Tampa contractor discusses decks
Sam Desmond started in the construction business 23 years ago with his uncles in Pittsburgh. He eventually abandoned steel country for the sunny shores of Florida in 1995, moving his business in the process. "Work was slow in Pittsburgh and my mother lives in Florida," he says. "I can work all year here and be quite comfortable."
Why should I consider adding a deck or porch?
Who we talked to
Sam Desmond, owner
Desmond Construction Services
2002 Australia Way E., Suite 68
"It expands your living area. It can also transform your backyard into your own little paradise — a deck that surrounds a swimming pool or hot tub can be an oasis."
What kind of material is best?
"The framing for decks is always treated wood. The deck boards can be a variety from wood to plastic, which comes in different colors. The railings typically match the deck boards. Plastic deck boards last forever and never splinter. It's not a structural material — you can't use it for the framing.
"The plastic can cost twice as much as the wood, but there's savings in the future. There's also a green element to plastic; it's made from many recycled materials like sawdust and other plastics."
What's the average price?
"It's a broad range. It's anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 or even $8,000 for a deck. It depends on the size and materials, of course. With a porch, typically made from concrete or brick with a roof, you could easily double that range. Some could be as much as $16,000."
Do I need to get a permit?
"It depends on your local community. Check the local building codes — each one is different. First, you need a survey of the lot. Next, you need to go to the local township or local municipality's zoning department — they tell you the size of the deck that's allowed and how far you can build toward the property line.
"Then, you need drawings stamped by a registered engineer and you can apply for your permit. It can be a day or two before it's approved and it'll cost under $100. Being a full-service contractor, I design it, do the drawings and get the permit for free."