Needed repair inspires idea for deck with breathtaking view

Needed repair inspires idea for deck with breathtaking view

When the support beam to Angie’s List member Michael Henry’s Portland, Oregon living room developed dry rot, it motivated him and his wife, Barbara Hilty, to do something they had wanted to do since they first bought their home – build a deck.

“We bought our house 13 years ago,” he says. “There’s a sliding glass door that was there when we bought the house, but it just entered onto a three-foot-wide unprotected window washing platform above a 22-foot drop. So, you could say we’ve been thinking about it for 13 years. Given that we had to replace the beam, it made a lot of sense to do both the deck and the beam replacement.”

Henry and Hilty hired highly rated Empire Contractors in Beaverton, Oregon, to build the deck, which sits 22 feet in the air.

When it came to the design, Henry says there weren’t many options — the size, shape and placement were determined largely by the existing space. Therefore, he focused on decking material and railing. For the railing, he chose a material that would match an existing smaller deck on the same level. He and Hilty decided to use Ipe material for the flooring. “We chose Ipe because it is extremely strong, relatively low maintenance, comparable in cost to other higher-end PVC decking, and beautiful,” he says.

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 (Photo by )
Henry says that he had been thinking about building a deck for 13 years, and a rotting support beam finally convinced him to do it. (Photo courtesy of Michael Henry) (Photo by )

Henry says he was his own general contractor during the project and took care of procuring the city permits, contracting with the railing company and hiring structural and geotechnical engineers to design the deck.

His favorite part of the project, though, was working with Scott Rowland at Empire Contractors. “There are a lot of questions that come up during implementation,” he says. “Scott was easy to work with and had good ideas that he could explain clearly. He was willing to have me involved and took any questions I had seriously.”


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