Archive for Deck Construction & Repair

Cantilever Deck Construction Repair Issues By Bay Area Contractor

Cantilever Deck Construction Repair Issues By Paul Gordon San Francisco Bay Area General Contractor

Contact Paul Gordon  510-909-8552 For A Consultation  Plans Permits Engineering

Post & Beam Deck Construction

Cantilever decks  are used extensively across the United States. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, we see thousands of decks using the cantilever method.  When we consider deck construction, there are generally two types for raised or elevated  decks; post and beam construction, and cantilever construction. You have all seen   post and beam construction. In the simplest form there are several posts that are secured via piers to the ground,  and these posts come up to support the main beam that holds up the outside of the deck.


Post and Beam Deck Construction

Post and Beam Deck Construction


Cantilever Deck Construction

A cantilever deck is one where the support of the deck joists is actually from an extension of the floor joists from inside the house. There is no post and beam to support the joists. The structural integrity of the deck is derived from the size of the joists, the type of wood,  their projection from the structure (your house) and ultimately how the floor joists are secured within your building. Cantilever decks are a clever idea, but can present problems if not carefully constructed and maintained . Don’t confuse a true, fully cantilevered deck  (no posts/no beam) with a small partial cantilever  of deck over a post and beam construction. A true cantilever deck has no posts and beam.

Cantilever Deck (no external posts and beams)

Cantilever Deck (no external posts and beams)

 Rotted Cantilevered Joists

While the benefits of a cantilever deck may be obvious…no posts and beams to obstruct your view, they do present problems. Most often cantilever decks are constructed during new or original construction. Why ? Because it may be convenient to extent the house floor joists out  further to create a deck, or tie into the house framing.  The big issue with cantilever decks is the risk of the joists rotting over time. If the joists are rotted, and compromising the structural integrity of the deck, then the choices are limited in repairing the deck.

Rotted Cantilevered Joists

Rotted Cantilevered Joists


Replacement of Cantilevered Deck Joists

Cantilever deck joists can only be replaced by going back in to house (yes opening up the ceiling or floor) approximately 2 feet for every one foot of projection outside the house (engineering details required here). The real point is that the operation is invasive, labor intensive, and expensive.  Converting over to a post and beam structure as part of the repair may be an alternative, but frequently this creates other issues and is not necessarily less expensive. Now you have posts and a beams obstructing lower area views. Also a change from the original deck structure will likely trigger the need for a set of engineered plans (in California..everything requires an engineer…), plan checks and reviews. Most times its easier and smarter to stick with a repair of the original structure.   Here is a typical scenario. A deck 20 years old is determined to have rotted joists. Where do joists rot ?  Of course at the very top right under the deck boards. It’s a horizontal surface that should have been waterproofed or flashed during original construction. It’s amazing how many contractors skip this detail. The flashing is not required by code, so many just skip this because of the added cost, or  they just don’t understand the issue. A significant portion of our company projects  (Golden Gate Enterprises, Inc. San Francisco Bay Area General Contractor) are deck structure repair and replacement projects as well as dry rot and structural repairs. Most of the failures begin with leaks, and the ultimate rotting of the joists and beams that were never flashed properly.

Replacement of Cantilevered Joists Requires Opening Ceiling Inside House

Replacement of Cantilevered Joists Requires Opening Ceiling Inside House


Plumbing Must Be Removed and Re Connected

Plumbing Must Be Removed and Re Connected

Joist Beam Deck Flashing

Joist Beam Deck Flashing


Experienced General Contractor Required

Repair and replacement of cantilevered decks requires the skills way beyond that of an average deck builder. Consider that you will have to open up the siding (wood or stucco), slide in new joists, make an engineered connection to the existing joists/framing, remove/re-install wiring, plumbing, ducting, remove/replace sheet rock with tape/texture/painting, waterproof the penetrations through the exterior of the house…and then of cours rebuild your deck. In short, you need a very experienced general contractor that specializes in cantilever decks. Repair and replacement of cantilevered decks are not inexpensive. Our company has had to redo many cantilevered decks that were done by inexperienced contractors….and homeowners thinking they were saving a little money. This is the place to shop for experience, not price.

Wrong  Wood For Joists Outside of  The House- Doug Fir Is NOT Acceptable

Another interesting observation…many cantilever decks are using longer “ in the house”  floor joists that project outside the house to create a cantilever deck. Why do I mention this ? Because  the vast majority of times the wood used is the standard doug fir that is acceptable for interior use….but is the last wood you want to use for exterior use. Once doug fir gets wet and starts to rot…it moves quickly. The standard  save money approach is ..”oh we will just paint it”. Our approach is to use  pressure treated wood for cantilevered joists. In the past, other weather resistant wood species…like redwood were used, but those days are fading quickly for a number of reasons (cost, quality, engineering specs, etc). The conclusion is to use pressure treated joists with proper flashing over the top before decking is installed. If you having new construction done, don’t let anyone convince you its ok to have doug fir joists for your cantilever deck. While this done most often, find a good contractor or good architect and they would NEVER do this at their house.  See the pictures above of the new joists installed next to the old joists. Note the pressured treated wood is a different color than the original doug fir wood.


Proper flashing is another item worth mentioning. We have seen many types of flashing details over the years. One of the worst is using basic sheet metal. While the idea seams ok, the problem is that when deck screws/nails from the decking  penetrate through the metal flashing, it creates a path for water to migrate under the metal flashing…and do its job of rotting out the joist over time. The correct solution is to use a flashing material that has asphalt/tar based properties that stick to the top of the joist AND are self sealing with nail/screw penetrations. And I really need to stop using “nail/screw” because the best way secure decking is with screws..not nails. Nails have a way of “popping” over time creating unsightly  decks, cut your foot stick ups, and a path for water to go into the deck boards and joists.   If you have a cantilevered deck, consider some strong preventative maintenance. Before you have a problem, replace your decking. In the process, waterproof the tops of the joists properly so you will have many years of  “don’t worry about it” protection on your deck joists.  However, be prepared to find  “hidden” rot when you pull up the deck boards. If the deck is more than 10 years old, I have yet to pull up deck boards and not find rot on the top of joists. If the joists are still structurally sound, the remedy is to treat the joists with a special two part penetrating epoxy.  Penetrating epoxy is another discussion area, but we will save that for a later article.


Rotted Cantilevered Deck

Rotted Cantilevered Deck


Fully Repaired Cantilevered Deck

Fully Repaired Cantilevered Deck

 Waterproofing  A Cantilevered Deck

Spending now to replace your decking and protecting your joists will likely save you many thousands of dollars in future deck replacement.   Another consideration is waterproofing the deck surface. As a leading San Francisco Bay Area waterproof deck contractor  (think decks over living space, balcony decks, waterproof membranes, Duradek , waterproof tile decks, etc) , we frequently offer the alternative to convert the deck to a fully waterproof deck. Instead of deck boards going back, plywood goes down, then our waterproofing system. Now you will never worry about water rotting out the deck. In addition, you will now have a  covered space below the deck. See the video below for examples of this solution. There are important details that come along with this solution. The biggest issues to address properly is adequate slope on the deck. Flat decks do not drain, so proper sloping of  one quarter inch per foot has to be designed into the deck.


Cantilevered Deck Converted To Waterproof Deck

Cantilevered Deck Converted To Waterproof Deck



Let’s see a few videos of cantilever decks..


The video above is a full walk through of  a job. audio on this one. I am in the process of redoing this with narration.


And look at this video below…a failed cantilevered deck. And you thought you have problems…and no the wood you see is NOT a post and beam is a temporary support to prevent the deck from falling down !






The conclusions from this brief article area as follows:

New cantilevered deck construction: Get it designed properly from the start to prevent future problems. Most architects/builders don’t get the details done correctly.

Current Cantilevered Decks: Get on with preventative maintenance before it turns into a very expensive problem.

Repair/replacement of existing cantilevered decks: Be sure to get a very experienced contractor that specializes in this area.

Golden Gate Enterprises Inc San Francisco Bay Area General Contractor Specializing In Cantilevered Decks, Dry Rot, Deck Construction, and Waterproof Decks

Paul Gordon is the President of Golden Gate Enterprises, Inc a leading San Francisco Bay Area General Contractor that specializes in deck design, deck construction, deck repair, cantilevered decks, waterproof decks, dry rot repair, structural repairs, and full construction services. The company provides engineered plans, permits, and full construction services. Golden Gate Enterprises can be reached at 510-885-0197.

PRESS HERE if you would like to request an appointment for your project.  I hope you have found this article informative and helpful. All of my articles are derived from in field real world experience of many construction projects.

Deck Repair Contractor San Francisco Bay Area

Deck Repairs Contractor San Francisco Bay Area

Regardless of the fact that you have just moved in or in the same old house for years, checking and making some necessary simple deck repairs on your deck is very important not only in creating additional appeal to the house but also to boost up your space.  Safety should be the more important reason and you should make sure that the wooden deck is free from excessive wear or any damage.  Regular checking is a must in order to avoid some major complications that could’ve been prevented by making simple deck repairs. Hiring a licensed General Contractor that serves the San Francisco Bay Area can help solve your problems.

Things to Remember Regarding your Deck Repairs

Don’t forget that your deck is outside your home and most probably made out of wood like any other decks and wood can be easily damaged if not properly maintained.  The major deck repairs that you may have in the coming years may have resulted from the neglected maintenance that you should’ve done earlier. Dry rot is a major cause of deck failures and repairs.  Proper maintenance and construction can help prevent problems.

If you have seen or noticed something with your deck that seemed a bit off then you must check it right away to prevent anything that is already brewing.  If after an investigation you have found out that there was indeed a problem, then make the necessary deck repairs to keep the damage under control and prevent it from bringing any further harm to your deck.  Your quick action is the best solution to any deck repairs. Hiring a licensed contractor is critical for safe and proper deck repairs. Frequently permits are required from the local building department.

Deck Repair Contractor Golden Gate Enterprises San Francisco Bay Area

Deck Repair Contractor Golden Gate Enterprises San Francisco Bay Area

Think of it as a duty to your deck.  If you will not maintain your deck and do simple deck repairs on the onset of a brewing problem then you will find yourself spending more money than you should when you hire a deck contractor to repair your deck. Surely, you don’t want that to happen so if you see any deck repairs that needed attention give it your undivided attention already to avoid meeting a deck contractor. But eventually, most decks will need an experienced contractor like Golden Gate Enterprises.

If water is pooling  up within the area of the structural posts or the framing supports then you should act quickly and look for the right deck repairs to take and find out what could be causing the problem at hand.  It wouldn’t hurt to make some research about the particular problem that you might find in your deck and apply the necessary deck repairs.  Keep in mind that it is wise to act now than face bigger problems later on. You may want to consider a waterproof deck.

Acting and making simple deck repairs can save you money and from a lot of trouble in the future and by doing so you will be certain that you will always have a beautiful deck to boast.

Making Simple Deck Repairs

There are simple deck repairs that you can do for your problems like:

– Ruined joists – the joists can weaken overtime, they split or break and replacing them quickly is the best way to avoid the complications of deck repairs later on if not attended immediately.  The idea is to remove the bad boards with a one and the deck repairs  would be a lot easier if they were screwed and not nailed.  One of the advantages of using a screw instead of nail is the ease in replacing the damaged wood when such deck repairs come. If the boards happened to be nailed try to loosen up the nails gently and try not to create further damage.  Once you are finished with freeing the joists from the screw or nail, gently slide it out and measure the replacement in accordance with the size of the pulled out joist.  Place the new joist in and if possible use only screws to secure it once more so that the succeeding deck repairs will be a lot easier.

– Sinking post – usually occur when the posts of the deck while building the deck were not dug deep enough into  the ground.  Because of certain movement in soil, posts of the deck go deeper into the ground and as the posts sink, the deck follows.  What you need to do in deck repairs such as this is locate the bad post then position the car jack underneath the truss that is nearest the problem post.  Slowly push the deck up with the jack and remember to take things slowly until it is level again.  Deck repairs for this problem require raising it slowly is the name of the game because if you will do it in such speed then there is huge possibility for the wood to break apart.  There are deck repairs that you could not handle by yourself such as this and ask for the help  of  licensed contractor. You can ask for a pipe and slide it into the hole where the soil is loose around the bad post then use the pipe as a funnel to put in pea gravel into the bottom.  Make sure that you had able to fill in the needed gravel for the hole that even if you release the jack, the deck will be able to remain at the correct level.  Repeat the process of deck repairs to the posts the needed to be filled up. Some piers that support the posts may need to be re poured for proper structural support. Once again, consult a licensed deck contractor.

Golden Gate Enterprises has been providing deck repair, deck building, and general contractor services through out the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact  the best Bay Area Contractor today.

Bay Area Contractor Deck Builder

Bay Area Deck Builder Contractor

A deck is a vital part of the house or a building.  It is a large extended area of the building or house that is commonly made of planks of wood for weight support.  A deck can give justice to the beauty of the house that is why there is a need for you to trust your deck to a professional deck builder.  A deck is just a perfect place to go to if you want to enjoy the night alone or with some friends for a nice get together. It’s critical to find a top rated San Francisco Bay Area General Contractor that specializes in deck building.

Deck Builder Contractor Knows Best

When someone mentions ‘deck’, what comes to mind is a wooden platform with enclosed railing to ensure safety of anyone in the deck.  A deck builder must see to it that the deck is totally secure and safe.  The deck can be accessed coming from the inside of the house and from the ground using a stairway.  Having a beautiful deck can be a nice addition to the whole appearance of the house and can be covered using a canopy to give a gorgeous shade against direct sunlight.  A good deck builder will know what to do once you said the things that should be done. A very nice addition to a deck is using aluminum glass railings.



Golden Gate Enterprises Bay Area Deck Builder Contractor

Golden Gate Enterprises Bay Area Deck Builder Contractor

Where to Find a Deck Builder

Finding a good deck builder will require time and long search.  You need to be certain that the builder that you are going to hire can adhere with the things that you wanted things to be done while ensuring complete safety during the entire duration of the project.  The builder should be able to make a guarantee that the constructed deck is safe and dependable. We provide all the plans, permits and engineering.


Plans Permits Engineering Deck Builder Golden Gate Enterpries

Plans Permits Engineering Deck Builder Golden Gate Enterpries

The planning and the actual construction are not that hard but safety while the construction is on going is a pre-requisite.  Hiring a deck builder with the proper knowledge and right skills to do the job properly can be tricky.  The deck builder must be able to come up with a durable and well made deck.

Looking for a deck builder through the pages of a directory by flipping it is a thing of the past.  You have located one to the top deck builder companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Golden Gate Enterprises Inc. is A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau.

Looking for a good deck builder is not a simple thing to do, in fact it can be quite time consuming.   You will find that not only are we great deck builders, but we bring a wealth of experience as San Francisco Bay Area General Contractors that specialize in home improvements, home remodels, paver patios, outdoor BBQ’s, and general construction services.


Hiring a Deck Builder

In hiring a deck builder you need to go through certain things like asking for a company profile that can prove the past works of the deck builder, the valid license of business, permits, and other pertinent things that you need to have in order to make the right decision..  It would be better if that deck builder would be able to provide you with photos of the decks that his company has worked on.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a licensed, insured, San Francisco Bay Area Contractor that specializes in deck building, deck construction, then call Golden Gate Enterprise, Inc. today for a free consultation. 510-909-8552. We are the leading deck builder in the bay area.

Choosing The Perfect Deck Contractor In The Bay Area

Choosing the Perfect Deck Contractor

Choosing a deck contractor to do your deck for you can be a tedious and a time consuming task especially if you want to make sure that the finished job will be to your liking.  There are available deck contractors via the net to choose from but you must first look at the samples of their work and you can also check out the reviews that were given by their previous clients so that you will be able to come up with a decisive decision.  Before hiring a deck contractor, it is necessary to conduct an interview and see how each contractor will fare that will help you choose the perfect one for the job.

Things to Consider in Hiring a Deck Contractor

There are things to consider in making sure that you will be hiring a deck contractor that will understand the things that you want without sacrificing the quality and safety.  You might want to clarify some things with the deck contractor such as:

  • The years of service of the contractor’s company – the contractor must have at least three years in his track record being a deck contractor otherwise that contractor might not be able to perform at par with the job you are expecting the deck contractor to do.  If the contractor lacks some years of needed experience then it is possible that the contractor won’t be able to keep his business.
  • Work references – the deck contractor must be able to give you at least 25 references for the work they did.  They should have more than 25 clients in their three-year business streak and it should not be hard for the deck contractor to give you 25 names immediately when you asked for it.  You might want to ask the previous clients about the quality of work, efficiency, professionalism, care for your property, ability to adhere with the schedule, and other pertinent questions.
  • The business license and permits of the deck contractor – the important documents such as permits must be in the possession of the contractor and if not, you should think otherwise because there is a huge possibility that the contractor has not able to comply with the needed requirements.  The license for business is the proof of every company that their business is a legitimate one that had able to satisfy all that was asked of them.
  • The insurance – should include workman’s compensation and the over all accountability for the protection of the homeowner.  If the deck contractor does not hold any insurance then the burden of taking responsibility for the worker’s injury if there should be any will fall on the shoulders of the homeowner as well as the damage incurred in the property.
  • The detailed quote – as a client, you are entitled to have a detailed quote from the deck contractor.  It will serve as a commitment of the contractor to finish the work on a specified time and must be able to stick with the time frame that the contractor had set.

Things to Know Before the Actual Work Begins With A Deck Contractor

Before the actual work may proceed, you might want to clarify some things first in order to avoid some misunderstanding later that may cause delay.  You may ask the deck contractor immediately if their company needs a certain deposit in order for the job to proceed although a stable contractor must be able to immediately start the work and demand payment when the whole thing was completed.

You can also ask if the deck contractor will be using nails or screws.  Although hammering nails can make the work faster than screwing, proper deck builder will never opt to using nails, which can eventually fail.  Screws can provide the needed security and stability of the project.

Ask if there are extra charges involved.  Sometimes even if you specifically told the deck contractor to hand you the quotation where the actual and final price of the project were indicated, they still give the estimate for the entire project.  Make sure that you are going to receive the quotation in writing that includes the final bill that will be charged for the project.

The certainty about the warranty must be clarified and the deck contractor must offer them almost immediately as a sign of their commitment.  There might be a slight difference on warranty given between the materials and labor but the important thing is that the deck contractor will be able to provide for one.

A good deck contractor must be able to satisfy all your requirements without incurred difficulties and give you the deck that you have been aiming for.

Also remember that plans, permits, and engineering are usually needed for deck projects. Golden Gate Enterprises Inc. handles all of this. Another important point in selecting a deck contractor is to use a well rounded General Contractor. Most deck projects involve a whole lot more than just deck building. There are possible plumbing , electrical, stucco, siding, and waterproofing issues associated with the projects. Also consider a waterproof deck instead of traditional deck construction.

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