The Craigslist House
  Description of the Property
  Tree Removal Services
  Pests and Pest Removal Services
  Mold and Moisture Problems
  French Drains
  Sealing the Stucco
  Legalizing Second Unit
  Engineers, Architects and the Like
  Parking/Retaining Wall Project
  Foundation Types
  Foundation Contractors
  Helical Screw Contractors
  Dirt, Debris and Demo
  Rain, Rain, Rain
  Fire Sprinkler Vendors
  Framing Contractors

Replacing the Decks

  Replacing the Decks  

The house has two decks, totalling 602 sq feet. Since portions of the decks are getting unsafe, and since the deck in in the way of the residing effort, I guess it's time to replace them.

When I first took bids for the rough framing, I asked for separate numbers for the deck replacement. I received two quotes, one from Chris Clark Construction (20 Estrella Way, Novato, CA 415-898-5408), and the other from Richard Schneider Construction (P.O. Box 3931 San Rafael, CA) Chris' bid was $25,200 but had some excludes that would add up. Rich's bid was a few thousand higher, but included demo. It took some analysis, but it seemed that Chris' bid was better.

I wasn't sure what the county would want, paperwork-wise, when simply replacing a deck. Turns out they wanted engineer's stamped drawings. Henry Larsen indicated that it might take 13 or so hours, at $165/hour. Damn! I looked on ServiceMagic.com and found three Bay Area three engineers. I spoke with the first one, and learned that deck calcs might take 25-30 hours, and cost $175/hour. I spoke to the second provider, and learned that he too would not save me money. Humbled, I emailed my local structural engineer, Henry Larsen, and requested that the work be done. Unfortunately, it took longer than the 13 hours suggested.

I presented the deck drawings to Chris Clark. He tweaked his bid. I was disappointed that the deck bid climbed by thousands. Oh well. To cover myself, I posted for deck contractors on Servicemagic. The response was, as usual, excellent, and four contractors came by within a few days. Unfortunately, no one priced the job dramatically below Chris' bid. Oh - And no one included demo or cable deck railings in his bid.

Postscript: Chris has re-presented his bid, to reflect deck structure-only. So I will be shopping for both a cable rail installer and a deck-surface installer. My latest thoughts are:

Railing system = cable railing + ipe posts OR powder-coated steel.

Deck surface = ipe-type tropical hardwood.

Engineer's PDF of new deck (2mg)
(Note: joists have been installed 16" OC, not the 24" shown in these plans.)

Go to Description of Property for additional PDFs.

3-D drawing
3-D model

Old deck - New wing's original upstairs' deck

Old deck - Looking in from the new wing's deck to the old square's deck.

Old deck - Another view of the drop between the deck and
the flat spot on the other side.

Old deck - Looking in from the new wing's downstairs' deck. Old deck - Entrance to downstairs. With the downstairs floor having been dropped a foot, the look of this entrance has changed.

New deck's framing, as seen from downstairs entrance. New deck's framing, as seen from roof.

New wing's existing upper and lower decks

Question for a landscape architect: Is there a way to make the approach to upstairs
more attractive? Right now the pathway/stairs feels like a corridor. Of course I
will make the steps wider, but I would like to somehow create a relationship between
the deck and the flat garden area to the left. (Yes - the aging retaining wall will
need to be replaced, but that also means that I can relocate this flat area -
pushing it away from the deck a few more feet, or moving it whatever else is needed.)

What to do about access to upstairs? Here's a vision, drawn in the early 60's, for the prior owner. Although I hate to keep throwing money at this place, perhaps this is the eventual solution... View from upstairs (red marks showing retaining wall). Now that this will be our entrance and exit, we need to class it up a bit.

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Last Updated Feb 2014.