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Memorial Day 2017 Shipping Times

May 22, 2017 | Posted in Messages and News By Jeff Schultz

Memorial Day 2017

Have a Safe and Happy Memorial Day!

DecksDirect will be closed Monday, May 29th in observance of Memorial Day. 

We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, May 30th, shipping and delivery will be impacted, please note the following in regards to shipping:

     • FedEx Home Delivery is closed on Monday and Tuesday
     • FedEx Commercial Ground & Express is closed on Monday

     • UPS is closed Monday

     • USPS is closed Monday

Please keep these dates in mind as you make your shipping plans.

Orders placed after 3:30pm on Friday, May 26th through 3:30pm Tuesday, May 30th will be shipped on Tuesday, May 30th. For more information about holiday shipping times, please visit FedEx, UPS, or USPS.

Feel free to contact the DecksDirect.com team at support@decksdirect.com or give us a call at 1-888-824-5316.

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Deck of the Month Winner - April 2017

May 01, 2017 | Posted in Contests & Giveaways By Jeff Schultz

Slide 83

Congratulations to Rob from Vancouver, WA for winning our Deck of the Month contest for March. Rob’s deck features classy looking Arc Architectural Balusters by Deckorators. Rob can enjoy his deck’s view wearing his new DecksDirect swag.

If you have a photo you would like to submit to our contest, simply post a photo to Instagram including the hashtag #DecksDirect OR submit a photo with a review on the appropriate product page. By doing so, you will be entered to win great prizes from our Deck of the Month Contest.

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10 Handy Guides to Help You Plan Your Deck

Apr 11, 2017 | Posted in How To's By Jeff Schultz

 

10 Handy Guides to Help You Plan Your Deck

Project planning doesn’t have to be a chore, especially if you know where to begin and everything to include in your plan. We’ve compiled some of the Internet’s best resources to help you build a better deck.

1. How to Plan for Building a Deck by HGTV

Get ready for your deck project with these helpful tips on how to plan the building process.

 

2. How to Hire a Deck Builder by DecksDirect

Here are some tips to get the best outcome on your deck project with a professional builder.

 

3. Deck Planning Basics by Trex

Whether you’ll use your deck for big family BBQs or lazy-afternoon lounging, Trex makes it easy to plan, design and budget accordingly.

 

 

4. Understanding Deck Construction by HomeAdvisor

HomeAdvisor presents many excellent points to consider while planning your project.

 

5. How-to Guides by DecksDirect

From installing deck lights to choosing your balusters or understanding the differences in railing systems, we've got you covered.

 

6. Building a Deck by The Family Handyman

Learn how to build and maintain your deck with these DIY projects and tips.

 

7. Pinterest - The World’s Catalog of Ideas

Uploaded by Awesome Screenshot Extension

We’ve created a huge library of inspiring deck pins to help organize your ideas and share them with your builder.

 

8. Houzz - The New Way to Design Your Home

Uploaded by Awesome Screenshot Extension

Houzz is a popular online resource dedicated to helping people design their dream home. It’s also a great resource for searching for a qualified builder.

 

9. Customer-Submitted Photo Gallery by DecksDirect

Get inspiration for your project by browsing our Inspiration Gallery of Customer-Submitted photos.

 

10.DecksDirect’s YouTube Channel

Uploaded by Awesome Screenshot Extension

Our YouTube channel is filled with helpful product and how-to videos to help you choose and install your deck accessories.

 
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Deck of the Month Winner - March 2017

Apr 07, 2017 | Posted in Contests & Giveaways By Jeff Schultz

Slide 72

Congratulations to Barbara from San Diego for winning our Deck of the Month contest for March. Barbara’s deck features rugged looking Vintage Series Square Pickets from Fortress Iron Railing finished with Imperial Solar Post Cap Light by Classy Caps. Jeffrey can enjoy his deck’s wooded view wearing his new DecksDirect swag.

If you have a photo you would like to submit to our contest, simply post a photo to Instagram including the hashtag #DecksDirect OR submit a photo with a review on the appropriate product page. By doing so, you will be entered to win great prizes from our Deck of the Month Contest.

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Understanding Deck Screws, Bolts, and Fasteners

Mar 28, 2017 | Posted in How To's By Jeff Schultz

Understanding Deck Screws, Bolts, and Fasteners

Screws and bolts hold the world together - literally! Because the little guys have such important jobs, they come in wide varieties of shapes and sizes. Your backyard deck is constructed with a handful of specialty fasteners. Each of these has a specific purpose in ensuring you enjoy a well-built deck for years to come.

Whether you are a homeowner making a decision based on aesthetics and value, or a pro builder looking for the slickest installation options, we have you covered. So fasten your seatbelt and enjoy our guide to selecting the best deck fasteners for your project.

Quick Anatomy of Screws vs. Bolts

screwanatomy.jpg

A simple distinction between these two fasteners is that a bolt passes through its anchoring material and receives a nut, while screws thread directly into their anchoring material. The head, neck, shank, thread coarseness, tip, and material/coating of both screws and bolts will vary according to their application. 

Stainless or Coated Screws?

To stainless, or not to stainless? That is the question. Stainless steel screws provide the most corrosion resistance and are typically required in coastal applications. For most other applications, stainless steel is an optional and expensive upgrade.

Carbon Steel with Alkaline Copper Quant (ACQ) approved coating is the most common and recommended deck screw. The copper element in treated lumber destroys non-coated metals. Pro-tip: keep this in mind when other metal decking products, such as railing posts and flashing, come into contact with treated lumber. A small scratch left uncoated can lead to a costly repair down the road. Coated Screws are also stronger and less expensive than stainless steel fasteners.

With these basics covered, let’s dive into the world of deck specific fasteners.

Decking Installation - Face Screws or Hidden Fasteners?

Face Screws

Basic Deck Screws are used to hold down your decking material in a face screwed application. This is the tried and true, old-fashioned way. There are a few key considerations for this type of decking installation.

Pros and Cons of Face Screwed Decking

Pros:

  • Ease and speed of installation
  • Maximum hold-down power (hurricanes, extreme winds, etc.)

 

Cons:

  • Aesthetics - Screw heads remain visible
  • As your deck experiences seasonal expansion and contraction, screw heads can become exposed
  • Introduces an entry point for moisture into the deck’s surface, which can shorten the lifespan of wooden decking

 

The Two Types of Deck Screws - Flat & Trim Head

Deck Screws come in flat head and trim head designs. Flat head screws offer a slightly larger head than Trim Head screws and will drive to a flush finish on the top of your material. Trim head screws are very similar to Flat head screws but with one major difference, they’re designed to eliminate dimpling while disappearing beneath the surface of your decking. Trim Heads can also be used with plug systems to make them virtually disappear.

Flat-Head:

  • Most hold-down power
  • Often used with pressure-treated decking

 

Trim-Head:

  • Most visually appealing
  • Less mushrooming effect
  • Often used with cedar and composite decking

 

Hidden Fastener Systems

For those who love the clean look of a fastener-free deck surface, hidden fasteners are the way to go. The aesthetics and smooth walking surface of your decking is retained. You will not have unsightly screws to look at or trip over. 

Pros:

  • Smooth surface
  • Maintains integrity of the decking surface
  • Best option for maintaining most composite decking manufacturer warranties

 

Cons:

  • Higher cost
  • Slower installation

 

There are a wide variety of hidden fastener systems available. We’ve put together an infographic to help you decide which system is best for your application. Download the guide here.

Get the Hidden Fastener Selection Guide

 

 

The Short Version - Face Screws vs. Hidden Fasteners

When should you face mount your decking?

  • When cost is the primary factor
  • When required by building code

 

When should you use a hidden fastener system?

  • When aesthetics are the primary factor
  • When maintaining the warranty of composite decking is important

 

Framing Fasteners

Even though framing fasteners are often an afterthought when constructing a deck, choosing the right screw or bolt will ensure a solid foundation for your deck.

Ledger Attachment

Through-bolts or ledger screws are used to attach a deck’s ledger board to the house. Through-bolts are used when the interior of the wall cavity is accessible during installation. Ledger screws function like lag bolts and are driven into the home’s rim joist. Building code will determine fastener selection and will vary depending on where you live.

There are some innovative products in this category. ThruLok Screw Bolt By FastenMaster is one of them. ThruLok offers speedy installation with the strength of a through-bolted connection. No need for pre-drilling or for a second person to hold a wrench, simply install with a drill in seconds. ThruLoks are a great choice anywhere you would use a traditional carriage bolt and nut.

General Purpose

Basic flat head decking screws are commonly used for most framing applications. This includes joist, blocking and stair stringer installation. The most popular screws we sell for this purpose are the R4 Deck Screws By GRK Fasteners.

Structural Screws

Often used in place of traditional lag bolts, Structural Screws are used for load-bearing applications such as attaching a deck’s beams to its structural posts. They can also be used for ledger attachment, and for other outdoor structural projects like building retaining walls or for log and timber framing. The 5/16" RSS Rugged Structural Screw by GRK Fasteners is one of our top sellers in this category.

Concrete Fasteners

There are two main types of concrete fasteners used in deck construction - anchor bolts and concrete screws. Anchor bolts can either be set in the concrete while it is poured and wet, or drilled and set into place using the wedge bolt variety. Concrete screws are very similar to general purpose construction screws, but have special threading and require a masonry drill bit for installation.

We’re here to help

Selecting the correct fasteners for your deck project is important to ensuring you enjoy a safe outdoor space.

Whether you refer your builder to us or shop with us yourself, DecksDirect is here to help you get what you need for your deck project. Don’t worry about searching for parts across multiple retailers. We have what you need and our website is designed to guide you through the ordering process.

Our team strives to exceed your expectations by providing honest, accurate, and friendly service that you can trust. Because we are the nation’s largest stocking online retailer of deck accessories, you can trust that most items will ship the same business day if the order is placed by 3:30pm CST, Monday-Friday (excluding special order items).

At any point in your project, even if you have just a few simple questions, feel free to give our deck experts a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an e-mail at support@decksdirect.com.

 
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How to Hire a Deck Builder

Mar 14, 2017 | Posted in How To's By Jeff Schultz

PHI Decks Minnesota - Workers on the job site

How to Hire a Pro to Build it For You

A well-built deck is a solid investment in your home. Your new deck will provide a relaxing space to entertain and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. The addition of a deck can also increase the resale value of your property.

Even if you consider yourself a handy person, having a professional build a deck for you will ensure you are satisfied with your project and have a safe and enjoyable outdoor living space for years to come. Here are some tips to get the best outcome on your deck project with a professional builder.

Plan and Prepare for Your Search

Hold your horses! Before you contact potential builders, it’s important to gather some preliminary information to make the selection process go smoothly.

Establishing a budget will help you narrow down the vast array of choices available for your new deck. This is a good time to give DecksDirect a call. One of our experts can help you evaluate the options of different decking and railing materials.

When you meet with a builder to design your deck, you should have an idea of the rough layout. Decide how many levels and sets of stairs there will be, as well as any premium features you may have in mind. A built-in fireplace, an outdoor kitchen, or a pizza oven are increasingly popular upgrades.

Here are some helpful places to find design inspiration for your new deck:

  • Pinterest is the world’s catalog of ideas. We’ve created a huge library of inspiring deck pins to help organize your ideas and share them with your builder.
  • Houzz is another popular online resource dedicated to helping people design their dream home. It’s also a great resource for searching for a qualified builder.
  • DecksDirect - We’ve put together several galleries that show off the projects of our customers, as well as galleries dedicated to different product categories and manufacturers.
  • Manufacturer Inspiration Galleries - Here is a list of links to some of the best deck inspiration galleries on the web.

 

Finding Builders to Contact

Now that you have an idea of your budget and design direction, you’re ready to gather a list of builders to screen for your project. It’s worth investing time here. Regardless of your project's size, you’ll be working with them for several weeks. Make sure it's someone you don't mind - and preferably appreciate - having on your property. More importantly, you’ll notice the quality of their work for years to come and will want to be happy with it.  

To get the most candid perspective, start with builder referrals from friends and family. We recommend contacting 7-10 builders for an initial phone interview.

Here are some online resources to help compile a list of prospective builders:

 

Not sure how to screen potential builders? Here are some discussion topics:

  • Licensing, bonding, and insurance - The importance of this conversation and these documents can’t be understated. Take some time to research these topics. Only work with legitimate businesses.
  • Do they provide design services? Architectural drawings are valuable for permitting, cost estimating, and ensuring you are on the same page when you sign a contract.
  • What kind of experience do they have? How long have they been in business? If you have a material or manufacturer preference at this point, have they worked with this product before?
  • Do they have a portfolio of photos from previous projects? Ask specifically for them to point out previous projects that are similar to yours.
  • Do they offer a warranty on their work? Ask about warranties on materials as well.
  • Will they handle the permitting and inspection process? There is no shortage of paperwork, scheduling and project management that is best left to a professional.
  • What is their availability? It's common for a reputable builder to be booked several months in advance. Try to start planning your project early to simplify scheduling.
  • How will they manage the jobsite and labor? Do they use subcontractors or have workers' comp insured employees? Is there a jobsite supervisor? Do they do background checks? Remember that you are inviting them onto your property.
  • Ask for references - Especially for recent projects, nearby projects, and ones that resemble your specific project.

 

Advice from a Pro

Truck from PHI Decks on the jobsite

We asked one of our favorite local builders, Tim from PHI Decks, for some advice on searching for a builder. Here is what he had to say:

 What general advice would you give a family member looking for a builder living in another part of the country?

 Meet with several builders and get a feel for who they are as a person as well as a builder. Your project will go much smoother if you are comfortable with the person building it.

Should a homeowner select a general contractor or a builder who specializes in decks? Why?

 Deck specialist for sure. There are thousands of available products and more often than not general contractors either don't know about them or don't know how to use them.

What if a specialist isn’t available locally?

 Do research on your own and don't rely too much on a general contractor for deck specific needs. Contact someone like DecksDirect to help walk you through products and bring that knowledge to the builder you eventually choose.

Are there any red flags a homeowner should look for when selecting a builder?

 Lack of product knowledge. There are thousands of products available for decks and not every product is suitable for all applications.

What initial questions should a homeowner ask a potential builder?

 Examples of work and design ideas. It's pretty easy to tell who knows what they are talking about and who doesn't.

What questions do you ask a homeowner in an initial interview?

 What is their end vision for the project? What will the space be used for? What is your budget?

What time of year should the deck planning stages begin?

 It's never too early to start planning a deck project. All reputable deck contractors will be booked solid for two or more months out so beginning the conversation in April for a summer project probably won't be early enough. The best time would be the end of the season (Fall) for a project to start the beginning of next season (Spring).

Narrow Down Your List and Get Estimates

Time to clear your calendar and clean off the kitchen table! After completing your initial phone interviews, narrow your list down to the top three builders and invite them to your home for a consultation. Be prepared to spend about an hour with each builder. They will walk around the jobsite and take measurements, as well as sit down with you to discuss the value they can deliver to your project.

Check References

This is a step that sometimes gets skipped, but can prevent a negative and costly experience for yourself and your family. Make sure you call the contacts each builder provided and inquire if they’d be open to you visiting their location to see the builder’s quality of work. Most importantly, ask them if they enjoy their deck and the experience they had working with the builder.

Making the Final Decision

You’re in the final stretch! After receiving estimates and meeting with your short-list of potential builders, the choice should feel obvious. We recommend that you sign a contract when hiring a builder. If you need specific advice, consult an attorney.

Here is a short list of items that should be included in your contract: 

  • Copy of the contractor's insurance policy
  • Copy of the contractor’s business license
  • A clear deadline for project completion
  • Explanation of fees and costs for changes
  • Complete breakdown of pricing for materials and labor
  • Payment terms - never pay 100% up front
  • Warranty and Accidental Damage policies

 

We’re Here to Help

Give yourself a high five! You’ve done the hard work to ensure you enjoy the deck of your dreams by hiring a competent, professional builder.

The builder you select will typically work with a local lumberyard to source materials. This is a great option for decking and framing. You may find that the builder’s supplier carries a limited variety of deck railing, lighting, drainage and other deck accessories. This is a common problem since local lumberyards don’t always have space or in-depth knowledge on a wide selection of deck-related products.

Whether you refer your builder to us or pick up the phone yourself, DecksDirect is here to help you get what you need for your deck project. Don’t worry about searching for parts across multiple retailers; we have what you need and our website is designed to guide you through the ordering process.

Our team strives to exceed your expectations by providing honest, accurate, and friendly service that you can trust. Because we are the nation’s largest stocking online retailer of deck accessories, you can trust that nearly all items will ship the same business day if the order is placed by 3:30pm CST, Monday-Friday (excluding special order items).

At any point in your project, even if you have just a few simple questions, feel free to give our deck experts a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an e-mail at support@decksdirect.com.

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Slide 46
Slide 47

Congratulations to Kelly from Texas for winning our Deck of the Month contest for February. Kelly's deck features Classic Round Aluminum Baluster By Deckorators. Kelly can enjoy her deck’s wonderful view wearing her new DecksDirect swag.

If you have a photo you would like to submit to our contest, simply post a photo to Instagram including the hashtag #DecksDirect OR submit a photo with a review on the appropriate product page. By doing so, you will be entered to win great prizes from our Deck of the Month Contest.

Comments

Getting Started with DecksDirect.com

Feb 21, 2017 | Posted in Messages and News By Devin Crawford-Tufts

Getting Started with DecksDirect

Getting started on your deck project can be tricky, whether you have someone build it for you or you're a DIYer. You've maybe never installed anything deck related before, or just don't know enough to confidently tell someone what you want. A million questions can come up during this process like, what colors do I want? How do I wire my lighting? How far should my balusters be spaced? How do you even install a section of railing?

The good news is that DecksDirect is here to help you every step of the way. Our Getting Started page is packed with a wealth of deck knowledge, as well as inspiration galleries and other services that are available to you through DecksDirect. With the addition of our new Glossary section you will also be able to better understand and explain exactly what it is that you need.

 

INSPIRATION & PRIMERS

decksdirect-image-galleries-thumbnail-photo decksdirect-glossary-thumbnail-photo decksdirect-blog-thumbnail-photo decksdirect-expert-picks-thumbnail-photo

Image Galleries

Get inspiration for your deck projects by browsing DecksDirect's Inspiration Galleries for decking design, product ideas, and product styles across all budgets.

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Glossary

Remembering every term involved with planning and building a deck isn't easy. The DecksDirect Glossary is the perfect place to brush up on your deck industry lingo.

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Blog

The DecksDirect Blog is jam-packed with great information on new products, tips, contests, giveaways and more! It's a great place to browse all things DecksDirect.

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Expert Picks

We have been doing this deck industry thing for a very long time. The DecksDirect's Expert Picks are some of our favorites and most recommended from over the years.

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CHOOSING YOUR PRODUCTS

decksdirect-how-to-guides-thumbnail-photo decksdirect-estimating-tools-thumbnail-photo decksdirect-consultation-thumbnail-photo decksdirect-get-a-quote-thumbnail-photo

How-To Guides

DecksDirect's How-To Guides will empower you with the knowledge and confidence to successfully install your deck project. We want to help you build a better deck.

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Estimate Tools

We make calculating your Baluster & Zip-Up supplies easy with our DecksDirect Estimating Tools. We're working on new tools all of the time so check back for updates.

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Consult

Do you need to sit down and go over the different options that are available for you? Schedule a Consultation and get a personalized plan for your deck project.

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Get A Quote

Ready to pull the trigger but need some help with the specifics? Send us a Quote Request, we'll provide a free custom quote for you to get your deck project started.

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INSTALLATION & TROUBLESHOOTING

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How-To Guides

DecksDirect's How-To Guides will empower you with the knowledge and confidence to successfully install your deck project. We want to help you build a better deck.

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Help

Sometimes deck lighting is difficult and won't work correctly. The DecksDirect Troubleshoot Guides cover all things lighting and will help you with proper installation.

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FAQs

We've compiled some FAQs to save you some time and frustration. Have a question about Penofin, Deck Lighting, or Balusters? It will be answered in our FAQs.

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Warranty Info

Warranty info is accessible through our Manufacturer Warranties webpage. We have arranged links to manufacturers contact information, warranties and policies.

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