Just a split deck board....

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Just a split deck board....

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:44 pm

When I was going thru cancer treatment in 2004, my wife hired a guy to finish the deck on the garage that I had started but was unable to finish. The guy she hired was a thoroughly vetted local contractor of good repute. The deck is 8'X12' and is the typical 2X undergirding with 5/4X6 deck boards. The 5/4 boards were also used on the steps. The only reason I can see for this is that he cut the stringers too short on the middle run and used the thinner boards (instead of the correct 2X) so he could pull the mess he made all together and make it at least "look" straight and even. 5/4 deck boards are never correct for steps. These particular ones were full of knots, which fell out, causing the boards to split. This made the steps unstable. The bottom step was particularly wobbly. Instead of standing the lower post on top of the lower step, he cut the board around the lower post. So only about an inch of the 5/4X6 board was holding any weight. This, of course, did not work. A particular rotund friend of mine put his foot thru the end of the board, so the project was on.

How hard would it be to replace one 5/4 x 6 x 76" deck board? Long story short, about the same amount of time it would take to replace about 75% of the entire deck!

I had the undergirding all done and was starting on the steps when I got too sick to finish the job. All the contractor had to do was to buy the decking, install it, but the material for the steps and finish those. I had the railing all built, and most of it was installed. I specified what material I wanted, where I wanted it sourced, and how I wanted the job done, exactly. The only "exactly" he got right was he built the deck on the correct garage, and he had our address right. The way he installed the lower posts caused water to collect, which rotted out the step board, the post, the rail up the step and the first rung on the rail. And the stringer. Actually, all three stringers were rotten. They were sitting on concrete platforms and were not on the ground. Water collecting from incorrect board placement caused the entire problem. For one split board, I replaced the entire step assembly, the rail up the steps, both lower posts and 18 or the 24 deck boards. And the 5/4 boards he had used for the top rail of the railing, removing the 2X's I had used because they were "too heavy." The 5/4 boards on that top rail, laying flat, curled up like bacon. I had specified obtaining material at a local contractor's lumber yard, but he went to Lowe's. Lowe's had the worst treated lumber on the planet. I'm finally happy with how my deck is built, 12 years down the road. Next spring, I'll stain the entire thing and hopefully, I'll not have to mess with this again.

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Re: Just a split deck board....

Post by 75X11 on Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:31 pm

Did you give him the contractors' lumberyard funding for him to spend a portion of at Lowes?  If I use a contractor, I save the effort but not the time.  We are there every day, all day.
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Re: Just a split deck board....

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:41 pm

I have an account at the contractors' lumberyard and had confidence that I would get good material and not crap off the cull pile like you get at Lowe's.  I specifically told him NOT to get lumber at Lowe's due to its poor quality and their refusal to stand behind it.  (Incidentally, all Lowe's treated lumber is guaranteed to withstand is termites.  It is not guaranteed against rot!)  The contractor knew a guy at the "Contractor's Desk" at Lowe's who would look the other way while the contractor loaded material.  He could "pad" what he loaded to what he paid for by about a third, so he always did business with Lowe's, regardless of the outcome.  I have used this contractor since the deck deal, kept an eye on his time and sourced material myself with better results.  This is the first of his work I've had problems with.  I will probably not use him in the future.  He is well-respected in this part of the country, but he did not do his best work on my deck.

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Re: Just a split deck board....

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