Category Archives: How-to Build

Concrete Porch Wood Deck

How to Build a Deck Over a Concrete Porch

If you have an old concrete porch that looks dingy and unappealing you are probably considering building a new deck over the top of your old concrete porch.

There’s a few considerations you need to think about before attempting to take on this project.

First make sure your concrete porch is structurally sound

Some old porches have hairline cracks that contribute to the old dingy look of concrete but they are still structurally sound.

If you live in a climate that has freezing temperatures it’s a good idea to seal any cracks with a good concrete caulk to prevent water from seeping into the cracks.

Water trapped in the cracks can freeze and create structural damage.

Inspect your concrete porch to ensure it is sloped away from your house and water drains properly.

Once you’ve inspected the porch to make sure it’s structurally sound you can usually put a wood deck over the top of your concrete porch but there’s a few things you should know first.

Do not attach decking materials directly to the surface of your concrete porch.

Attaching deck boards directly to your concrete porch would lead to excessive mold, mildew and early deterioration of the deck boards.

It would also create two different moisture levels in the deck boards. The bottom of the boards would be wet while the tops of the boards would be exposed to wind and sun so the top of the deck boards would be dry.

When you have varying conditions like this your deck boards would cup and would not stay flat. This would cause the surface to hold water and make your new deck undesirable to walk on in a short matter of time.

Not all Decking is Created Equal

Most people think composite decking is the best decking material. Many also believe once it’s installed they’ll never have to do any maintenance to their new deck.

This is not the case in fact if your read all the reviews on Google for most major brands you will read thousands of complaints from homeowners.

Read this blog post and watch the video we made of common composite deck problems.

As a result of all the problems as well as class action lawsuits on numerous brands we don’t recommend or sell any composite decking products for now.

Best Decking Material for Concrete Porches

Our hardwood decking has a lifespan up to 75+ years when installed properly. The woods we recommend are Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba.

We recommend a minimum of 18 inches of air space underneath our standard decking to allow the material to breath properly on all sides of the deck boards.

Some homeowners will install 2×4 pressure treated sleepers 16 inches on center to the top of their concrete porch with concrete screws.

This only gives you one and a half inches of air space between the concrete porch and the underside of the deck boards.

For most materials this really is not adequate airspace and you could see cupping issues still or early deterioration of your new deck boards.

If you decide to try this method you should try to find narrower deck boards like 4 inch wide decking opposed to the standard 6 inch wide deck boards.

Narrower boards are less likely to cup, you should also consider thicker deck boards since thicker materials are usually more stable as well.

A few other considerations that could help if you choose this method.

You should consider coating your concrete in a sealer or concrete since concrete wicks moisture it can add more moisture to the underside of your deck boards.

This can lead to faster rot and decay as well as cupping. It’s also a good idea to wrap your 2×4 pressure treated sleepers in a joist tape since they will be fastened directly to your concrete.

There is an easier method however to put a new wood deck directly over the top of your old concrete porch.

Hardwood Deck Tiles Can Be Installed Directly Over Concrete

Advantage hardwood deck tiles are made from South American hardwoods proven to last up to 75 years or more. They are one of the few products you can install directly over old concrete patios and porches. 

Installing the deck tiles is simple with DeckWise deck tile connectors you simply just click them together.

Most homeowners can cover their old concrete porch in one afternoon. Installation is easy when using Advantage deck tiles and DeckWise deck tile connectors.

They come in a variety of beautiful hardwood species that are up to 3 times harder than teak. In addition they are naturally slip resistant and naturally resistant to rot, decay and wood boring insects.

Before and After Concrete Porch Makeover

This homeowner had an old concrete front porch that had a large crack down the center.

While the front porch was still structurally strong it was not visually appealing. The homeowner purchased our 20 x 20 Cumaru deck tiles to resurface his old concrete front porch.

The results look incredible and the install only took him a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Deck tiles are the easiest DIY way to build a deck over an old concrete porch.

Concrete Porch Wood Deck
Concrete front porch makeover with Cumaru wood deck tiles

Buy Hardwood Deck Tiles Online

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Deck Framing with Joist Tape

How to Make Your Framing Last as Long as Your Ipe Decking

Ipe decking can last up to 75 years with hardly any maintenance. That’s great! But customers often wonder: what about the framing?

Deck framing is usually made of pressure treated pine. It’s cheap, easy to install, and readily available. But pressure treated pine is only rated to last about 15 years. So why would you spend all that money on 75-year ipe if you’re going to have to replace the deck in just 15 years anyway due to rotten framing?

It’s a great question! Here are a few way to make your framing last as long as your ipe decking:

Build the Frame with Ipe

The most obvious fix is to build your frame from the same material as your decking. This will certainly work, but it will be very expensive. And because ipe is so tough, it will be a lot harder to build the frame and secure the deck boards to it. For these reasons, we don’t typically recommend going this route.

Build the Frame with Metal

Metal deck framing comes with many of the same advantages and drawback as ipe framing: it’s expensive and difficult to work with. Additionally, metal products tend to react with ipe and stain the decking. Because of this, you’ll have to use joist and ledger tape as a protective barrier between the framing and the deck boards.

Metal framing can be a great solution if you don’t mind the extra cost and effort, but we don’t usually recommend it. However, now that we’ve brought up joist and ledger tape…

Build the Frame with Pressure Treated Lumber and Protect It with Joist and Ledger Tape

Ledger Tape and Joist Tape

The third option—and the one we recommend—is to use pressure treated pine, then cover your joists, posts, and ledgers with a protective, waterproof tape.

Most wood deterioration is caused by exposure to the elements, especially moisture. The areas of your frame that are most susceptible to rot are places where the wood touches up against something else, creating tight spaces that trap water. Common culprits are the bases of posts in contact with the ground and the tops of joists in contact with the decking.

Joist tape creates a protective barrier between the decking and the joists and keeps the wood dry. Ledger tape does the same thing, but it’s wider so it can cover a broader area. Ledger tape is good for protecting ledgers, beams, and posts.

You should apply joist and ledger tape to all your horizontal framing surfaces. The tape should be wide enough to fold over the sides for maximum protection. You may have to cut the tape in order to wrap corners without creating wrinkles, which can allow water to seep in.

Using joist and ledger tape on your deck framing will drastically improve the lifespan of your deck without costing you tons of money or effort.

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Best Wood for an Outdoor Table

Ipe Wood Outdoor Table

If you’re building an outdoor table you want to build something that will last for many years to come without degrading and tons of maintenance.

Not all woods are created equal.

Some woods when used outdoors and exposed to harsh weather and UV rays will degrade quickly. This leads to splinters, rot and decay and you’ll eventually have to rebuild your outdoor table.

The most common wood that people build with for outdoor use is pressure treated pine.

Pressure treated pine is the most affordable option available, as a result many people build outdoor tables such as picnic tables with it.

The downside of pressure treated pine is that it’s a softwood that requires annual maintenance with water sealers. Eventually the weather and UV rays will degrade the pressure treated pine.

You will experience checking, splinters and even rot and decay eventually. You can expect a 15 to 20 year lifespan if you properly maintain your outdoor table each year.

If you’re looking for the best wood than pressure treated pine is not the best choice.

Cedar is the next most common wood option for outdoor use.

It’s known to many as a premium wood compared to pressure treated pine. It does offer some natural resistance to rot and decay.

However Cedar is still a softwood and will rot, decay, splinter and have all the same problems as pressure treated pine. This will also need a waterproofing sealer applied each year.

You can also expect a lifespan of 15 to 20 years if the proper maintenance is done each year.

The Best Wood for Outdoor Use and Tables

Deck with Fire Pit and Pavers
Deck built with Ipe wood

Ipe wood (pronounced EE-pay) is a South American hardwood that has proven to last on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk for 75+ years with no treatment.

Here are some of the outstanding benefits of Ipe:

  • Lasts up to 75+ years
  • Low maintenance
  • Termite Resistant
  • No knots!!
  • Tight grain = No worry of slivers
  • Can outlast composite material
  • High density resist scratches
  • Nearly twice as strong as Oak
  • Better than teak
  • Environmentally friendly
  • One of the strongest woods in the world
  • Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
  • Mold & Fungi resistant
  • High slip resistance

We also recommend a few other species that have very similar properties to Ipe and offer different grain and colors.

The following woods are also extremely durable outdoors and are more affordable than Ipe.

Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba

This outdoor table was handcrafted using Ipe and Tigerwood and it’s absolutely stunning.

Outdoor Table made with Ipe Wood and Tigerwood

If you are looking to build an outdoor table that will last a lifetime these woods will not disappoint you.

You can purchase them directly online from our website. We also have many deeply discounted shorter length boards that work great for outdoor furniture.

Since we primarily sell a lot of long length boards for decks we sell the shorter boards for a deep discount. Click here to see our discounted hardwood decking

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4 Inch Ipe Decking

Best Decking for Extreme Climates and Projects

Building a deck in a climate that sees extreme weather such as extreme heat, extreme cold, hurricanes, lots of rain, ice and snow requires some extra planning to ensure your deck will last and resist unwanted movement such as warping, cupping, bowing and twisting.

Dry Climates

In dry climates like Arizona, wood decking materials will shrink due to the lack of moisture. All building materials will expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes. Composite decking materials generally expand in the warm temperatures and shrink in the cooler temperatures.

Wet and Humid Climates

Climates like Florida that see extreme heat, rain, humidity and hurricanes are some of the harshest environments on homes and the materials they are built with. Constant rain and humidity will cause wood decking to expand, composite materials will also tend to swell in these climates.

These climates also tend to promote the growth of mold and fungi, especially in the areas that do not see full sun all day. This can also lead to faster degrading, rot and decay of building materials.

Extreme Sun and UV Rays

Many areas such as Florida, Arizona, California and more see extreme sun and UV rays. The UV rays from the sun are one of the harshest elements that attack many materials and building materials like decking are no exception.

The UV rays will fade most materials including wood which will eventually turn gray and composites can significantly fade from their existing color that you loved originally.

Extreme Cold, Ice and Snow

If your area gets very cold and see lots of ice and snow in the winter and then hot and humid temperatures in the summer.  Your deck is going to see the widest ranges of extreme conditions which means the most expansion and contraction.

Material Selection

All of these different climates can be harsh on building materials especially horizontal surfaces like decking. There are materials that have proven to stand up to these harsh climates better than others.

South American hardwood decking such as Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba have proven to last up to 75 years in some applications.

These hardwood decking species have shown to work in every climate from the dry dessert to hot and humid Florida all the way to cold and snow covered Buffalo, NY.

Sizes

The most common decking size is 5/4 x 6” which will have a finished dimension of 1 inch thick and 5.5 inches wide.However just like hardwood flooring the wider your deck boards are the more likely they will be to cup.

Use Narrower and Thicker Boards

The narrower a board is the less likely it is to cup so using narrow boards such as 1×4 (finished at 3 1/2″ wide), is not only more stable but it can save you money and give a more interesting look.

Thicker boards such as 5/4 x 4 (finishes at 1” thick and 3 1/2″ wide) are also more stable then 1 x 4 (finishes at 3/4” thick and 3 1/2″ wide) it’s a quarter inch thicker and gives you more stability.

Sawn Lumber Differences

Quarter Sawn Decking:

Quarter sawn decking comes at a premium due to the labor it takes to mill each plank. To mill quarter sawn wood, each log is sawed at a radial angle into four quarters. Then each quarter is plain sawn. This method of quarter sawing does leave some waste, but much less than rift sawn lumber.

This method of sawing produces a plank where the tree’s growth rings are near, or totally perpendicular to the plank’s surface. Quarter sawn decking offers even more stability and the following benefits:

  • Decreased expansion and contraction on the plank’s width
  • Twisting, cupping, and warping resistance
  • Ages evenly over time
  • Chances of surface checking are significantly reduced
  • More resistant to moisture penetration
  • More character beauty with ray flecks

Are Your Project Conditions Less Than Ideal?

We recommend a minimum of 18 inches of unrestricted air flow underneath your deck. Unrestricted means plenty of air can flow underneath your deck so it’s not completely sealed off with skirting.

Closing off the underside of your deck or not allowing enough air flow will change the moisture level on the underside of your deck boards while the top surface gets air flow and heated by the sun.

This creates two different climates for your deck boards and will cause the top of the deck surface to expand and contract at a different rate then the bottom and this will lead to cupping.

That being said some homeowners have projects like boat docks and ground level decks that can not meet the ideal conditions but still want a beautiful hardwood deck.

In these cases, even though we don’t recommend it unless you can create the ideal conditions we suggest using 5/4 x 4 decking or 5/4 x 4 quarter sawn decking. You should also take as many precautions as you can to mitigate any moisture issues or differences underneath your decking.

Oiling the underside of your deck boards before installing them can also help reduce moisture absorbing into your deck boards.

Projects that used our 4 inch wide decking for their projects

4 Inch Ipe Wood Decking
5/4 x 4 Ipe Decking was used because the deck is low to the ground, skirted off and sits directly on top of a blue stone paver patio.
4 Inch Ipe decking
Ipe Decking and Blue Stone Patio
4 Inch Ipe Decking
4 Inch Ipe Decking and Blue Stone paver patio
4 Inch Tigerwood Decking was used because the deck was skirted off and sitting on top of concrete.
4 Inch Tigerwood Decking
Ipe Decking Steps built using 4 Inch Decking because the deck sits directly on top of a concrete slab and has limited air flow underneath.
Ipe Wood Planter Bench
Ipe Wood Planter Bench
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How To Cover an Old Stucco Ceiling

One of our great customers Pro Quality Carpentry completed this job and had to share how beautiful it turned out.

nickel gap ceiling

The previous ceiling of this screened in lanai was old stucco that was looking dingy and had cracks. The home owner hired Pro Quality Carpentry to renovate their outdoor space and make it look more appealing.

Pro Quality recommended our Tigerwood in a nickel gap tongue and groove profile that we custom milled for them.  Tigerwood is an exotic hardwood that’s incredibly durable as well as exceptionally beautiful.

Tigerwood is naturally resistant to rot and decay and offers a 30+ year lifespan without chemical treatment.

The Install Process Was Simple

First Pro Quality Carpentry started by installing wood furring strips to the existing stucco ceiling and made sure to attach the furring strips to the wood support trusses underneath the stucco.

Next they installed our Tigerwood nickel gap tongue and groove and fastened to the furring strips with stainless steel screws through the tongue to leave the ceiling free of faster holes.

Here’s Another Picture

Tigerwood nickel gap

 

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Ipe Wood Shower and Jetted Bathtub

This is an interesting project from another one of our happy customers. They are so thrilled with the way the Ipe wood compliments their bathroom. Take note of the long Ipe wood boards that trim out the tile edges instead of using standard bull nose like most people do. If they had used bull nose tile to finish off their shower it certainly would not have such a beautiful contrast that the Ipe wood gives. Look closely and you’ll see they extended the tile past the glass door which seals off the shower elements from the wood, this should help their finish they applied remain intact for years to come.

The shower floor is simply a standard shower basin to match the jetted tub. They built a custom Ipe wood shower floor platform that sits inside of the shower basin which really gives it a designer look. Ipe is a great choice for this application since the wood has proven to last outside in extremely harsh climates for 75+ years. Ipe wood will not give off any slivers in your feet and is naturally slip resistant as well as rot resistant making this wood shower a project that can last a very long time.

This design also allows for the wood shower floor to be easily removed for cleaning or in case if something is dropped like jewelry or razor heads to love to pop off when you drop them. One other feature that many people like with an Ipe wood shower floor is you can build the wood surface so that its completely flat since the shower basin underneath is slopped for proper water drainage.

Ipe Wood Shower

They also wrapped their jetted bathtub with Ipe wood as well as a few wood accents like the trim around their window and vanity mirror. They have received so many compliments from friends and family and they are very pleased with how the Ipe wood accents their jetted tub. The durability of the wood has exceeded their expectations considering it is such a wet environment.

Ipe Wood Jetted Tub

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Summer’s Here and It’s Time For Shorts

Summertime is here! While you break out the board shorts, we’ll break out the short boards! We do everything we can to eliminate waste, so we keep cutoffs to sell at bargain prices. Many lumber companies sell shorts at a discounted price, but few will call 7 FEET a short board. We do!
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