structural integrity, and decay resistance. “It was extremely important to us that we achieve ICC certification for our decking products,” said Kebony USA sales manager Andy Hehl. “The codes benefit public safety and support the industry’s need for one set of standards without regional limitations.”

Trex Enters Commercial Market

Trex Co., Winchester, VA., acquired the assets of Brooklyn Park, MN.-based SC Company, supplier of custom architectural railings and staging solutions. The purchase expands Trex’s reach into the growing commercial arena and serves as the foundation for the launch of its Trex Commercial Products subsidiary.


“We have been eyeing the commercial market for some time and are thrilled to have found an ideal entryway with SC Company,” said Trex CEO James Cline. “Beyond diversifying our business, this acquisition increases our internal capabilities with custom design and engineering, while also providing us access to—and credibility within—the contract architect and specifier community. Additionally, we foresee exciting synergies for further strengthening our position in the residential market.” Founded in 1990, SC has two product categories: SC Railing, which designs engineered railings for stadiums, arenas and other commercial construction, and Staging Concepts, which supplies staging equipment for performing arts, sports and event production.

Charity Show Home Features AZEK

AZEK Building Products is featured on the 2017 Pacific National Exhibition Prize Home in British Columbia. Sponsors such as AZEK provided materials for the modern, 3,100-sq. ft., Energy Star-

PNE Prize Home features an expansive outdoor living space built of AZEK decking

certified home, which was displayed in downtown Vancouver during the summer and is now being relocated to the heart of the Okanagan lakeside wine country, for use by local non-profits. Its AZEK decking is Autumn Chestnut from the Harvest Collection, protected with a proprietary capping to withstand the harsh Canadian climate.

KAYU® EXOTIC HARDWOOD DECKING Proven performance in the most demanding applications from coast to coast, year after year. Possesses an incredible combination of beauty, performance, strength, and durability. Class A Flame Spread Rating (same as concrete and steel). Reliable for low maintenance, longevity and durability. 100% clear grade; always inspected by KAYU exclusive graders. 100% Kiln dried for consistency. 100% natural & 100% organic with no preservatives or additives. Naturally resistant to decay, insects and mold.

Highest Quality • Excellent Value • Stocked Year Round Nation Wide CONTACT US FOR A LOCAL KAYU® DISTRIBUTOR

(503) 557-7296

www.kayu.com

KAYU® International, Inc.

11117 SW Greenburg Rd. Tigard OR 97223

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DeckExpo Preview

What’s in store for deck builders at next month’s combined R|D|J show in Nashville

DeckExpo will once again join forces with the Remodeling Show and JLC Live, to expose contractors to an even wider array of exhibits, education, handson training, and industry professionals to network with and learn from. The three-shows-in-one will be held Oct. 25-27 at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. Despite sharing space with general remodelers and builders, deck industry professionals will have much of the energy focused on them, with many of the nearly 300 exhibitors targeting them and benefit from most of the education tracks, including

DeckExpo Schedule Show Hours Oct. 26 ‑ 9 am - 5 pm Oct. 27 ‑ 9 am - 4 pm

Conference Program Oct. 25 ‑ 8:30 am - 5 pm Oct. 26 ‑ 7:30 am - 5 pm Oct. 27 ‑ 10 am - 2:30 pm

On-Site Registration/Badge Pick-Up Oct. 25 ‑ 7:30 am - 5 pm Oct. 26 ‑ 7 am - 5 pm Oct. 27 ‑ 7:30 am - 4 pm

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business, marketing, and deck technical. Throughout the exhibit hall leading industry professionals will conduct live installation clinics, interactive, hands-on

Day 1 Classes for Deck Pro’s Wednesday Oct. 25 8:30 am - Embracing Change in the Workplace 8:30 am - Manage Your Customer: Eliminate the Punch List & Get Paid Every Time on Time 8:30 am - Value-Based Selling 8:30 am - The Nuts & Bolts of Deck Engineering 10:30 am - How to Connect to Anyone, Regardless of Age, Background & Temperament 10:30 am - How Much to Charge… Estimating Made Easy! 1:30 pm - Managing & Mitigating Risk in the Estimating Process 1:30 pm - Prepping for the Sale 3:30 pm - Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working 3:30 pm - 10 Steps to Becoming a More Profitable Construction Business 3:30 pm - Leads = Jobs = Referrals = Jobs = Referrals = Jobs 3:30 pm - Building in the “Fast” Lane: Best Practices for Avoiding Costly Mistakes 3:30 pm - Recruiting Longterm Employees & Training Your Way to Freedom


LEFT: Dozens of clinics throughout the show will help deck professionals brush up on their sales, marketing, business and construction skills.

workshops, and product demonstrations. Simpson Strong-Tie, for instance, will replicate a deck collapse. Clinics range from handcrafting a wood deck to building a premium polymer deck surface. A dedicated area on the show floor, Tool Alley, will feature tool demonstrations, products available for purchase, and tool challenges pitting attendees against each other for bragging rights. At the Tool Alley Test

Day 2 Classes for Deck Pro’s Thursday Oct. 26 7:30 am - Hiring & Firing: Welcome to Your Next Lawsuit! 7:30 am - Time is Money: 4 Tools to Boost Profits 7:30 am - Storytelling Is the New Marketing 7:30 am - Professional Photographer: Shoot Like One… or Hire One 9:30 am - Profit as Seen from the Job Site 9:30 am - Residential Technology Trends that You Can’t Afford to Miss 9:30 am - Turning a Stranger into a Client 9:30 am - Business Planning 9:30 am - Leadership Opportunities in MultiGenerational Workforce 3:30 pm - Top 5 Industry Legal Risks for 2018: Protecting Yourself & Your Business 3:30 pm - Secrets to Building a Lead Nurturing Program 3:30 pm - Efficient Project Planning & Scheduling

Zone, visitors can take tools out for a test run. In addition to the conference program, NADRA will offer attendess to earn and maintain professional designations, including Master Deck Professional designation. Arguably most valuable, the event will allow attendees to network with thousands of other like-minded pro’s. Concurrent with the show, the North American Deck & Railing Association will also hold its annual meeting Oct. 26 at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Nashville. The event will feature a rooftop social and awards presentation for NADRA’s National Deck Competition. The day prior, on Oct. 25, NADRA will kick things off with its annual golf tournament at Hermitage Country Club, Old Hickory, TN.

Day 3 Classes for Deck Pro’s Friday Oct. 27 8 am ‑ Breakfast With The Experts 10 am ‑ What You Must Do to Make a Great First Impression 10 am ‑ Effective Jobsite Leadership 11:45 ‑ Recruiting Workforce Development Luncheon 1 pm ‑ 10 Steps to Help You Manage Your Online Ratings 1 pm ‑ 5 Powerful Words When Talking with a Prospective Client 1 pm ‑ Building & Managing a Sales Team

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LEFT: Instantly sustainable, bamboo forests can be replenished every five years.

OPPOSITE RIGHT: Using part thermal modification, part composite technology, the latest bamboo deck boards look like tropical hardwood, but with the performance benefits of manmade materials. (Photo courtesy of DassoXTR)

Bamboo Decking New generation of products shoot to thrive in the great outdoors By David Koenig

Bamboo is one of nature’s oldest building

materials—and for good reason. It’s strong, dense, renewable and grows like a weed. In fact, it’s like a never-ending forest that regenerates itself every five years. “Bamboo is actually a grass. It can grow up to 36 inches a day,” says Fortress Deck’s A.J. Jesiolowski. “It will reach full height within one year, although the best time to harvest is five to seven years.” Consequently, bamboo has long been a staple building material in Asia, particularly China. Yet, apart from on Gilligan’s Island, bamboo has yet to break through in the U.S. in exterior applications, such as decking. Manufacturers’ first attempts about a decade ago—strips laminated together into deck boards—

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LEFT: The railing is arguably the most visible feature of a deck. Choose wisely.

(Photo of TAMKO’s Marquee Railing System)

The Contenders Each type of railing has its strengths and weaknesses. Match the material to your highest priorities for the job.

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LEFT: In one form or another, today’s bamboo decking is a composite. (Photo courtesy Fortress Deck)

RIGHT: Composites that use bamboo in place of wood are denser, stiffer and heavier. (Photo courtesy Cali Bamboo)

failed miserably. “When bamboo decking first came out, it was all lower-end product made from side-pressed technology,” says MOSO’s Brett Kelly. “If you looked close enough, you could see all the strips. That early technology did not do well.” Early products were insufficiently resilient to moisture and, even more so, to insects. “Bamboo is nature’s Pixy Stix—a straw filled with sugar,” Kelly says. “Bugs love it. That was a problem.”

Bamboo X-Treme

BamDeck

Composite using compressed, heat-treated strips of bamboo Lengths: 6’ Colors: Natural Brown Manufacturer: MOSO www.moso.eu

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Manufacturers concluded they had to remove the pests’ food source and replace it with resin or plastic, creating some form of composite. There have been basically two different approaches. The first is similar to traditional wood-plastic composite decking, only using bamboo for the fiber component instead of wood. To make BamDeck, Cali Bamboo uses the reclaimed bamboo fibers left over from the manufacture of its solid bamboo products.

Capped Composite Lengths: 8’, 16’ Colors: Bronze, Caramel, Charcoal, Coffee, Copper, Graphite, Slate Manufacturer: Cali Bamboo www.calibamboo.com Fall 2017

dasso.XTR

Composite using compressed, heat-treated strips of bamboo Lengths: 6’ Colors: Natural Brown Manufacturer: DassoXTR www.dassoxtr.com


These fibers are mixed with recycled HDPE plastic (mostly drink cartons and laundry detergent containers) to form a mixture that is then moulded into decking planks of various sizes and colors. Using bamboo makes for a stronger composite, according to Cali Bamboo’s Laura Nieto. “Resistance to bending and sagging is key when deciding upon a composite decking product,” she says. “It’s especially important if the deck is going to bear a lot of weight like

Infinity Decking

Capped Composite Lengths: 12’, 16’, 20’ Colors: Cape Town Grey, Kona Sunset, Spanish Saffron, Tiger Cove Manufacturer: Fortress Deck www.fortressdeck.com

InnoDeck

outdoor furniture, a grill, a hot tub, or heavy snowfall. BamDeck is made of 60% reclaimed bamboo fiber and 40% recycled HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic. Those bamboo fibers make for a composite that’s at least 3.6 times as strong as (traditional WPC decking).” Fortress Building Products uses bamboo flour for its Infinity capped composite decking. “Our grinding process produces much finer particles,” explains A.J. Jesiolowski. “Wood results in more clumping, which can carry moisture. Bamboo is more homogenous.” He adds: “Bamboo has big advantages over wood. It is much more dense. It has high compressed strength, greater than wood, brick or concrete, and the same tensile strength as steel. And it has less oils than wood. “It installs exactly the same as wood-plastic composites, but with WPC, you pick up a 20-ft. board, it’s like a wet noodle. Ours is a little heavier, but denser and stiffer, so you can carry long lengths without bowing.” Infinity is dual-sided, with a hardwood look on one side and a distressed grain on the other. Jesiolowski said, “We searched the hardwood flooring market and discovered about 80% of the boards sold were distressed in some fashion, and whatever’s sold inside sooner or later comes outside.” The second approach to effectively incorporating bamboo into decking is to cook the sugars out, impregnate the strips with phenolic

Composite Lengths: 12’ Colors: Brown Walnut, Grey Concrete, Redwood Manufacturer: InnoTech www.innodeckus.com

xBeam

Composite Lengths: 12’, 16’, 20’ Colors: Chestnut, Coffee, Copper, Slate, Teak Manufacturer: ZomeTek www.zometek.com Fall 2017

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resin, and fuse them together. The binder is the same resin used to produce bowling balls, so the decking is, in effect, 87% bamboo and 13% bowling ball. The final product, sold into the U.S. by such companies as DassoXTR and MOSO, performs like a WPC, but looks more like an exotic hardwood. It also offers a Class A fire rating. Like wood, it can be left to weather to a natural gray or recoated every 12 to 18 months to maintain its darker, wood tones. DassoXTR sees its opening as a substitute for exotic hardwoods. “The future of bamboo decking is going to increase significantly,” says Avery Chua. “The field for our type of product will almost double each year. Tropical wood has a host of issues, such as the Lacey Act, to deal with. With tropical decking, it’s always a case of availability and demand. Too much demand and there won’t be sufficient availability, and if there’s too much availability, they may not have the demand.” But DassoXTR and MOSO have another challenge in bringing their products to market: they’re available only in 6-ft. lengths, unlike the 12- to 20-ft. lengths most other composites are sold in. The idea is to emulate hardwood flooring, with 6-ft. lengths and end-matched joints. “One person can handle a 6-ft. board,” says Fused bamboo decking producers are positioning their products as substitutes for imported hardwoods. (Photo courtesy MOSO Bamboo Products)

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MOSO’s Kelly. “We heard one contractor say, ‘I’ve never installed a deck so fast in my life!’ But we realize we’re fighting a two-front war— trying to introduce 6-ft. deck boards into the U.S. market and trying to sell bamboo as a viable exterior material.” Certainly, acceptance has not come easy. Bamboo has yet to crack even 1% of the overall North American deck market. And while some manufacturers are enjoying explosive growth, others have given up on the U.S. Smith & Fong, which introduced PlybooDex about three years ago, is now back to focusing on primarily interior uses, such as Plyboo brand wall paneling, ceilings and flooring. Shanghai-based Bamking made an even bigger push into the states about the same time, opening a Dallas, TX., office for Bamking USA and lining up distributors such as International Wood Products. IWP recently sold through its remaining Tru Bamboo inventory and understands Bamking is no longer operating in the U.S. Calls to the Dallas office were not returned. But the remaining players are confident. According to MOSO’s Kelly, “We watched our business double each of the past four years. This is a great industry, but it’s slow to change. We just have to be persistent.”


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More entertainment options are becoming popular such as outdoor grilling, entertainment, wine fridges, and fire pits. (All photos courtesy of Weyerhaeuser)

Top Drivers

for deck remodels & upgrades Here’s the good news for decking

specialists and remodelers: people are moving outdoors. According to The Freedonia Group, U.S. demand for decking is forecast to increase 1.8% per year through 2020. The better news is that this growth is valued at $7.1 billion. Want to get a piece of the “decking pie?” Then you’ll have to get inside the minds of homeowners. “There are four key reasons homeowners are currently making the decision to remodel an existing deck,” says James Carey, co-host of the On the House with the Carey Brothers home improvement radio show and website. “First, safety. When people look at their decks and see deteriorating deck

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By Kathleen S. Ziprik, Weyerhaeuser www.weyerhaeuser.com


boards or handrails, that raises a red flag for them. They don’t want an ‘accident ready to happen’ so they invest in deck repairs and replacement. “Second, appearance. From a ‘sense of pride’ standpoint, when homeowners see that their decking materials or finish have lost some of their luster, that’s when they pull the trigger on investing in a new deck. Third is the desire for an easier lifestyle. People may have a deck that requires a lot of maintenance and they’re simply tired of it. They’re looking for more durable, maintenance-free materials that will last longer and require less energy to maintain. “And finally, the fourth factor is the big opportunity for deck specialists: the expanded footprint. This is when homeowners need more space for entertaining or simply want to enjoy their existing deck more. They’re ready to add to their home’s footprint with entertaining and living space outdoors. Maybe this is on another tier of the deck, or even a new deck addition like a pergola or outdoor kitchen area.” Those four key reasons can be mimicked for homeowners adding new decks or replacing old wood decks. According to results from the 2016 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features, presented by the National Association of Realtors Research Department, 48% of consumers surveyed after completing a new wood deck said their top reason for doing the project was to add features and improve the livability of their homes. The second most common reason (38%) was to upgrade worn-out surfaces,

finishes and materials. Deck specialists looking to sell new decking to consumers can look at the “hot buttons” identified in the realtors study: enhancing the home and staying at home more. After completing the addition of a new wood deck, 77% of the homeowners said they have a greater desire to be at home since the project was completed. At the same time, 51% have an increased sense of enjoyment when they’re at home. “This research shows what we’ve known for quite awhile: there’s a growing trend in adding outdoor living space to homes that help move the indoors outside,” says Paul Mackie with the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. “Additions to the deck are growing as people embrace outdoor living more. These additions can include pergo-

las, outdoor kitchen grilling and dining areas, wine fridges and even fire pits. People are moving outdoors. They want to both enjoy their deck space themselves during quiet times and take the party outside for entertaining.” According to Mackie, the appeal of a cedar deck comes in its durability and deep, rich authentic look. Naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects, cedar can be stained or finished to complement a home’s siding and yard. While many homeowners are attracted to real cedar, a growing number of people are embracing composite decking materials. For some, the idea of having a composite deck to match up with fiber cement or vinyl siding rings out with the appealing call of “low maintenance.” “Just as a homeowner focuses on the aesthetic

Expanded Footprint: Homeowners are looking to add more open space to bring the inside out.

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appeal of wood floors inside their home, we know it’s important that outdoor decking space carries that natural wood feel to the outside,” says Shara Gamble with TAMKO. “We created the Envision Distinction product that provides specially blended color that can’t be replicated. The bold highlights and differentiation in every board provide a oneof-a-kind decking experience. “That luxurious, carefree decking experience is what

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homeowners are looking for these days. People need more living space, so they’re pushing outdoors. Adding or remodeling a deck increases a home’s usable space, adds value to the house and costs significantly less than building a new room to a home.” According to Gamble, the decking lifestyle is a tangible thing that homeowners are gravitating toward. “Whether it’s creating the deck as your own personal retreat at home for yoga,

or planning to experiment more with grill cooking, we know people feel good about investing in a deck,” says Gamble. “A deck specialist meeting with a homeowner need only ‘set the stage’ by talking about the multitude of possibilities for family entertainment when trying to upsell a deck. By explaining the options of adding seating areas, dedicated outdoor grilling areas or even a wood fire pizza oven, you can connect people mentally with


the elements that make deck living so attractive.” Both Gamble and Mackie agree that aesthetics, performance and low maintenance aspects are key players when it comes time for deck specialists to upsell decking materials. By painting the image of expanded living space and entertainment possibilities, decking specialists can gain more sales. “The deck is a retreat for a homeowner—even if just for 30 minutes a day,” says Gamble. “Because of that, people want to be surrounded by relaxing sounds and warmth. A key way for deck specialists to make those aspects materialize is by recommending unique deck accents, like fire pits, water features, garden planters, and other elements that people can relate to.” Another upsell opportunity comes in the form of railing systems to enhance the appeal of the upgraded deck. “To complete their easy-care deck experience, people want low maintenance railing systems,” says Janel Landis with

Weyerhaeuser Distribution. “There are many products on the market today, like the prefabricated vertical cable railing from Fortress Railing Products, that can perfectly accent a deck. “Depending on where you’re located, Weyerhaeuser Distribution offers a wide variety of railing systems to dealers across the country. Selections include products made of durable PVC, resinbased materials, aluminum and steel railings. Each have their own design assets plus offer low-maintenance features for homeowners to complement their deck material selection.” Whether a current deck has lost its luster or a homeowner is ready to take their decking experience to the next level, upsell products abound in today’s market for deck specialists to grow their business. – Kathy Ziprik is a public relations contractor for Weyerhaeuser’s distribution business. For more information visit www.weyerhaeuser.com/ distribution.

ABOVE: Wide open spaces with large windows blending the inside with the out are some trends being noticed in decking. RIGHT: As more homeowners want to spend time outdoors, the need for efficient lighting will increase, as will the desire for unique deck lighting systems.

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End to End

End grain sealers protect deck boards to the very end By Julia Yesler, DeckWise

Your deck building project is finally

done and you are confident that you have completed a top quality build from flashing to footings and proper and even gap spacing. You believe you covered every base thoroughly. But, did you seal the end grains? This step is often overlooked or simply not done by many builders. Leaving end grains of freshly sawn wood unprotected can lead to end checking, cracking, and wood rot. This not only causes material loss over all, but also a loss in potential profits. One of the most destructive forces outdoor decking boards must endure is both the natural loss of moisture and the intrusion of moisture. Even after drying at the mill, wood continues to lose its moisture over time. With unprotected end grain, moisture escapes at a faster rate than the surface of the board. If moisture escapes from ends too quickly, excessive drying occurs which leads to cracks and splits. Likewise, if exposed overly dry end grain absorbs any moisture, expansion could occur further damaging the end grain. Luckily, there is a remedy for all these potential threatening issues. Protect vulner-

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able end grains by coating them with paraffin or petroleum based (non-toxic) wax emulsion sealant. Simply brush or roll on to freshly sawn wood. All decking material, including exotic hardwood, thermally modified wood, pressure treated wood, and even composite decking benefit from this extra layer of protection. Pressure treated wood is one of the most common decking materials in the USA. Species such as yellow pine are treated with preservatives to ward off relentless attacks from Mother Nature. Treated lumber (PT), like most wood in exterior applications, is subject to the same stresses of swelling and shrinking caused by exposure to the elements. Even with their higher moisture levels, coating these woods with an end grain sealer is just as important to control the rate at which moisture is lost through the end grain. Thermally modified softwoods have been a popular decking material in Europe in recent years and they have begun to show up more here in the U.S. as a hardwood alternative. The heating process to dry the wood drastically reduces the moisture content of the wood leaving 1% to 3% moisture content. This makes


the wood stable (and brittle) but also creates empty voids inside the cell walls of the wood fibers. Leaving ends unsealed could allow intrusion of moisture due to the vulnerable cell structure. Sealing the ends of thermal woods as soon as possible is just as important as any other decking material. Think your composite deck is safe? Think again. Composite decks continue to soar in popularity with their (almost) maintenance-free mantra. Wood-plastic composites, WPC, are made from polymers, wood flour, and many other additives to stabilize the plastic. The wood flour component gives the material a wood-like feel but it also makes it susceptible to moisture intrusion and retention. Capstock decking was developed to prevent moisture intrusion on the surface by enclosing the board with a hard plastic shell. The problem is when the boards are cut for installation and the ends are left unprotected. Even with the most careful installation, water can seep between the butt joints causing them to flare out… permanently.

Even after drying, butt joints will never look the same again. Coating the cut ends of composites with a wax emulsion product will likewise help control the moisture infiltration and reduce flaring. End grain sealant should be applied as soon as any wood is cut where end grain is exposed. It is suggested to wait no longer than 24 hours. Before brushing or rolling on, make sure the end grain surface is free of sawdust and debris. Apply a generous amount of sealer until it almost drips off. Don’t skimp here—applying too thin of a layer will not provide enough

protection. Since this is a wax product, make sure to only apply to the end grain and not to walking surfaces if applying to decking material. Whether you choose to build a deck with exotic hardwood, domestic or thermally modified softwood, or even composite material, protect you and your client’s investment. By sealing and protecting end grain of any wood, you are extending the life of your project for years to come. – Julia Yesler is marketing specialist at DeckWise, maker of hidden deck fasteners and accessories, in Bradenton, FL. Reach her at jyesler@deckwise.com.

UPPER RIGHT: End grain sealant should be applied as soon as any wood is cut where end grain is exposed. LOWER RIGHT: That includes wood-plastic composites. (Photos by DeckWise)

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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

Rooftop plaza in the Dallas area was given a serene and sustainable upgrade.

Rooftop Sanctuary Pavered plaza gives way to modified wood decking When it was originally built in the 1970s, the rooftop Gardens by the Mandalay—set between two commercial building towers in Irving, TX.—was cutting edge for its time. But over the last 40 years the hardscape became dated and the gardens were no longer providing an inviting outdoor experience. The goal of the project, designed and built by Complete Landsculpture of Dallas, TX., was to improve and update the existing landscape and hardscape and to enhance the tenant experience and overall development of the garden while preserving the existing infrastructure. Creating an outdoor living experience for all to enjoy, and seamlessly tying together the indoors and outdoors was of utmost importance. 28

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Photography courtesy of Thermory


A large portion of the surrounding offices overlooks the gardens; therefore, it was critical to transition from a space that was mostly paved surfaces to a landscape design with visual interest. An outdoor kitchen, fire pit, koi pond, a beautiful fountain, and many artistic seating elements are just some of the amenities provided by the new garden. The sky-high location provided plenty of challenges. According to Santosh George, senior landscape designer for Complete Landsculpture, “The whole project is on a 38,000-square foot roof deck laid with concrete pavers on top of which we applied the rubberized materials, synthetic turf, and modified wood decking. We had to have a SkyTrak (telehandler) and cranes all the time on site to move the materials. We had to work with existing drainage pattern, so we had to create a 6-inch-by-2-inch weep hole system every 5 feet into the frame, directing the storm run to existing catch basins.” For the beautifully winding walkway that runs the length of the garden, the builder selected Thermory Ash Decking. The 23,306 linear feet of 5/4x4 thermally modified, grooved decking was installed with the manufacturer’s proprietary stainless steel fastening clips designed to absorb expansion and provide a

BELOW UPPER: Although the rooftop space was first intended to provide a respite of relaxation and nature within commercial surroundings, its most prominent feature was aging concrete pavers. BELOW LOWER: Plans called for overlaying the concrete with meandering wood walkways surrounded by artificial turf.

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LEFT UPPER: Coordinated outdoor kitchen and stone fire pit were built into the design. LEFT LOWER: Modified wood decking in grooved 5/4x4 dimensions provided a way both natural and resilient to connect all the elements of the space.

completely hidden installation. Environmental responsibility had always been a priority for the space. In fact, during the renovation, the building was preparing for LEED certification. Because of its Solar Reflectance Index rating, Thermory was able to provide LEED points. With a Class 1 Durability Rating, resistance to rot for 25 years, and reduced thermal conductivity (no hot feet!), the modified wood decking was an inspired choice. “We wanted to use a sustainable product that was long lasting with minimal maintenance through the year,” said George. “The

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deck path is applied very close—4 inches above the concrete surface—and our research said modified wood was the way to go.” His team truly took to heart the guiding statement of Ben H. Carpenter, the developer of the original structure: “We are merely the custodians of this property. None of us can take it with us into immortality; instead, remember that generations of others who will make Las Colinas their home (both business and personal) will follow us. Let them look back and reflect on the fine effort made by those who were its custodians during the development stage.”


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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

Building this multi-level deck provided plenty of challenges due to the cabin’s island location.

Island Adventure

Remote location forces deck builder to “design on the fly” Every summer, vacationers, many from

By David Koenig Photography courtesy of PHI Decks and Feeney

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nearby Minneapolis, flock to Crane Island on Lake Minnetonka, a picturesque enclave now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s about 9.6 acres housing about 15 vacation cottages, with no roads or bridges to the mainland; everyone and everything must arrive by boat or, in the winter, across the ice. The assignment for PHI Decks, of Plymouth, MN., was redesigning and replacing a series of multi-level decks that wrapped around one cabin— while the cabin itself was also being overhauled. Several different boats had to be used throughout the installation process to transport people, materials, tools and equipment to and from the island. Moreover, because of the large size of the project, a significant amount of “design on the fly” of the structures and systems was required to bring the project to completion.


The original plan was to roll most of the materials across the ice in the late winter of last year. “We had originally planned on making a few trips out during the winter, however there were some issues with the previous owners that didn’t allow us access until after ice out,” PHI’s Tim Brown related. “Instead we moved all materials, tools and people via a commercial barge, a homemade barge, and an old pontoon boat. Conveniently, there was a public launch within half a mile of the island that we were able to have our materials delivered to and then loaded onto the commercial barge to be moved out to the island. There is also a private boat launch near the island that we had access to and where the pontoon and homemade barge were kept. This is where we launched every morning and came back to in the evening. It was about a 15-minute boat ride and was the best way I can imagine to start the workday. I would guess we made at least 120 trips back and forth from the launch to the island.”

The team’s biggest difficulty was just the fact that it was on an island. They had to make sure to order enough material since it was so much work to ship materials out to the island. By the same measure, they also didn’t want to order too much, because they would then have to ship excess materials back. They also had to

Builders used barges and a pontoon boat to transport crews, materials and tools to and from the island.

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ensure they had all the tools they needed at all times since they didn’t have quick, easy access to their work trailer or trucks. To run back into shore and fetch something at the store was at least a two-hour trip. Many other subs were also working on the interior of the cabin, who frequently relied on PHI’s ferry services. “There were some days that we made a dozen trips to and from the launch or the private boat slip,” Brown said. “We spent an incredible amount of time running with the boats.” The plans called for a 750-sq. ft. main deck, which was redesigned to relocate and extend a portion of the stairs by 2 feet. A 250-sq. ft. upper deck on a flat roof was to be completely redone with standoffs, ipe deck tiles, and fascia-mounted cable rail. A 240-sq. ft. screen porch was to be redecked, new screens and rails added, and the interior was retrimmed. The final part of the exterior project was a 120sq. ft. side-deck off of the screen porch. And, finally, the deck builder was to add a small section of cable rail to the interior of the house along the stairs leading to the basement.

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For all of the main deck framing, PHI used Trex Elevations steel framing. “With steel framing,” Brown explained, “we were able to ensure a dead flat deck for years to come as well as able to achieve longer spans for beams and joists than we would have if we had been using wood. The steel framing was also significantly lighter to transport on the barge and took up much less room on the island while we were building. The amount of waste is also less with steel.” The decking itself was TimberTech Legacy Ashwood capped composite decking, except for the rooftop deck, which was 24-inch ipe deck tiles made by Bison. PHI installed all decking with Invisi-Fast hidden fasteners, selected because they offer the option of self-tapping screws for the steel framing in place of traditional wood screws. About 2,500 hidden fasteners were used, along with 500 Fastenmaster Cortex Drillers (plugged screws made for steel framing). All new footings were installed for the project. “Since we were on an island with a high


UPPER RIGHT: Feeney’s DesignRail railing with CableRail was selected by PHI Decks to maintain the view of the lake and woods, and enhance sightline visibility. LOWER RIGHT: Once completed, the decked-out cabin looked like a natural part of its surroundings. OPPOSITE LEFT: Trex Elevations steel framing was used for the main deck, providing longer spans, less waste, and lighter weight.

water table, we wanted to be very sure of the footings we were going to be building on, so we installed Techno-Metal Post helical footings,” Brown said. “Our installer made two trips to the island with his machine to get them all installed. He was able to install all of them but one, which was located next to a very large tree with too big of roots to get through. We decided we would be better off to redesign our frame than to risk killing the tree.” PHI framed the deck with over 175 lineal ft. of Feeney DesignRail, using fascia mount posts, a 200 Series top rail for the level sections, and 150 Series railing for the stairs. “The homeowner had seen a display of Feeney rail and really liked the modern look of it,” Brown shared. “We already had quite a bit of experience installing it and were comfortable using it on a project of this scale. One additional benefit of using Feeney over a welded or prebuilt style railing was the fact that all rail components came shipped on pallets which was much easier to transport to the island than fully welded sections would have been.” While PHI was busy building the deck, the entire cabin was also being remodeled. So

the deck crew spent five weeks straight on the site, then pulled off for a month, to allow needed portions of the cabin to be completed. They then returned for one more week to finish things up on the deck. The one-month break also provided time to receive products they didn’t realize they’d need until the last minute. Due to some outdated property surveys, PHI discovered it would have to redesign and rebuild the stairs for the main deck. “We built them based on the property survey that we had and that was approved for the permit; however, after they were completed, we discovered that the survey we had wasn’t correct and the stairs encroached on the property line setbacks,” Brown said. “Although the homeowner could have applied for a variance on that issue, he decided not to pursue it, as it could bring up more issues, as well as set the project back several months. We ended up removing the stairs, redesigning them for a better layout, and rebuilding them. In the end, it turned out much better than it was the first time around.” The completed decks not only provide an idyllic vantagepoint to view the woods and lake, they too are a beauty to behold. Fall 2017

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High-tech

deck building

Log into the latest planning tools By Stephanie Ornelas

One thing that outdoor living experts can

agree on is that technology is shaping the way we build and plan our projects. We live in a world that seems to never slow down, and companies are taking advantage of all the new innovations. While some may hear the word technology and think of mounted televisions and outdoor barbeques you can control with your phone, technology is playing a bigger role than just entertainment. 3D deck visualizers and digital mapping tools allow contractors to visualize a deck with their customers before materials have even hit the ground. Programs and apps are even allowing some users to map out their plans through something as simple as their mobile phones.

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OPPOSITE LEFT: Technology is improving the way contractors plan and build decks. Plott’s Miletus digital mapping tool creates a virtual reality reproduction of the build site. (Photos by Plott)

3D Design AZEK’s Deck Designer helps users create, revise and save as many interactive designs as they want before making a final purchase decision. Users can choose from hundreds of different design options to personalize their deck with easyto-use tools that put the latest trends at their fingertips.

3D web programs are becoming more popular as deck builders are finding that customers appreciate the convenience and many options they have at their fingertips. “By giving our customers the ability to visualize all the design possibilities including lighting, railings and color choices, they have greater confidence in their decisions and walk away with more satisfaction in the final product,” said AZEK Building Products CMO Julia Fitzgerald. AZEK’s Deck Designer tool helps contractors visualize their dream decks. The launch came after the company had started noticing a growing trend with its design applications. The program is just one example of how popular 3D product visualization is. Meanwhile, Atlantis Rail Systems has designed Bilt, an app that provides assembly instructions through a 3D and interactive format. Using stepby-step instruction on the company’s RailEasy components, users can learn how to plan and calculate as well as measure and install the system. Programs like these are becoming a trend as they are designed to help contractors better communicate and estimate projects for their customers. In a world where manufacturers are continuously employing the latest technology to continually expand the limits of what decking products can do, it stands to reason that the art of constructing the deck itself should evolve along with it.

Mobile Features Atlantis Rail Systems’ Bilt app gives time estimates, a list of tools needed, and the number of steps. A voice guide offers instruction for easy installation, and the app feature allows convenience to design from virtually anywhere.

Convenient Planning Adding to the convenience of deck planning, Miletus is a digital mapping tool that helps users to bring their deck designs from virtual to reality. Users simply roll the device along the outside of where they’re envisioning their deck, and the signal picks up the dimensions, sending them straight to your smart phone.


INSIDE LOOK

CSI: DECKING

Imported hardwoods get DNA fingerprinted Over the last decade with the development of markets for ipe and other gorgeous, durable imports, building decks of exotic hardwoods has come into the mainstream. Yet using foreign hardwoods come with a proviso: you need to know where the wood came from and ensure it was legally harvested and distributed. The Lacey Act—and the threat of hefty fines or even jail time for using illegally sourced timber—has forced the U.S. supply chain to pick and choose which hardwoods they use, and make sure they have the documentation to back up its permissibility. Yet there are still fears that the wood can be mislabeled, or its origin or species misrepresented. One Australian exporter, which recently began shipping decking into the U.S., claims to have the answer: testing the wood’s DNA. Trees, like people, have unique DNA, which can be analyzed and used to independently check document claims of species or origin. 38

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Simmonds Lumber was the first company in the world to utilize this method, developed by Prof. Andrew Lowe at the University of Adelaide in Australia and applied by Simmond’s third-party auditor, DoubleHelix of Singapore. “Our approach provides greater supply chain transparency all the way back to identified origin of harvest for every verified shipment,” said Mike Strang, Simmonds’ North American sales manager. “Compare this to conventional chain-of-custody certification, where in most cases it is not possible to identify the forest of origin. Wherever possible, scientific testing methods are applied to independently confirm claims of species or origin on paper documents. Documents can be tampered with at any point in the supply chain, so science is used to validate information where the risk of tampering is highest.” In addition to DNA testing, which is used primarily to identify wood species and origin of harvest where reference data is available, other scientific methods are also used. Isotope


LEFT: Australian company is testing the DNA of merbau and other hardwoods to confirm they’re legal to ship to North America. (Photo by DNA Lumber)

testing uses the unique chemical signature found in the wood to pinpoint the harvest region. Microscopic analysis, also known as wood anatomy, looks at the cellular structure of the wood to identify the genus (or in some cases species) it belongs to. The verification methods are customized to the unique risk profile of each individual product and supply chain. Key are Simmonds’ partnerships with overseas suppliers, cultivated over more than 25 years and including the biggest merbau mill in Asia with a capacity of up to 300 containers per month. Staff at Simmonds’ own Indonesian office in Surubaya grade and inspect all orders before and after manufacturing to ensure quality and consistency. Simmonds Lumber introduced “DNA Lumber” about 10 years ago as part of efforts to reduce illegal logging in Indonesia. It has since become a well known brand in Australia and New Zealand, and last year the company

began laying inroads to take the decking into North America. “From market visits and trade shows there has been genuine interest, which has initiated a red balau program into New England and the Southwest,” Strang said. “We are seeing interest growing as the market appreciates the DNA Lumber brand as a third-party verified product demonstrating best-practice due care.” In addition to red balau, Simmonds is also marketing bulletwood (an Indonesian species with properties similar to ipé) to North America and looking to expand to meranti and keruing. Decking sizes include 4/4 and 5/4x4 and x 6, plus posts, balustrades and other complementary products. Strang says the price difference between DNA Lumber and other certified imports is negligible, and he foresees a welcoming domestic market for scientifically verifiable decking. Fall 2017

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ON THE HOUSE

Communication is critical When we began our remodeling careers over 30 years ago, we quickly learned that doing good work wasn’t enough to guarantee a smooth project or a satisfied customer. We learned that quality craftsmanship and top materials were essential, but of equal importance is the overall customer experience. And, materials and craftsmanship aside, communication and managing customer expectations are absolute musts in having a smooth-running project and a happy customer. Achieving this goal can be best summed up in one word: communication. Communication doesn’t begin the day you start work on the project. It begins the moment you meet the client and should continue well after the project is complete. Before our company begins a remodeling project, we conduct a “pre-job conference,” which includes the project designer, project manager, and homeowner. We insist that all adults living in the home be present. During the meeting, we go through a checklist that includes information, which help the homeowner understand what to expect and to make sure that our entire team is on the same page. It also provides the homeowner with an excellent forum to ask questions. Some of the items on our checklist include: • Crew size, work days, & hours • Job sign placement • Job schedule • Material storage location • Debris storage location & removal methods • Job safety, pets & children • Home security & alarm systems 40

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• Who to contact in an emergency • Furniture, personals & dust protection— how to prevent “divorce dust” • Potential delays which could be caused by weather or product deliveries • Being prepared for “hiccups”—things don’t always go as planned • How to get through the project without tearing your hair out—allow us to do our job by focusing on the destination, not the journey • Reassuring the client that we will do our best to get their project done on time and in budget and that our goal is their complete satisfaction There is simply no substitute for excellent communication—between you and your client, and between you and your team. Everyone needs to be on the same page to make the experience for everyone as pleasant and professional as possible. Remember, communication doesn’t end after the job is complete. Reach out to your client from time to time so see how they’re enjoying their new space and if there’s anything they need. Don’t be surprised if during one of those calls they ask you over—not to make a repair— but to have a look at another project that they are considering. The Carey Bros.—James and Morris—are nationally known experts on home renovation and hosts of a weekly radio program and syndicated newspaper column, both titled On the House (onthehouse.com).


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BOTTOM LINE

The Process to Profit Part I: Marketing In my first article, I discussed project

size as an emphasis on profit overall and profit per day and the need for a business plan. In the second, I discussed product choices and leveraging opportunities to increase profits. Now, we will talk about processes. Why? Because it helps to generate profit. We will talk about it in three steps. Marketing process, quoting process, and construction process. You must have a working plan for all three, and an allocation of the sale price of each project for all three. Today is marketing day. Why do you advertise? Is it to get your name out there? Perhaps to get calls from people who want decks? Well, duh. You need jobs to stay in business. First and foremost, if you are marketing to get your name out there… STOP! You’re wasting your time—especially if your company has a name that is based on your initials or some unmarketable collection of letters. The days of “AAA” Whatever ended with the death of the Yellow Pages. Today, you need a name and messaging that will be remembered, not indexed. Something that clearly states what you do. Pick a name, but don’t blow your dough trying to get it

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out there. It is merely a name. It is a way for people who hear about your exemplary reputation to identify you. Your marketing needs to be a reflection of your performance, not your name. This has everything to do with the vehicles we choose to market our performance. Your message should be one of luxury, performance and satisfaction—how your service affects your prospect’s life, and why you are the best. I’m not a fan of discounts and coupons on marketing. Everything I ever looked at for marketing— from printed magazines to direct mail, home shows, Google Adwords, and websites—has a record of circulation and a record of demographics. You must become a pro at getting this information and using it in an actuarial equation. Who’s seeing the marketing, how many need what you have, how many need it now, and how many will call you. For example, I am looking at a direct mail cardstock mailer that goes into the mailbox of 2,000 homes, and the average home in this area is $200,000. Out of those 2,000 mailers, I want to speculate that 10% are potential customers, and that 10% of those are today


customers, and that 50% of those are able to buy from me. Let’s say the mailer costs me $2,000, or a dollar per house. Ten percent are possible customers, so now $10 per house, and 10% of those are today customers who actually call for a quote; that’s $100 per house. If I close half the prospects I see, my lead cost on this mailer is $200. The others that may buy in the future fold into compounding lead cost, and the returns on those depend on how many times you intend to use this mailer. Let’s not worry about the higher fruit and discuss the low-hanging fruit. I like to allocate around 3% for advertising expense from every job I built last year to fund this year’s marketing. This is a rule you can break. You decide what you want to spend, but get yourself a formula and stick to it. I’ve seen companies spend much more or much less. So, back to my math, let’s say the decks I am going to sell in that area where this mailer went are an average of $20,000 (remember the 10% of home value rule?), then I need to sell 3.3 projects or about $66,000 in gross sales to cover the lead cost allocated at $600 per deck to cover my $2,000 invoice for advertising. The gamble is will the phone ring? And then you actually have to be a good salesperson to close 50% of what you quote. In all actuality, I’m a bigger fan of pay-perclick ads. They have a fixed cost tied to the phone call, and are usually less expensive, yet not as well qualified. In the old days, anyone in the area you choose would see your ads on the search engine and click them. That cost money. Now, they are getting very good at demographics and who your ad is served to, and many have the click-to-call feature that puts the prospect right into your hands. You aren’t charged unless they call you, but it is higher. The ads are served oftentimes at no cost based on your willingness to pay for the clicks. The downside is the content of these ads may not be as descriptive of your performance as a direct cardstock mailer. Learn this method of advertising. It is a great thing to master, and you get to turn it on and off as you need leads, rather than having to ride it out. My opinion on home shows is not good, but others I know disagree with me. You must use

the math to determine your footprint and effort in a home show. If 800 people show up, who’s a buyer? They offer zero control over median home pricing and who wants to buy, and they are expensive to do. Finally, any forum where people will tell other people about how good you are is by far and large the very best advertising you could ever ask for. I had 50 reviews on an online membership-based “list” that were all stellar, and no negative reviews. The leads from this membership-based website were fish in a barrel, and this was virtually free. We had to be perfect craftsmen on the projects to get them, so there is a cost for this, but far less than the advertising buy. David Elenbaum has been in the deck industry since 2000, serving in retail, distribution, manufacturing and, of course, contracting.

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THE RAIL POST

Scrutinize your customers In our last conversa-

tion we talked about three main items that contractors often fail to do that can lead to wasted efforts, missed sales, and higher costs. We discussed the need to properly “read” a prospective client, the necessity to connect with the prospect in a way they can understand, and properly presenting relevant information to showcase their perfect solution reflective of their priorities and preferences. With this post we want to dive in on that first area— reading your prospect—and see if perhaps there are a few small refinements that can help you not miss important things— and make more money. There are a lot of questions that should be running in your mind as you interact with each new prospect. Again, this is NOT about segregating, discriminating or belittling anyone! It is NOT about being nosy, intrusive, or inappropriate. Rather, this is the basis for an honest and respectful investigation to best understand your prospect, in order to determine their priorities, needs, preferences

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and if (and then how best) you can present a proper solution that will satisfy their needs and honor their values. Like all good investigations, this one should start early, with the very first phone call or email that gets the ball rolling. While we’re typically working to present ourselves professionally and get some up-front project and/or budget information, how that information is offered back to us begins to paint the picture of the prospect themselves, which gives us clues for how to best interact with them. For instance, was it a neat and well-formatted email with a project diagram attached and references to specific other projects you’ve done sent from their work email address at a prestigious law firm… or was it a rambling run-on sentence that appears to be a harried spouse doing the bidding of someone too busy to set up an appointment, and doesn’t even know exactly what they are supposed to be asking you for? Was the tone of the call/email polite and respectful… or were you treated like an indentured servant from a lower caste? Did they answer all your

questions when asked? Assuming there were no great “red flags” in the initial conversation, and a meeting is set up, now begins the next stage of reconnaissance, as we take any “early clues” and compare them to the “facts on the ground.” As you pull up to their house, take note of the age, make and condition of their cars, and how they’re parked. Four old, broken-down vans filled with trash might be concerning—but two freshlyleased Mercedes might be just as worrisome as well! Consider the condition of their yard. How well it’s


maintained, and if the landscaping layout is professional or hackneyed, and any apparent priorities that are represented by the landscape selections such as a lot of tall shade trees, or privacy hedges along the border are all clues to your prospects needs. Are the front walkway and porch inviting and welcoming, or barely functional and unadorned? How do they answer the door? Were they ready and waiting with a legal pad of notes and print-offs of past projects, or were they apparently roused from slumber, and standing there in some semblance of a bathrobe wondering “who are you again?” Do they let you in to talk, and offer you a cup of coffee/tea/water, or did you get to awkwardly stand on the porch attempting to make conversation? If you’re inside the house, is it a spartan display worthy of an IKEA catalogue, a wellloved home filled with toys and pictures, or a dark cave filled with boxes of “things” and cat litter boxes on the kitchen counters? Do their eyes light up as they paint the picture of that project in all the colors and glory of how it will improve their lives, or is it a crisp, cold and clinical description of the area to work on, detailed down to the inch? Okay. I think you get the picture! It’s not about the project, it’s about the person (or persons) that will be making the decision, and who anticipate living with your handiwork. The more you can understand just who they are, how they think, how they live, and what drives their purchases and their values, the better your chance of a successful, financially beneficial, and rewarding interaction! Next time we’ll focus on how to take this raw intel and refine our conversation, non-verbal communications, and our project presentation in order to capitalize on our understanding of these prospects, and present their “better than imagined” solution. Matt Breyer is president of several companies, including a family-owned residential remodeling business that specializes in designing & building outdoor living spaces. Fall 2017

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STACKING THE DECK

True cost pricing to protect your bottom line Like many deck spe-

cialists, I cut my teeth hauling studs and throwing 4x8 sheets on new construction job sites. During my time framing homes, I learned firsthand the advantages and efficiencies of production framing and how building the same plans over and over becomes routine. While Henry Ford’s assembly line has evolved, the founding principles remain the same: a line worker—or in our case, a carpenter—will perform tasks faster and better the more times he/she repeats the same task. It’s a matter of efficiency. The more often we repeat a

process, the more skilled and efficient we become. So, how does the assembly line relate to the deck builder? This article highlights how the principles of production construction can lead to efficiencies with material and labor, and generate more accurate and confident pricing through standardization. Bottom line: increase your bottom line and reduce price estimate “burns.” My framing days ended thousands of decks—and many years—ago, but what I learned from new home construction has guided me to

become a better deck builder and smarter business owner. Over the course of the past 10 years, my team and I have developed a builder deck program that operates with five national builders as well as a handful of smaller homebuilders and landscapers. Our program provides turnkey, high-quality deck builds that our clients can market as custom add-ons and include with the overall project price. The advantages to the homeowner? Not only do they get a superior product over a typical homebuilder deck, the price of the deck can be rolled into the mortgage, and the deck is completed before move-in. This year, my team will complete over 300 builder decks, essentially building the same plans repeatedly. Not only does this process help pinpoint our costs, consoliAT LEFT: Standardized deck build program offers benefits for volume tract production as well as for individual decks. RIGHT OPPOSITE: Using the program for standardized designs can help improve your estimates as well as your bottom line.

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date materials, and save labor, it has greatly increased our capacity for overall growth. We utilize the knowledge and benefits from our production deck program and translate those efficiencies into pricing for our custom design division. So, how did we do it? Ten years ago we stopped recreating the process by changing our mindset from “building deck after deck” to “building the same deck repeatedly.” We tracked the actual length of joists and beams we were cutting and produced a cut sheet in addition to plan drawings. By cutting the framing members exactly the same size every

time, all of the layout, rail sections, and post placement stayed consistent from deck to deck. Within a season or two, we had eight to 10 “standard” decks that we had completely itemized down to the screw. Each standard had exact quantities and sizes of each component and we had an exact dollar value for each size. Next, we started tracking site time for our standard decks and were able to get a good approximation of labor costs for each size deck. While there will always be variables in labor (weather, personnel and site conditions), when we averaged the good with the bad over multiple builds of the same size deck we could dial in a cost per square foot for labor on all of our different size standard decks. If you are bidding your projects per square foot, I strongly suggest you take the time to track the actual costs of different sized decks. My team and I were surprised at how much more cost effective some decks were to build compared to others. Waste on composite decking, railing cutoffs, and how much deck space per footing will swing your cost per square foot

considerably. For example, 12x16 and 14x14 decks are about the same size but come in at a significantly different cost per square foot when 16’ composite decking and 8’ rail panels are cut down to fit. We still bid per square foot, but we have different multipliers based on overall size and add in factors for sizes that generate waste. By incorporating total material costs with average labor per square foot, we were able to establish our base price per square foot for 10 different sized decks. Not a guess, or an estimate—a true cost based on a history of actual materials used and average man hours spent. Most of you will have no desire to land contracts with homebuilders—nor am I advocating it—but we have found our standard costing system to be a great benefit to our custom deck division as well. It’s by no means a one-sizefits-all approach; however, with this information, our team is better equipped to generate an accurate price for custom-designed projects at the initial client meeting. Our client is happy to have an up-front estimate, and we have the confidence our numbers are in check. This industry has so much diversity market to market: regional preferences, average deck size, preferred materials, and colors. Regardless of the geographical region, product or size you are pitching, the price is ultimately what your client wants to know. Take the time to accurately track your costs and develop your own true cost pricing formula that relates to your business and preferred projects. Even if your projects are never exactly the same, by spending 30 minutes recapping your actual materials and labor expenses you will gain a much better understanding of your company’s true price per square foot. Walking into your next appointment with the ability to accurately price at the table will set you apart from the competition and protect your bottom line. Pat Noonan is the owner of Deck & Basement Co. and Pro Deck Supply, Minneapolis, MN. He is a proud NADRA member with over 25 years of residential construction experience. Fall 2017

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SET THE STANDARD

CREATIVE BORDERS

Draw on artistic details

In today’s revitalized economy and marketplace, most contractors have experienced a surge in business, and with this ever-changing landscape in outdoor living products, our only limitations are our imaginations. By nature, many deck specialists are artists and craftsman searching for ways to hone their skills and take their reptutations to the next level. Five years ago, when a client was asked what was more important, price or design, the common response was, “I’m on a limited budget and just need a place to put my grill, a table, and some chairs.” Conversely, today’s clients are seeking a little more flair and pizzazz out of their outdoor living space. Size, lower maintenance, multiple colors, picture frame borders, and other amenities have become hot ticket items. As business has picked up, so has the volume of competition, and deck specialists everywhere are finding new and better ways to separate themselves from the unimaginative masses. Today’s composite and PVC manufacturers have made this a rather simple process, requiring only a little research and creativity. They are producing boards that have the option of solid or multichromatic coloring, providing contractors and their clientele a vast array of design and price options. One of the simplest and most visually appealing of these options will be the picture frame border, whether it’s a single, double or triple, allowing designers to incorporate contrasting accent colors at very little expense. With straight decking, the average crew can add this feature to a project in 30 minutes or less; in almost no time at all you’ve created a 48

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wow factor that will set you well above your competition. On larger decks, that border can be incorporated into transition boards or inlays between decking patterns, allowing the craftsman to eliminate unsightly butt joints. As one example, creative contractors are going from an octagonal corner on a deck to completing the visual outline into the deck pattern with the border board giving the appearance of a full octagon without having to change levels and losing useful deck space. Going a step further, that same accent color can be incorporated into a deck board rail cap feature. Clients will thank you for being forward thinking and providing them with a place to set plates, drinks and other implements on their railings. Our experience has even shown examples of the border colors being used as the stair treads, really tying the deck and colors together. A good approach is to offer it as an option when presenting your initial base design. When clients see how much nicer your deck will be for only a few dollars more, you already have a leg up on the competition. You have displayed a uniqueness that others are either unwilling or incapable of providing. After all, you are Deck Specialists and should continue to “Set the Standard in Excellence.” With 35+ years experience in construction, Brendan Casey, with his wife Dianna, launched Casey Fence & Deck, Frederick, MD., fulfilling a growing need in the outdoor living market for an innovative and creative custom builder.


It’s a SNAP! Double the decks. Double your money. Cutting deck installation time in half is a snap with Step-Clip™! The Step-Clip™ system is easy and fast to install, so you can double your deck installations — and double your money. Our clips install easily with a roofing nail gun or hammer. This means less kneeling or bending up and down for you, not to mention no need for spacing or grabbing for fasteners. Decking installation is a snap — with the Step-Clip system!

See it Live at R/D/J 2017, Booth #1444

Patent Pending

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Do it once. Do it right. Do it DuraLife.


HOW TO

A step-by-step guide to deck finishing

In most situations we would recommend treating a brand-new deck with specific wood protection, since wood is particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of moisture transfer during its first year. If allowed to weather naturally with no protection, it is likely to take on and release moisture at a rapid rate, which can lead to warping and splitting. In contrast, if new wood is treated immediately with the majority of wood protection treatments, then they will not be able to fully penetrate the wood and will therefore not be able to perform at their best. This is because new wood is coated with a hard, shiny surface known as mill glaze, which prevents a finish from entering the wood.

Step 1: Prep the deck

For any finish to perform properly, the most important process is preparation, and, like finishes, there is a wide choice of preparation

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products to choose from, all of varying quality and effectiveness. When it comes to looking for a cleaning and preparation product, you need to consider what you’re looking for and how to prepare the deck. Decking can be split into three basic categories: new, weathered unfinished, and previously finished. While the preparation process required will depend on one of these three categories, it will be the same for all wood types—pressure treated wood (PT), cedar, heat-treated, hardwood, etc. With new decking we face mill-glaze, tannins and manufacturing chemicals. Mill glaze is created in the milling process whereby the cutters close the grain of the wood and the heat generated draws any of the woods natural oils/ saps to the surface where they dry as a glaze. Tannins will give the wood a greasy feel, which can repel the finish or prevent it penetrating the wood, while the tannins in some woods such as iroko have anti-oxidants in


them, which can slow or even prevent a finish from drying. Chemicals such as waxes primarily used on PT will prevent a finish from penetrating or adhering properly. Even the chemical used for the preservative itself may leave traces of salts on the surface, which can effect on the finish. All of these factors, whether individually or combined, will have an effect on the performance of a new finish and must therefore be removed or substantially reduced. Except for wax-impregnated woods, which can only be prepared chemically, there are two ways we can remove these issues: • While sanding will leave a beautifully smooth finish, remove any mill-glaze from the wood and open the pores; it will not remove any excess tannins nor will it degrease the wood. On greasy wood such as teak, the sandpaper is likely to become clogged very quickly, necessitating regular changes. Nothing finer than 80-grit paper should be used for this process to ensure the wood’s pores are properly opened. • The alternative—and our recommended option—is to chemically prepare the wood using an alkaline cleaner (undiluted) or stripper (diluted). For wax-impregnated timbers, an alkaline stripper should be used, and in all cases the wood neutralized afterwards with an acid based cleaner. While this does mean wetting the wood and allowing it to dry prior to

applying the finish, chemically preparing the wood does have several benefits over sanding. It is quicker, removes the mill glaze, opens the wood’s pores and washes away excess tannins allowing the finish to penetrate properly or adhere more affectively. It also allows a finish to be applied to woods, which contain anti-oxidants as it removes these from the surface, thus allowing the finish to dry properly and to be used on grooved decking. Many people believe that weathered decking cannot be restored but nothing could be further from the truth. Unfinished weathered decking, that is decking more than 12 months old and has turned silver in color, can, with the correct process, be restored to its original color and then finished. Which system is used will depend on the condition of the deck. • Decking that is several years old and has never been finished will not only have a heavy layer of weathering but almost certainly have areas of algae and other contamination; all these need to be removed before any finish can be applied. In these cases, a powerful alkaline cleaner followed by an acid based cleaner to neutralise the surface is the perfect solution. Giving a deep down clean, the alkaline cleaner will remove the weathering and any algae etc. from the surface, while the acid cleaner will bring back the woods’ original color. • For decks that have been allowed to weather 12 months, a good quality acid-based

OPPOSITE TOP LEFT: Most wood decks should be finished to protect them from the damaging effects of moisture. AT RIGHT: Prior to finishing, products like PrepDeck can be used to reduce mill glaze, remove dirt, and strip surfaces. (All photos courtesy Owatrol)

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cleaner the ideal solution; effectively removing the weathering and dirt so restoring the woods’ color and leaving a bright clean surface that is ready for finishing. Decks that have previously been finished will always offer the greatest challenge. Factors such as how long the deck has been left between maintenances, whose finish was previously applied, who did the original work, what condition the finish is in and what type of finish was applied—penetrating or film building—will all dictate the process required.

All oil and stain should be removed from wood decking before applying a new finish.

• The easiest is the regular maintenance contract, where the same product is applied, a simple matter of cleaning with a good quality acid based cleaner and topping up the finish. • A more challenging issue is where the deck has not been maintained and the finish is in poor condition. In these circumstances, we would always advocate stripping using a sodium hydroxide stripper, neutralizing with an acid-based cleaner and starting again, this way you can be confident of the finishes’ performance. It is highly unlikely that one can establish what finish was originally applied and where one can it is likely to be in such poor condition that cleaning and re-applying will not give a satisfactory result. This is particularly evident where a film building finish has been applied and one should ask

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the question “How well is the remaining finish adhered?” Even after proper cleaning, applying the new finish directly on top is likely to lead to a poor look and possible peeling issues later on. It’s highly unlikely to be the new finish peeling but the original finish that has broken away from the deck taking the new finish with it. If a penetrating finish is being applied then it is imperative that the deck is stripped, so the new finish can penetrate and perform properly.

Step 2: Protect the deck with a finish

Leaving semi-transparent and opaque finishes aside for a moment, the finish chosen whether it’s oil or water-based should penetrate into the wood rather than create a film on the surface. A finish that creates a film on the surface will scuff and wear off leading to an unsightly looking deck, especially where the wood becomes exposed to the elements. Many deck finishes on the market have little or no penetration and while the manufacturer may state that the finish is scuff resistant this will be of little comfort to the client if after six months or less they are starting to see wear marks on the finish. This will lead to the inevitable call-back for the contractor and the subsequent costs involved in correcting the situation. A finish that penetrates the wood will gradually fade and weather down as it is exposed to the elements and especially the sun’s UV rays, giving a more even look to the finish. Products that penetrate the surface will not peel or flake since there is nothing on the surface to do this. High quality oils will replace those lost by the wood in the weathering process and restore the natural look of the wood, especially exotic woods. They may also contain additional UV filters, which offer increased protection against the sun’s UV rays, the main cause for wood turning silver. Water-based finishes tend to be colored, varying from a very pale honey to a teak color. The addition of a color gives increased protection against UV rays, adds color to the wood or maintains its natural appearance depending on the chosen color and the type of wood it’s applied to. These finishes also help to prolong life between each maintenance period and maintain the look of the wood. Another benefit with a finish that penetrates the wood is


that while the surface will lose color overtime through exposure to UV rays there is still product in the wood protecting it and when it comes to maintenance it is simply a matter of a cleaning and top up, to restore the look of the wood and the finish. This is something that cannot be done with the lower cost alternatives. Whether applying a water-based or oilbased finish, my advice is to look for one that is applied wet-on-wet, that is to say that once the first application has gone into the wood you apply the next application and continue this process until the wood can accept no more product. This type of application ensures that the wood is not only protected at the surface but also within the wood itself and thus maximum protection is achieved. When it comes to semi-transparent and opaque finishes, these should not only create a film on the surface, to give the color but also penetrate into the wood, whether this is through method of application or because they contain an ingredient which penetrates into the wood that the subsequent color coat can then bond to. A high-quality semi or opaque stain will not only bond “in” and “on” the wood

but will also offer good scuff and wear resistance, with some of the better ones offering a warranty against peeling and flaking. The benefit of an “in” and “on” product is that the first application acts like a primer, thus ensuring greater adhesion of any subsequent coats unlike other finishes that just sit on the surface and can quickly start to peel or flake especially if the preparation process was inadequate. As for any finish, best performance is achieved when applied to a correct and properly prepared surface. While a high-quality finish will always give the better performance even on a poorly prepared surface, in order to get the very best from the finish it is essential that the correct preparation is carried out. Thomas Rathbone, technical advisor for Owatrol Coatings USA, is an expert in the cleaning, finishing and maintenance of decking, siding and other exterior wood products, while also running his own contracting business. He advises Owatrol’s customers on how to restore and maintain decking.

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NEW PRODUCTS

AZEK Building Products teamed up with Walpole Outdoors to design its new polymer material Pergola Kits. Their new co-branded website, azek.com/pergolas, showcases the kits’ distinctive beauty, durability and long-lasting functionality. The kits are the perfect solution for homeowners and contractors looking to add a classic design element to their property in a quick and easy way. [www.azek.com/pergolas]

Intercorp’s new Strong-Shield coated fasteners offer over 40 times the corrosion resistance of zinc. They will attach metal to metal in roofing, patios, mezzanines, framing and more. To prolong the life of the fastener, they feature a four-layer protective barrier, consisting of layers of metallic zinc, hex-chromium passivation, nano-coating, and high-grade anti-corrosion chemical conversion film. [www.intercorpusa.com]

Milwaukee’s new Redstick storage bags for its line of box levels provide professional deck builders with the ability to protect their equipment and keep it in good condition. Available separately, or as part of Starter and Master Sets, the new cases are constructed of tough, water-resistant 600D nylon for maximum durability when sliding in and out of areas such as truck beds. All-metal integrated tool loops and a carrying handle provide added versatility and easier transportation. [www.milwaukeetool.com]

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Simpson Strong-Tie is now offering new load-rated sizes of its Deck-Drive DWP wood screw in stainless steel. The fastener is designed for use in decks, docks, boardwalks and high-exposure environments that require exceptional corrosion resistance and higher loads. An ideal solution for most exterior wood-to-wood fastening applications, the screw is engineered to provide fast, easy installations. Now with larger load-rated sizes, it’s also recommended for structural connections. [www.strongtie.com]

Armadillo composite 2x4s with capped radius edges provide the strength and durability needed for any deck project combined with the look of natural beauty. With versatile colors like Campfire, Canyon Gray, Java and Rustic Red, the 2x4s are fully wrapped with a capstock coating and are designed to be fade and stain resistant. [armadillodeck.com]

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ACCESSORIES & TOOLS

Stains & Finishes

Cutek

(800)with 677-7930 Superdeck ExteriorCelebrate Wood Stripper the outdoors right Chicago Brick Eco Chemical Stainoven, Superdeck Transparent Stain – 10 colors Oven’s Neapolitan-inspired wood-fi redFence pizza cutekextreme.com ___________________________ Pressure Treated Stain – 6 colors now off ered in a pre-assembled, portable model. (844) 442-8835 Semi-Transparent Stain 64 colors The–Americano model is best suited for cooking Cutek Extreme – 10 colors FloodFlameRoll Company Exotic Hardwood – natural, cherry, walnut atStain all temperatures. Its lightweight metal Cutek ProClean Stain Remover flood.com Semi-Transparent Waterborne Staina– 100 colors for high, concentrated heat dome creates vacuum ___________________________ (800) 321-3444 Waterborne Stain 7 colors for– professional pizza-cooking performance. CWF-UV Clear Wood Finish – cedar, honey gold, DeckMAX Deck & Dock Elastomeric Coating – 55 colors natural, redwood deckmax.com Solid Color Stain – 80 colors [www.chicagobrickoven.com] Pro Series CWF-UV5 – 7 colors DeckMAX E2 PVC Deck Revitilizer Duckback Composite Cleaner CWF Oil Pentrating Oil Wood Finish – cedar, DeckMAX Professional Grade PVC Cleaner Duckback P-3 Peeling Paint Primer natural Concentrate ___________________________ Pro Series CWF Multi-Surface Waterproofing Composite & Wood Deck Cleaner Dumond Chemicals Clear Sealant DeckMAX PVC Revitalizing Wipes dumondchemicals.com ___________________________ Pro Series CWF Hardwoods – 8 colors (800) 245-1191 Pro Series Spa-N-Deck – 6 colors DeckWise Peel Away Deck Cleaner Pro Series Semi-Transparent Alkyd/Oil Stain – deckwise.com Peel Away Deck Restorer 40 colors (866) 427-2547 Peel Away Deck Brightener Pro Series Semi-Transparent Acrylic/Oil Stain – Ipe Oil Hardwood Finish Remover 40 colors Heat up your deck project Peel withAway theDeck powerful Ipe Seal End Grain Sealer ___________________________ Pro Series Solid Color Stain – tintable to over Copper Finish Commercial Patio Heater by Cleaner & Brightener 120 colors FireSense, featuring a Piezo ignition system and EaCo Chem Deck Restoration Kit Pro Series Resurfacer Acrylic Stain – tintable to wheels for easy mobility. ___________________________ eacochem.com over 120 colors The stylish copper finish accents and enhances (724) 656-0753 Pro Series All-Purpose Deck Wash anyProducts patio décor and its superior patio heater is Duckback LCS Water-Based Stripper Pro Series Wood Cleaner perfect for all outdoor entertainers. superdeck.com ___________________________ Pro Series Wood Stripper (800) 825-5382 [www.fi resense.com] Spa-N-Deck Finish Coat Superdeck Exterior Wood Cleaner Eco Chemical ___________________________ Superdeck Exterior Wood Brightener ecochemical.com

Do You Buy Hidden Deck Fasteners or Construction Lags? We Guarantee the Best Quality and The Best Price! Call or email us for details!

See us at DECK EXPO Booth #941

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Deckorators’ Dexerdry weatherproofing system enables deck builders and contactors to create dry zones under raised decks and eliminate water issues from ground-level decks. The system makes it possible to add extra outdoor living space and storage areas knowing they will not be affected by precipitation from the above deck structure. Simple and easy-to-install, the proprietary polymer extrusion is uniquely crafted to fit snugly within the slotted edges of Deckorators composite decking, creating a water-tight seal between boards.

Wolf Outdoor Lighting is now offering an assortment of easy-to-install deck and rail accent lights in all of its building products service areas. The new line adds beauty and ambiance to any decking or railing layout with a simple “plugand-play” assembly. You can create a variety of configurations without the need for wire cutting, electricians or permits. [www.wolfhomeproducts.com]

[www.deckorators.com]

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The backyard just got even more relaxing with Trex’s new line of highperformance outdoor living products. The company is expanding its popular Cape Cod outdoor furniture collection with new seating and dining pieces to enhance any outdoor living area. In addition, several new and classic Cape Cod pieces are now available in four new vibrant colors (green, teal, red and blue), as well as the traditional color palette. [www.trex.com]

Feeney has introduced a Single Corner Post for its DesignRail aluminum railing system with CableRail infill. By requiring only one post in corners instead of two, it lowers overall material and installation costs, and provides a more open feel and view. The post is pre-drilled with horizontal slots, allowing cables to easily pass through a 90˚ corner. [www.feeneyinc.com]

Atlantis Rail Systems has designed its NOVA II railing, featuring powder-coated aluminum posts, handrails and foot rails, plus horizontal cable infill. The infill utilizes stainless steel HandiSwage fittings with 1/8” cable. Offered in black, white and bronze, the system is among the simplest and most economical cable rail systems available. [www.atlantisrail.com]

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Post Cap Maker Extends Production Deal Atlanta Post Caps, Decatur, GA., has renewed its deal to have Tech Mold manufacture its patented post caps. Atlanta Post Caps specializes in ASA resin fence post caps that are guaranteed to outlast comparable wooden products on the market.

Advantage Buys Brazilian Hardwood Mill

the existing certification for all of its other facilities. The new mill will provide rough blanks for processing at the kiln-drying facility, which produces decking, deck tiles, hardwood flooring, beams, and other FSC certified products.

Design Software Notches 4 Million Users

MiTek’s DIY Technologies announced that over four mil-

lion projects have run through its web-based deck design system to optimize their designs and generate material lists and permitting documents. Since 2015, 4,049,147 projects have been registered by users of DIY Technologies, the underlying technology that powers USP Deck Designer. MiTek projects an additional 2.5 million projects will be registered in 2017.

Sustainable hardwood decking producer Advantage Trim & Lumber Co., Sarasota, FL., has purchased a new sawmill in Brazil, located just a few miles up the river from its existing kiln-drying and processing plant. The new mill will be named Lumber Queens, recognizing “the rapidly rising role of women in our company and the industry,” explained VP Betty Pelc. “For centuries, the industry has been dominated by men, and for the most part they have done a fine job, but I think women have some long-overlooked ideas for production, distribution, treatment of workers, and ecology that surely will change the way things get done.” The new facility houses two separate sawmill lines that will process a combined 34,000 bd. ft. of hardwood lumber per shift. A nearby port for receiving barges can carry up to 850,000 bd. ft. of logs at a time. The grounds will include a 10-acre log yard that will stockpile up to 3 million ft. of logs, allowing production to continue throughout the rainy season. The company is working to obtain FSC certification for the new mill, to complement Fall 2017

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DATE

ADVERTISERS INDEX

PLANNER

All-Coast Forest Products [www.all-coast.com]

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North American Deck & Railing Association Annual Golf Tournament

Atlantis Rail Systems [www.atlantisrail.com]

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When: October 25 Where: Hermitage Golf Course, Old Hickorty, TN. What: This kick-off event leads into the start of Deck Expo. Registration includes greens fees, cart, practice range, shotgun start, lunch, longest drive contest, closest to the pin challenge, awards and raffle prizes. More info: nadra.org

Deck Expo [remodelingdeck.com]

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Remodeling Show | Deck Expo | JLC Live When: October 25-27 Where: Music City Center, Nashville, TN. What: R|D|J provides thousands of deck builders, remodelers and other industry professionals with a vibrant exhibit hall filled with nearly 300 products and services, a strong educational conference program with business and jobsite training, and networking events every day of the event. More info: remodelingdeck.com

International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo When: November 1-3 Where: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. What: North America’s largest industry event covering all segments of pool, spa and outdoor living. More than 525 manufacturers, including decking, railing, fencing, fasteners and patio covers, cover 138,000 square feet of exhibit space. World-class education sessions and networking events begin October 31. More info: poolspapatio.com

Greenbuild When: November 8-10 Where: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Boston, MA. What: The world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building brings together renowned speakers, thought-provoking sessions, LEED workshops, and an exhibit hall crammed with the largest array of the most innovative, environmentally friendly building products on the market. More info: greenbuild.usgbc.org

Deckorators [www.deckorators.com]

Cover IV

Digger Specialties [www.westburyrailing.com]

43

DuraLife [www.duralifedecking.com]

49

Feeney [www.feeneyinc.com]

41

Great Southern Wood Preserving [www.yellawood.com]

5

Green Bay Decking [www.greenbaydecking.com]

9

Kayu International [www.kayu.com]

13

Key-Link Fencing & Railing [www.lovemyrail.com]

23

Koppers Performance Chemicals [kopperspc.com] Covers I, III Lonza Wood Protection [www.wolmanizedwood.com]

31

MoistureShield [www.moistureshield.com]

7

Regal Ideas [www.regalideas.com]

55

Remodeling Show [remodelingdeck.com]

61

Simpson Strong-Tie [www.strongtie.com]

Cover II

Superior Plastic Products [www.lovemyrail.com]

23

Sure Drive USA [www.suredrive.com]

56

Trex [www.trex.com]

3

United Treating & Distribution [www.unitedtreating.com]

59

Weyerhaeuser Co. [www.weyerhaeuser.com/woodproducts] 11 Wild Hog Railing [www.wildhograiling.com]

45

Building Industry Show When: November 15-16 Where: Orange County Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa, CA. What: More than 1,500 industry professionals are expected to attend this year’s event, checking out vendors’ exhibits, mingling with fellow builders, and discussing new job prospects. More info: buildingindustryshow.com

COMING NEXT ISSUE in the Winter 2017 issue of Deck Specialist

NADRA Deck Contest Winners Outdoor Lighting Deck Expo Recap & IBS Preview

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IDEA BOOK

inside out Remodeling contractor CQC Home had a steep order: convert a steep, graveled surface behind a Chapel Hill, N.C., home into an outdoor living space that could be used to entertain guests year-round—but looked like a natural extension of the high-end indoor living environment and required no annual maintenance. To add to the pressure, the clients consisted of an executive with more than three decades of experience in the building materials industry and his wife, an interior designer. CQC delivered an 1,800-sq. ft. outdoor living space with cable rail, screened-in porch with motorized screens, custom exterior-grade cabinets, cedar ceiling, and masonry fireplace. The weightiest decision would be the choice of decking. What had caught the client’s eye was an ad for Royal Building Products’ Zuri decking. “I couldn’t get over Zuri’s realistic appearance,” he said. “The nonrepetitive woodgrain pattern looks just like exotic wood; if you didn’t know it wasn’t wood, you’d never know the difference.” Featuring a cellular PVC core capped with a clear acrylic and photo-realistic woodgrain print, it’s engineered to resist stains, fade, rot and natural wear. CQC spent a week laying the deck and creatively using the boards for decorative trim, built-in benches, and a border inlay that helps define seating and dining areas.

ABOVE UPPER: Natural cedar ceiling meshes perfectly with exotic hardwood-look decking. ABOVE MIDDLE: Cable railing provides a touch of modernity, while maximizing the view. LEFT: Zuri decking combines the natural beauty of exotic hardwood with the durability and low maintenance requirements of PVC. (Photos by Royal Building Products)

Submit photos of your latest and greatest project to ideabook@ building-products.com

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A GREAT DECK STARTS FROM THE GROUND UP.

kopperspc.com ©9/2017

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DECK

SPECIALIST 151 Kalmus Dr. Ste. D200 Costa Mesa, CA 92626-5959

Change Service Requested

CONTEMPORARY IS THE NEW CLASSIC.

See more at:

Deckorators.com/GoBeyondOrdinary DECKEXPO BOOTH 1100 OCTOBER 26 & 27 NASHVILLE

Deck Specialist Fall 2017  

Quarterly trade magazine for builders and contractors specializing in high-end outdoor living projects.

Deck Specialist Fall 2017  

Quarterly trade magazine for builders and contractors specializing in high-end outdoor living projects.