Danny's twenty-year-old deck now looks brand new, thanks to the new decking and railing he built with the following Titan Building Products.
Titan Wood Post Anchor™, Snap'n Lock Balusters ™, Shadow Rail Connectors™
Danny, the owner, and DIY builder took advantage of the summer of 2020 to give his lake house deck a whole new look and life. And he did it all by himself!
The framing and foundation were still in top shape even after twenty years of Canadian deep freeze winters and sweltering hot summers. But the deck boards and railings were finished.
The 2"x2" balusters were face nailed to the fascia and the posts had no protective post caps so, it was certainly time for an upgrade. And that's exactly what Danny did and you can too!
Danny has lived his entire life near the shores of Lake Wanapitei, surrounded by the beautiful boreal forests of Northern Ontario in Canada. Lake Wanapitei occupies a meteorite crater near the mining city, and Nickle Capital of the world, Sudbury, Ontario.
He loves fishing, boating, hunting, snowmobiling, and now, enjoying the fruits of his labor by spending time with family and friends on his new lakefront deck.
Danny was kind enough to share with us his deck building experience using our Titan Wood Post Anchor™ and other cool products like our Snap'n Lock Baluster ™system, and our Shadow Rail Connectors™.
We also learned a few of the following little Canadian secrets.
Like a true Canadian, Danny likes to wear a “toque” (pronounced “two” – que), fire burning saunas and using the word “eh” as you will enjoy if watch the video below :)
Danny's lake house deck is close to 800 square feet in size. It wraps around the east and north side of the house and has a set of winding staircases.
It is a very large structure and the choice of materials to use often comes down to a homeowner’s budget. Using a capped composite deck board and rail system would have been a huge expense and out of the question for many folks. So brown treated lumber was the chosen material for the decking and the railing posts and frame.
To make the deck last even longer Danny did a little research and found our Titan Wood Post Anchor™ and decided to match it with our sideways installed Snap'n Lock Baluster™ system and our hidden Shadow Rail Connectors™.
Once the decking was removed Danny just got to work installing decking. And since he was using the Titan Wood Post Anchor™ all he had to do was install a couple flat 2"x8" in the joist below the location of each post.
There was no need to do any complicated blocking techniques using different fasteners and connectors. Instead, Danny just went ahead and installed the decking starting from the front of the deck and then working towards the house.
Surface mounting the 6"x6" wood posts with the Titan Wood Post Anchor™ also meant there was no need to notch deck boards around each post and the posts were elevated 5/8” above the deck surface so they will stay dry and free from rot for their lifetime.
Posts set into dark joist bays can be susceptible to rot if you live in a wet moist climate. With this set up Danny’s posts are going to be the last wood posts he will ever have to install!
Danny used 6"x6" posts instead of the more common 4"x4" posts. The larger posts look grand and compliment the size of the deck and its overall vast lake front environment. Each post anchor has a series of counter-bored perimeter holes for the deck screws to go through and leave a flush finish.
There is a ton of snow on Lake Wanapitei during the winter months so, Danny opted for our galvanized and powder coated two-piece snap fit post skirts to protect the post and give the deck a professional finished look.
Danny's 2"x4" rails took on a sleek look when they were attached to the 6"x6" posts using Titan’s polycarbonate Shadow Rail Connectors™. All the screws are hidden inside and are the same shape and profile as the 2"x 4".
Such a professional clean look.
One thing to remember when using really wet lumber is to let it sit for a few days in a covered area so it can acclimate to the ambient humidity.
This is important and even more so if you are using larger dimensional lumber like 6"x6" posts for your railing.
Because large posts have more moisture in them. They shrink more noticeably and so it's critical to make sure they are stable by the time you install them. A soaking wet 6"x6" treated post might shrink ¼”. If you've cut your rails to the correct gap at the start of installation and the posts shrink afterwards, you can end up with gaps between the 2"x4" and your connectors or your posts. (see image)
This can happen no matter what kind of connecting method you use. So be aware of this and again, be sure to let your wood sit under cover for a few days to air out before building with it.
Everyone knows, because of what went on during 2020, that anyone building a wood structure faced demand challenges in the building materials industry. Many mills shut down temporarily either because demand was not predicted to be high early in the year or there were employees who became infected with the virus.
Then demand kicked in hard by about April or May and mills were playing catch up all summer long. Trees were going from logs to treatment facilities as fast as possible and lumber was arriving that was soaking wet, up to 30% moisture content.
Lumber prices soared and the wet wood required a bit more attention before you could build with it. (see Builder's Tip above)
The baluster system of choice for Danny’s deck was the sideways installed Snap'n Lock Baluster™ System. It’s our patent pending connection system with a high-end elegant appearance that is so simple and fast to connect a child could do it. And NO extra hands are required - it really is a one man job!
If you look at Danny's deck it is not only beautiful and functional, but it is not complicated. It is an L shape deck starting on the east side with a built-in hot tub and then wraps around the north side facing the lake. The grade has a steady consistent slope and so rather than exposing the entire foundations and beam structure beneath the deck, Danny tastefully built a skirt of 1"x6" vertical boards with a gate on one side to permit access under the deck when needed.
You can also see that on the east side there is a small set of stairs reaching down to a nice sweeping concrete slab walkway. Also not shown in the photos and beyond where the hot tub sits is a driveway that meets the deck at the front of the house and they meet at grade level. The house is built on a hill sloping steadily to the lakeshore.
A winding set of stairs from the north side to the walkout basement patio doors connects the two levels.
The other subtle design feature you might consider with a deck that has a large expansive space is to introduce an elevation change. Here you can see the last portion of the deck is about 7” higher and this separates the area below which features a screened in metal gazebo and table and chairs from the upper area where a gas grill is located near the kitchen sliding patio doors.
Danny was kind enough to send us lots of photos and videos. Watch the video and hear him describe his personal experience working with several of our Titan Building Products.
When Danny was finished this huge project, he wanted us to know that he spent some well-deserved time relaxing in his outdoor, fire burning sauna with a few cool refreshing beverages enjoying his little piece of paradise in Northern Ontario.
Watch the video and enjoy hearing his deck building story.