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Building a deck on my house


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  1. #1
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    29th November 2011
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    Building a deck on my house

    I've decided to replace the existing 10'x10' deck that came on my house with a more useful 12'x24' deck. I've drawn it up with SketchUp and am very happy with my design - there will be a lot of built in seating on the railing, stairs to the patio below, an area for a grill that will be permanently piped to the natural gas line feeding my fireplace, and I plan on building this with my dad (who has a lot of experience building decks).

    I'd like to avoid getting the wood from a big box store such as Home Depot or Lowes, because I've heard the lumber they sell isn't usually fully cured and will be more likely to warp a lot within a couple of years on a deck than fully cured wood purchased at a lumber yard.

    My problem is that I've never delt with a lumber yard before and I don't know if this will be a pleasant experience or a huge hassle. There are a couple around the area I live in so I guess I'll just go talk to them and see what happens.

    I'm hoping:
    1) they will deliver all the lumber free, or with little added cost, since I don't have access to a large enough truck for what I need
    2) they sell 24' long lumber which is only twice the price of 12' lumber, instead of being a lot more expensive.
    3) they sell all the anchors and other hardware I'll need - but if not I have no problem making a trip to Lowes
    4) they can guarantee me that all the lumber I buy has been fully cured and will not warp.

    Any thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    24 feet lumber , good luck to find them, I can have a small mill make them on special order, but they will not be treated for sure. Aside I don't see why go 24 feet, you will need support , 24 feet is too much span.
    Gerard Gagnon

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  3. #3
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    29th November 2009
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    I build a 20x20 deck on my last house - all 2x4 redwood. There was one lumberyard that had everything I needed. I did get my concrete forms from Home Depot though. I used 2x4x24' pieces - I did not have them deliver because they would have picked the worst boards and sent them my way. I picked through all of the lumber to take what I wanted. They were slightly peeved, but if I'm paying for the board I want it to be fairly straight.

    A 24' long piece of lumber is generally more than twice as expensive than a 12' piece. Rarely will you find a place that just sells it by the board foot, regardless of length. Finding a straight tree for 24' is a lot harder than growing a bunch of 16-18' trees and milling them out of that.

    You won't find any place with a guarantee that the lumber will be cured and warp free. Not in this day and age. I built a huge timber-framed lodge where I worked 5 years ago. We were using 12x12x24', 12x24x36' and similar sized timbers. The best we could get from the mill was that it was RFKD (radio frequency kiln dried) to a moisture content of 10%. Even 4x6's and 8's would warp when it got humid out. Your best bet would be to switch to an engineered wood product (Trex, and the many analogs) if you don't want the wood to move on you. The deck I'm building now is built out of that because I wanted to avoid those issues. More cost, but worth it.

    Edward

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Area66 View Post
    24 feet lumber , good luck to find them, I can have a small mill make them on special order, but they will not be treated for sure. Aside I don't see why go 24 feet, you will need support , 24 feet is too much span.
    I'm guessing he doesn't want splices in his deck, or is doing a diagonal pattern. I don't think he's looking to span 24' just end supported.

    Edward

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaHybrids View Post
    I'm guessing he doesn't want splices in his deck, or is doing a diagonal pattern. I don't think he's looking to span 24' just end supported.

    Edward
    Correct. I'm not doing diagonal, I just wanted to avoid two pieces end to end if I could avoid it. When deck boards warp and the ends curl up in the middle of a deck it looks really bad.

    If they do cost significantly more than twice a 12' board I'll just go with 12' boards and stagger the ends around.
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  6. #6
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    I did a cost comparison of Trex vs Redwood, and even though Trex has higher initial cost- there is less maintenance over the life of the deck. And, 5/4 board you can hold down better. I prefer not to paint wood, as it creates sanding and repainting later on...

    Edward

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    Correct. I'm not doing diagonal, I just wanted to avoid two pieces end to end if I could avoid it. When deck boards warp and the ends curl up in the middle of a deck it looks really bad.

    If they do cost significantly more than twice a 12' board I'll just go with 12' boards and stagger the ends around.
    If you are building a 12' X 24' deck, is there any reason the boards have to run the 24' length? Is it just that it looks more pleasing that way?
    Bob Harrington
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  8. #8
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    You could also cheat your deck closer by 1.5" and in the middle you could do a half lap joint - that way it holds down and won't curl there. I don't think anyone would notice the 1.5 square feet missing. Once you get a table saw setup the half laps would go very fast. You would also probably want to glue them together to keep moisture out of the joint.

    Edward

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobH48 View Post
    If you are building a 12' X 24' deck, is there any reason the boards have to run the 24' length? Is it just that it looks more pleasing that way?
    You mean instead of them all going in the 12' direction? The 12' joists under the deck are attached to the house at one end, and cantilevered over a beam 10' away. Since all the joists are perpendicular to the back of the house, the deck boards will be running parallel to them in the 24' direction.

    Having 24' deck boards isn't a requirement at all, I was just hoping to avoid the seams if I could.
    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    You mean instead of them all going in the 12' direction? The 12' joists under the deck are attached to the house at one end, and cantilevered over a beam 10' away. Since all the joists are perpendicular to the back of the house, the deck boards will be running parallel to them in the 24' direction.

    Having 24' deck boards isn't a requirement at all, I was just hoping to avoid the seams if I could.
    I've never built a deck, but I know the one at my Parent's house has seams in the boards. They do not look unsightly in the least. Just try and offset them, so there's not a large row of seams where your boards ran out.
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  11. #11
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    Here's some images from my SketchUp design.

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    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
    *******************************************

  12. #12
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    8th July 2011
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    This summer I will be replacing the rotten boards on the southern deck of my house. The deck is 14 years old and gets thrashed by the winter storms. If you decide to use wood, instead of Trex, be sure to get fir, cedar or redwood lumber (treated or not treated, thats your choice) and not hemlock. Hemlock rots out real fast. You can ask for specific woods at the lumber yard. Good luck and watch your fingers.

    Nice looking deck.
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  13. #13
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    What is your expected loading on the deck? How are you attaching to the house?

    Edward

  14. #14
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    Nice design. Like others have said, finding 24 ft lumber may be a challenge. Once you find it, getting straight untwisted wood is another matter. If it were me I'd look at a combination of 8's and 16's alternating as you lay them. Screw everything and predrill everything and you'll minimize cracking and such --esp the end cuts. Oh yea, even with new wood you should clean up the ends just a tick. Remember a little spacing between the planks so they can grow or contract in the weather. I tend to overbuild my decks just a tick--pays off in the end, so don't short yourself on material.
    Last edited by hornet driver; 4th June 2013 at 07:19 PM.
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  15. #15
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    27th April 2009
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    We built a deck that would have required about 30ft lengths. Instead we went with 20 ft'ers and picture-framed the area from the kitchen door to break it up. Just an idea.

    Jeroen.
    Last edited by Jeroen_at_CTI; 5th June 2013 at 04:50 PM.

  16. #16
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    A word about Trex that they don't tell you. My GF's sister and husband built a huge (and I mean HUGE, as in three levels) deck out of the browish stuff. After a couple of seasons, the deck took on a mottled or spotted look. turns out the stuff molds or something. Any part of the floor that had a throw rug over it was fine. Everything else looked like a cheetah. They tried washing it, and it either changed the color or the spots came back quickly. Then they did a little googling and found out that the problem is very widespread. I think it was only on their particular style, but I'm not sure. YMMV. And beware. Here's a linky: http://lieffcabraser.com/defective-p.../123/trex-deck

    Adrian
    Last edited by jd2cylman; 4th June 2013 at 08:59 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    Here's some images from my SketchUp design.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A couple of comments on your design... When I built my current house four years ago and added a 1500 sq. ft. deck (you can see the deck and hot tub island on a raised level extending to the right in the picture below), I considered built in benches/seating areas and then opted against it. I am glad I did as you can never predict how people will interact in an outside space. I would say when we have had people over more times than not, they have used the deck rails as "bars" and faced outward in speaking to people that were in the yard below. The second thing, I would not put a "cut out" for a grill. Why? My experience is, that as I have gotten into grilling, my view 5 years ago does not fit my view now. Now, I actually have two grills, one pellet grill that is both a grill and oven and one large gas grill that that is both a grill and stove top for frying, brazing, etc. This takes up a corner of one level of my deck. I could have never (EVER) imagined that configuration 5 years ago and (BOY!) am I glad I didn't pre-fix the space I would use for grilling.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #18
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    29th November 2011
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    Just over a month later and due to family schedules and other things beyond my control the build has been delayed until the start of August. But that's given me time to do some tweeks on the design and pre-order the hard to get stuff. I've also already completely removed my old 10'x10' deck leaving a door with a very long first step out of it!

    My 3 main posts under the deck will be 8x8, which were fairly expensive and required 4 weeks to order. Then the 3 8x8 post anchors which are made to hold pressure treated wood are nearly as expensive!! Insane. The rest of the materials will be fairly reasonable.

    Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to pour the footers for the posts under the landing in the stairs. I'm using 10" cardboard tubes buried with just a few inches sticking above ground, and then filling them with concrete topped with a post anchor. They'll be fully set up by the time I get around to starting work on the deck.
    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
    *******************************************

  19. #19
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    28th October 2009
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    For decking material, I've had really good experiences with the ChoiceDek composite decking from Lowe's. Its less expensive than Trex and we used it building a residential dock and after a few years it has held up great, even in a marine environment. Composite decking can mold, especially in shady areas with overhanging trees. The best way to prevent mold is to wash and scrub the deck with bleach (deck cleaner is just rebranded expensive bleach) every year to 6 months. If you do that it will look great for years and years. The trick is to keep up with it, because my parents let their composite deck go at least 7 years without cleaning and now I can't get all the spots off. It is maintenance, but its way easier compared to putting down stain/water sealer every season. And then you eventually have to resurface/flip the wood boards which is an even bigger project.
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  20. #20
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    Looking at you picture

    That looks like it will be very nice.

    I didn't understand that you were planning something that would be elevated so high, but I have to say that the relative lack of supports shown in your drawing makes me a little nervous. I know that you don't want a forest of support posts underneath (you probably have plans for that space?) but I also fear that if you put all that deck weight on only a few posts, and one of them gets damaged or shows sign of decay, you are going to have way more problems repairing or replacing a highly-loaded post.

    I recommend you take a look at a few more posts under that beam, and that you move the beam to mid-span and add an outer (perimeter) beam with more posts. (Yeah, I know, lots of posts.) Those beams themselves need to be good and sturdy, as in a tripled laminate of 2x8 or 2x10. I think you will be much more happy walking around on a solid, well-supported deck than you will be on a bouncy one.
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  21. #21
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    One more thing

    Is that a concrete patio below? Is it existing or will it be new?

    Do you know that you will need some good (large) supports under those vertical posts? If you build on top of an existing patio (they are usually poured only about four inches thick) it is VERY likely to crack and move under those new posts.

    If it is an existing deck, it will be well worth your time to cut some holes where the posts will stand and pour a new footing. If it is not too late to tweak the deck design, it would be worth it to make the ends reach a foot further so you can take those support posts down past the edges of the existing patio where you can pour footings without having to tear up the patio at those spots.
    When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for the others.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by powderburner View Post
    I recommend you take a look at a few more posts under that beam, and that you move the beam to mid-span and add an outer (perimeter) beam with more posts. (Yeah, I know, lots of posts.) Those beams themselves need to be good and sturdy, as in a tripled laminate of 2x8 or 2x10. I think you will be much more happy walking around on a solid, well-supported deck than you will be on a bouncy one.
    The patio was poured last summer, but I had them dig down in the far corner to make a built in footer. The other two posts will be set on the same place where I've cut off the metal posts that were already in footers, so when I fill the hollow metal posts that are below the surface of the patio I'll be able to install a post anchor in those locations.

    As far as the strength of the deck, the posts are 8x8 and only about 10 feet high. On top of them I'll have a triple 2x12 beam, and all the joists will be 2x10 on 16" centers. The far end of the deck will also have a triple 2x12 beam to reach that farthest post. There will be no bounce on this deck.

    Anyone interested in following along on a deck build thread when I get started on it in a few weeks?
    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
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  23. #23
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    9th February 2009
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    Mushtang,

    I rebuilt my deck a few years ago with Ipe wood (a brazilian hardwood). Replaced the decking and rails. See pictures at:

    http://davemorey.fototime.com/IPEDeck

    The wood is very hard and dense (it sinks in water). Cost is high compared to pressure treated, but so are all the other options. Supposed to last longer than I will! Naturally rot resistant. Weathers to gray, needs no maintainence except for cleaning. If you want it to keep it's beatiful brown color it needs work, like any other wood. I was able to buy long boards > 24'. It spans more distance than Trex, I did diagonal across 16" and they do not flex. Decking boards show no sign of warpage or cupping after ten years. I did have some cupping on wide 12"x1" boards I used as facia, due to lack of ventilation on the back side, but they straightened out eventually.

    Dave

  24. #24
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    Mushtang,
    I built a deck last summer 12x22 and ran my joists parallel to the house with a center beam and used 12' deck boards running perpendicular to the house wound up cutting just a couple inches off the ends, and framed the outside with a 2x8. I built it in a day and a half for my daughters graduation party, and in such a way I can elevate it even with the sliding doors later when I decide to get ambitious!
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    Last edited by dgreger; 12th July 2013 at 06:22 PM.
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  25. #25
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    16th October 2011
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    Mushtang,

    Good for you taking this on yourself. Here's a few pointers of my own:

    • crown all of your joists before installing, ie sight along the joist edgewise and place the hump or crown facing up.
    • grain your deck boards down, ie look at the end grain of each deck board and install with the 'curl' facing down. Looks like the endgrain is frowning instead of smiling. This is huge for preventing the dreaded 'cupping'.
    •use the recommended Simpson Strong ties, ie. joist hangers, corner brackets, etc. They are a great product and work.
    • pitch your deck away from the house. I have seen many a rotten threshold, rim board and sill plate rotten because the decks weren't pitched and the house wasn't flashed. I normally remove about 16" of siding and flash up the sheating and then install the ledger board. Even then if it is the weather side of the house I will also flash over the ledger before joisting out.
    • when faced with any decision, go above and beyond. You will be glad you did.

    That's my 2¢ for now. Good luck with your project and I know you will have many a good time on this deck.

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  26. #26
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    29th November 2011
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    After 6 days worth of build I've got about half a deck.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Still to be done... the other half of the deck boards, the rails, benches, stairs and landing.

    I'm SORE.
    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
    *******************************************

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    I've decided to replace the existing 10'x10' deck that came on my house with a more useful 12'x24' deck. I've drawn it up with SketchUp and am very happy with my design - there will be a lot of built in seating on the railing, stairs to the patio below, an area for a grill that will be permanently piped to the natural gas line feeding my fireplace, and I plan on building this with my dad (who has a lot of experience building decks).

    I'd like to avoid getting the wood from a big box store such as Home Depot or Lowes, because I've heard the lumber they sell isn't usually fully cured and will be more likely to warp a lot within a couple of years on a deck than fully cured wood purchased at a lumber yard.
    I've noticed that wood seems to be sold a lot "greener" than it used to be... IOW, "soupy"... especially treated lumber, which is what you'll want to use for the deck (unless you plan to use redwood or something that will resist rot and moisture, and even then treated will last longer and be much cheaper.) I don't know if the "soupiness" of the lumber is because of cheaper production (not drying the lumber sufficiently) or because of the elimination of CCA, going to the new "Yella-wood" treatment.

    Most of the lumber is coming from similar sources, so I don't know if you're going to get much better "cured" lumber at a lumberyard than at the big box stores... it may be slightly drier simply because it sits around longer at a "regular lumberyard" than at a "home improvement center" and it's stored outside at a lumberyard, allowing it to dry out better because of wind and heat or cold dry air...

    I've done several decks (and a thirty foot handicap ramp) for my parents, my sister, and myself... and once the thing is together with deck screws I haven't noticed any real problems with warpage from green lumber... On the first covered porch I built, on our house, I put up the 4x4 poles to which the deck was attached and atop which the roof would go, later that fall when the money situation allowed completion. I found that because of the extreme heat and sun here in SE TX, a couple of the poles closest to the house (which were shaded on one side by the house, obviously) had caused them to warp somewhat; the worst one had TWISTED along it's axis so that the top of the pole was turned roughly 45 degrees from the base... IOW, the top of it looked like a diamond shape and the bottom like a square (<> vs. [ ]). Of course screwing a 2x8 header to the side of it for the rafters to sit on top of when you've got a corner sticking out instead of the flat required some modification-- I took the saber saw and zipped the corner of the post off down about a foot or so from the top, to make a "flat" for the lumber to be screwed into. Worked fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    My problem is that I've never delt with a lumber yard before and I don't know if this will be a pleasant experience or a huge hassle. There are a couple around the area I live in so I guess I'll just go talk to them and see what happens.
    Should be virtually indistinguishable from dealing with the indoor lumberyard type stores... In fact, a lot of "lumberyards" are more "mom-n-pop" type operations or smaller regional chains now, and the best way they can distinguish themselves from the mega-mart style big box indoor lumberyards is to have superior know-how and service, and usually a wider variety of materials, tools, and supplies, especially the more esoteric or harder to find (and not as large a demand, meaning slower sales, which the big box stores avoid stocking because they're slow movers... they'd rather have 2 shelves of stuff that you don't need but that they sell a lot of, rather than stock a variety of things, less of the "fast movers" to make room for the "slow movers" that you will probably end up needing at some point-- like them having 5 rows of yellow wood glue but they won't even carry a few bottles of Titebond Moulding and Trim Glue...) SO, it depends on the store...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    I'm hoping:
    1) they will deliver all the lumber free, or with little added cost, since I don't have access to a large enough truck for what I need
    Most lumberyards will deliver, but the charges vary. If you have a big enough purchase, they MIGHT deliver for free, but you'll have to shop around... they may not, because they have to cover the costs of the truck, driver, forklift, license, fuel, insurance, etc... Those costs are not inconsequential. They usually end up charging delivery simply because it's better to offer a lower price to customers who pick up their lumber and haul it themselves, rather than pass on the costs to everyone to deliver for a few customers by simply increasing the prices of their lumber for everybody so they can deliver free to a few... Again, it depends on the store-- how much volume they move, and how much delivery costs them and how they work it into their business model.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    2) they sell 24' long lumber which is only twice the price of 12' lumber, instead of being a lot more expensive.
    That's not gonna happen... the longer the single-piece lumber, the more expensive it is, period... that's true of all lumberyards, big box or no. Longer individual boards have to come from longer and bigger trees, and longer pieces mean less turnout per log, since trees taper from bottom to top. Nowdays computers in the sawmill use lasers to measure the logs as they enter the sawmill, and virtually instantly calculate the maximum amount of lumber that can be obtained from a log with the minimum amount of waste material... So, shorter lumber is more prevalent and easier to produce from a given log than long length lumber, and smaller dimension lumber is easier to produce than large dimension (2x4's vs. 8x8 posts) In addition, longer length lumber is harder to handle, transport, and store, and more prone to warpage in curing. For these reasons, long lumber always sells for a premium over shorter lumber, even though they add up to the same length.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    3) they sell all the anchors and other hardware I'll need - but if not I have no problem making a trip to Lowes
    I love the "Simpson Strongtie" angle pockets and "hurricane ties" that they sell now... they add to the price of the deck, but make MUCH stronger connections that simply toe-nailing floor joists or rafters to header plates... (and in hurricane country that's a nice benefit!) I built my folk's first porch with ten penny nails, but when I did my sisters I used deck screws and the cordless drill-- MUCH stronger and a lot less work!!! No "tennis elbow" from slinging a hammer driving all those nails... Costs a little more, but it's WAY stronger!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    4) they can guarantee me that all the lumber I buy has been fully cured and will not warp.

    Any thoughts?
    NOBODY can guarantee that all the lumber you buy won't warp... it's just the nature of the material... If you want a guarantee that the material won't warp-- build it out of steel or aluminum. Otherwise, SOME amount of warpage is possible....

    I've had a couple of deck boards on my parent's handicap ramp "curl up" on me and warp badly enough to pull free of the screws on one end... I had to replace those two boards. It was probably made worse because the handicap ramp is only 4 feet wide... Other than that, I've had no big problems. When I built my parent's full-length covered porch on their house, I put up the treated header plates between the poles as soon as I finished the framing and decking of the porch itself, which prevented the poles from warping as they did on my porch... then in the fall when I came back and put the rafters, purlins, and Galvalume roof on it, everything was straight and true and ready to go...

    Later and good luck! OL JR
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  28. #28
    Join Date
    29th November 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by luke strawwalker View Post
    I've noticed that wood seems to be sold a lot "greener" than it used to be... IOW, "soupy"... especially treated lumber, which is what you'll want to use for the deck... (snip)
    That's all good information. Thanks!

    Next time jump in and tell me this stuff before I have the lumber delivered and get the deck half built. Ha!

    The lumber I'm building with is very green and soupy. As I tighten the nuts on the bolts, or drive the screws in, the pressure treatment seeps out a little.
    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
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  29. #29
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Needville, TX and Shiner, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mushtang View Post
    That's all good information. Thanks!

    Next time jump in and tell me this stuff before I have the lumber delivered and get the deck half built. Ha!

    The lumber I'm building with is very green and soupy. As I tighten the nuts on the bolts, or drive the screws in, the pressure treatment seeps out a little.
    Sorry didn't see this thread for some reason until today...

    Hope it's going well... stay hydrated!!!

    (Mom and Dad are waiting for me to build ANOTHER porch and handicap ramp as I write this... but it's pushing 100+ this time of year around here and I'm not in any rush... good way to konk out around here!)

    Later! OL JR
    The X-87B Cruise Basselope- THE ultimate weapon in the arsenal of homeland defense and only $52 million per round!

  30. #30
    Join Date
    29th November 2011
    Location
    Buford, Georgia
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    Quote Originally Posted by luke strawwalker View Post
    Sorry didn't see this thread for some reason until today...
    It's a little old. I bumped it to add a picture of where I am.

    Quote Originally Posted by luke strawwalker View Post
    Hope it's going well... stay hydrated!!!
    It's going VERY well. Thank! We're drinking lots and lots and lots of water all day. The last day I did start feeling not so well near the end, but I think it was more the bending over to screw in the deck screws over and over.

    I tried kneeling, but that's killer on the knees. Then I tried sitting, but that took a long time to move around and was also hard on the knees. The best way was to just spread my feet and bend all the way over for each screw (that sounds dirty, but it's not). It's not easy to do that for hours on end. especially with the sun that hot.
    *******************************************
    All I want is a kind word, a warm bed, and unlimited power.
    *******************************************
    Estes ROCKS!
    *******************************************
    Voted #266,917th Best Rocket Builder of the Year - 2012
    *******************************************

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