Sometimes the more you know about an outdoor living project, the more beautiful it appears. How can we say that about this stunning deck in Farmington, CT? It is already beautiful. Its beauty doesn’t need to be enhanced, or explained. Ah, but just wait until you read the rest of the story.
— Design rendering of stunning new Farmington bamboo deck with unique custom glass rail by Archadeck of Central CT.
These Farmington CT homeowners knew the time had come to replace their older deck made of pressure-treated wood. It had seen many good years, and its appearance was dated – especially those wood balusters in the railing system. Today’s railing designs include several alternatives to wooden balusters (pickets) that can block so much of the view! Slender metal balusters, horizontal cables and glass panels are a few of the modern alternatives.
— These Farmington homeowners knew it was time to replace their PT wooden deck, shown above.
Archadeck of Central Connecticut designed a fabulous deck that retained some of the original features –like the multi-level layout and two sets of stairs to the yard – while changing other features significantly.
Extra-Sturdy Support That Stands Up to Freezing Ground in Winter
First, let’s look at the posts supporting the new deck. They look like other posts until you see the base of each post, capped with wood. What’s going on there? These are not just any posts. Traditional support for a deck includes digging a deep hole, pouring a concrete footing and setting the posts into the concrete. No concrete was used here.
This new deck features wood posts attached to helical piers for additional strength and durability. The helical shape is like that of a screw – a spiral or coil. The steel piers are screwed into the ground deep enough to pass weak and unstable soil until they reach firm soil where the pier is solidly anchored. Then the wood support posts are attached to the helical piers. We added the wood cap around the base of the post to conceal the metal joining.
We like to work with helical piers as deck support for two main reasons. First, using this screw-like anchor eliminates the need for pouring concrete footings, which also eliminates construction delays while waiting for the concrete to set. Second, the steel piers are not affected by the frost heave sometimes created by the ground’s freeze/thaw cycle in winter.
When is a Wood Deck not a Wood Deck? When it’s Bamboo!
Next, can you tell what material these homeowners chose for their deck surface? It may look like an exotic hardwood, but it’s bamboo, which is actually a grass. The carbonized, fused bamboo boards we use for decking are highly stable, stronger and more durable than most wood, even most hardwoods. Bamboo doesn’t swell or contract in response to moisture; it has a hard exterior, and the cellular interior of bamboo decking is flexible and elastic.
Choosing a green decking option like bamboo for your Connecticut deck offers even more advantages. Bamboo is environmentally friendly and sustainable. It matures in 5-7 years and absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide per acre than trees do. Bamboo is resistant to insects so it doesn’t require pesticides or other harmful chemicals for protection as it grows. And bamboo does not contain rays or knots commonly found in wood.
The bamboo decking boards come with a factory-applied coating that, over a few months, lightens up a little, creating natural-looking variations. It can then be re-coated, but most folks don’t do that because it looks really nice as is. You can re-coat bamboo at any time in the future and it will come back to the original deep brown color.
In this project we clear-coated the cedar rail components and used dark stain on all of the support columns and beams made of traditional wood. We stained any wooden framing materials that were visable. The only wooden element of the project that was not stained or coated were the joists, which are hidden from view under the deck.
There’s something else you should know about this bamboo deck: there are no visible screws anywhere on this project. We used hidden fasteners to connect the decking to the wooden support structure. We counterbored and countersunk every screw used to fasten the stair treads and all the screws used to fasten the bamboo rail cap to the cedar rail components. For the ultimate smooth and polished look we then used bamboo plugs to fill the holes over the screws and sanded them so they are virtually invisible. We are proud of our workmanship, and we know work like this is the exception rather than the norm.
An Ultra-Modern Railing System with the Clearest View Possible
Finally, we get to the glass-paneled railing system. Beautiful, right?! Deck builder Archadeck of Central CT custom engineered the glass panels to set off the posts for added flair instead of having the glass completely fill the space from post to post. We also used 1/4" glass instead of the typical 3/16" thickness.
Glass provides maximum visibility as you look out over the yard, much more so than those old wooden pickets. This is tempered glass, which is required by code any time glass is used within 18" of any walking surface, whether it is a room or deck. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than regular glass. It is more resistant to breaking and shattering, and, if it does break, tempered glass will shatter into small pieces. The chance of injury from broken tempered glass is lower. Also, the edges of the tempered glass are polished to protect anyone from being cut.
Finally, we included LED integrated stair lighting for safety on the deck stairs. The homeowners are thrilled with the updated look of their new deck, especially the bamboo and glass.
If you are ready to replace your aging deck with one featuring a fresh design and 21st-century technology, Archadeck of Central Connecticut is the deck builder you have been searching for. We will design and build the perfect outdoor space for your home. Call us today at (203) 793-7142 or email us at a [email protected].