This deck with a railing and pergola coming off the patio doors is a huge improvement from the simple 4'x6' wood porch with 2x2 picket railings the original builder gave them when they bought their new home ten years ago.
Now they have a private area with shade from the pergola leading down to an open lower deck for relaxing and entertaining with family and friends.
This project went up quickly and is built to last because it was built with products from Titan Building Products. Their deck building hardware and tool solutions are simple to use and specifically designed to keep the wood elements drier and less susceptible to rot.
Alex Gauthier is an enthusiastic up and coming builder from Ottawa. He enjoys taking on new challenges and building indoor and outdoor renovations of all kinds.
Alex strives to be efficient in order to deliver a well built, long lasting, product that keeps his labor costs and budget tight and most importantly his customers happy!
Alex quickly removed the old porch which was secured to the concrete foundation with steel brackets. All sod was removed using a rented sod cutter.
Geotextile landscape fabric was laid down along the outline of the deck.
Next, gravel (½" minus) was put on top of the fabric, raked smooth and leveled.
All footing locations were marked, and an 'X' was cut in the fabric for the auger to clear. Beams for a small upper deck were set parallel to the house. Beams for the lower deck were run perpendicularly to the house.
Since the site was essentially level, each footing was very close to level with each other. In cases where the elevation varied, shims were placed under the beam to ensure all beams were level to each other.
The joists in the lower deck were secured to each beam with joist hangers to achieve a flush finish. This reduced the height of the entire deck frame by 7-½" (a 2x8). This technique allows the deck frame to sit very low to the grade (as little as 2" above grade).
This takes more time and attention than just resting a frame on beams but was the perfect and subtle design feature that made this backyard look so good.
Notice that the front and back rim joists extend past the last beam by about 18". The blocking fills the joist bay, and the deck now hides the outermost footings creating a floating look.
Joist tape was used to protect the structure from the wet snowy Ontario winters. It was also applied around the beam sitting in the post bracket where it is always dark and generally takes longer to dry after wet periods.
That lighter colored board is a ½" plywood spacer to fill the gap between the post bracket and beam.
There are lots of tapes available that work well. Alex used a product called G-Tape which works well in all climates and is very clean, easy to tear and handle.
To do this right, you should know exactly the number of deck boards needed, their width and the spacing between each board (ideally 3/16").
From that number subtract the overhang from the fascia and then you can determine the width and length of the frame.
To learn more about this check out our article by Richard Barnett of Ottawa, Illinois
You can see how Alex used another technique to prevent water from collecting and dripping down the fascia which often creates ugly stains and discoloration over time.
He smartly ripped a ¼" deep about ½" away from the edge of the first deck board. For an extra ten minutes of effort, this will help keep water from hugging the underside of the decking and dripping down the fascia and a better-looking product for the long haul.
For a more detailed discussion about how to do this read this article on decking and fascia tips.
Both decks were framed, and the decking was installed using a toe-nail screw technique for a hidden fastener appearance. The look of this new deck is now starting to come together, and you can almost feel it!
Look closely and you can see the attention Alex put into the way he installed the decking to create a picture frame look.
Picture framing of deck boards is a very nice way to tidy up any deck, but you often see mitered corners to frame the decking.
The problem with using wood decking for mitered corners is the variance in shrink rates across the width and the length of a board. You often see a gap growing between the two boards at the inside corner.
So, to address this concern Alex used a butt joint technique to picture frame this deck. And the look is beautiful and there is no need to worry about the joints separating over time.
The posts for this pergola were surface mounted to the deck using Titan Wood Post Anchors with blocking between the joists under the decking.
A simple but elegant design was used for the 2x8 beams, 2x4 vertical joists.
Alex chose 2x4s to lighten the appearance of the top of the roof in general. He placed the 2x4s closer together to allow just the right amount of direct light versus shade for this site's exposure to the sun. Using 2x6s as the joists would have made this pergola look a bit too tall and top heavy.
We think the balance is just right.
Snap'n Lock Balusters™ were used for the infill of this deck railing. They install sideways and snap and lock in place. They are so much faster and easier to use than the plug style alternatives. Plus, they are both stout and elegant at the same time. People are raving about the Snap'n Lock system.
This was a 36" guard rail, so the 25" length balusters were used. The upper and lower 2x4 rails had a 25-½" gap for the connector bases. A flat 2x4 cap rail (drink rail) was installed on top. Although not required, the posts were finished with clean two piece snap fit galvanized metal post skirts.
With the Shadow Rail Connector, you can enjoy the full beauty of a wood deck railing with the most elegant looking 2x4 rail to post connection there is.
And better yet, it doesn't matter who you are.
The Snap'n Lock Balusters™, Titan Wood Post Anchor, Titan Deck Foot Anchor are DecksGo Recommended Products. They are the ones that we are confident you will be happy with.
DecksGo was the first company to bring this product to the market and you can expect greater "first" moments like this.
This is what we do - try to bring you leading edge building solutions before anyone else.