Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Articles; Composite Decking and Starting a Deck Company

"Composite Decking Vs Wood Decks" update.

This article has been updated for 2012. We don't typically use composite lumber in our projects, simply because their warranties don't cover labor should they make a bad batch. It just isn't something that we have faith in as a product. The major development is that a composite decking company has blinked and is now offering a warranty that covers replacement of the decking by a qualified builder for a period of 5 years.

There are a few new composite decking horror show photos sent in by clients and much of the information inthe article has been updated for 2012 with composite industry changes.

There is also a new article about  "Starting a Deck Company in 2012".

The information in the article will give the new deck builder insights into creating a winning business plan for your new deck company. It also outlines many of the advantages our "Exclusive Builders" have over the competition. Designs, Details, Tablet Portfolio and use of our photography for marketing purposes.

There is also plenty of information for the existing deck builder for improving their deck company in 2012, and insights into the economy and how it relates to trends in the deck business.

If you like what you see on this blog or on www.gardenstructure.com be sure to visit our +1 Page. We've loaded it with plenty of photos and information!  Add us to your circles-- We love to connect with other Deck Builders!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wood Fencing - Common Mistakes

Wood Fencing is a subject lacking any professional grade information in books on how to build for durability. On top of that, nearly everyone oversimplifies why fences stand up they way they should. There are many thousands of books and most of the information is recycled from information put out by lumber yards over the past hundred years.

The "Art" of building fences is indeed becoming lost in a sea of mis-information.  We are sharing the basics in a work in progress, "Fence School". We'll be filling in content over the next year to teach good basic fundamentals to builders as well as home owners that want to "Do It Yourself".
This wood fence is located on a commercial property in Barrie Ontario and is one of the best example of a wood fence failure. The fence was built lacking vertical support, and someone added vertically oriented 2x4's after the fact.

Since there was not enough support, and just 2x2's nailed to 2x4's oriented on the flat, the fence sagged causing the boards to come loose. When it comes to commercial wood fences you need to build much stronger to resist snow being plowed and wind that whips across open parking lots.

 These guys didn't consider that trees grow, and this seemingly harmless small tree pushed a rail and the lattice out over the next few years.

 When they added the extra rails, they didn't bother to connect them to the posts, thus, adding weight to an already failing fence, rather than adding vertical strength.

They also didn't consider that in this frost prone area, concrete curbs will lift a couple of inches each season. This aggravated the issue. Mounting rails too close to the ground is a common flaw. Ground swells as moisture within it freezes putting stress on wood fences.

You can read more about fences in this blog by clicking here. Wood Fence Articles
See our DIY Plans and Fence Instructions at GardenStructure.com
We design many very unique wood fences - See our Gallery of Fence Designs

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Do you check on your decks and fences after you build?

I drove past this Wood Trellis Fence that I built in about 1995 just last fall and was shocked at how good it looked. Yes, this client took good care of what I built, and says that people still stop to photograph it 17 years after it was built. Still standing strong, and looking much like when I built it.

More importantly, he still loves the look of it, and relishes the thought that it was designed just for him and his wife. The process worked the same back then as it does now. Customer gives us a wish list and a design retainer, and we come back with options, elevations and layouts.

Without examining the decks and fences you built in the early days you cannot be sure that your methods were sound. This is an extreme being 17 years, however, every good deck and fence builder needs to drop in and see their work a few years after construction. Only by seeing the flaws can we correct our designs and methods. Putting your head in the sand means you just don't care about your  product.

This was one of our first attempts at changing suburbia, and I wouldn't likely design something that looks like this today--however, houses don't look the same as they did then either. What matters is that the customer is as happy today as they were when it was built.

Many builders just cut out pictures and designs from magazines--Short cuts don't make your company stand out. You may not be as prolific as www.gardenstructure.com , however the sense of accomplishment from coming up with your own designs is gratifying.

Don't be afraid to try something different when it comes to decks and fences--you might come up with something that will make you famous!

That said, we excel at unique designs and details, and we do share it with select builders. If you think you have what it takes to work with us, click "Exclusive Deck and Fence Builders" for more details.