Huntersville deck builder shares his experience
Ray Steimel has more than 20 years of experience in home building. In March 2004, he opened his own business, Deck Pros, to give North Carolina's outdoor construction industry an element he thought it lacked: creativity.
Why should I consider adding a deck or porch to my home?
"You can create a usable space that will increase the value of your home. In fact, decks and porches have surpassed kitchen and baths as far as their return value.
"A porch is covered and a deck isn't. If you're going for a dry space or it's too hot, you're better off with a porch. If you want a larger area for entertaining in the sun, you should go with a deck. The majority of my jobs are a combination of the two."
Who we talked to
What kind of materials do you use to build a deck or porch?
"Anything from the standard pressure-treated pine to cedar, redwood, composite materials or iron. You can make these things as simple or fancy as you want. If you're looking for something maintenance-free, then composite materials are the best."
What's the average price for a new deck or porch?
"Our prices range from $1,500 to $80,000. It really depends on what you want. All of the materials have factory warranties, and we warranty our craftsmanship for a full year. You can get a free estimate by phone or through our website."
Do I need a permit to add a deck or porch to my home?
"As of Jan. 1, all home additions need a permit, no matter what elevation or size. We take care of the permit. Frankly, if a contractor tells a customer he can't pull the permit for them, they shouldn't be using that contractor. That means they're trying to wash their hands of any responsibility. Some companies aren't licensed or bonded, so they tell customers to get their own permit. There's no reason customers should have to do it themselves."
What do I need to doto maintain my deck or porch?
"The reality is, you just need to waterproof it twice a year. If the deck is built well, you shouldn't have to do anything else. You can paint it or stain it, if you want. If you have composite materials, you should clean it with composite cleaner once a year."