This page has a bunch of questions (and a few answers). The majority of our work is custom, so each answer is typically specific to your project. Feel free to read the questions and answers, but please don't hesitate to call us (407.583.6251) to obtain answers for your specific project.
How long until my deck / dock is completed?
That's the $64,000 question. The answer is as custom as your project. There are three primary factors that affect completion dates...
- Permitting - As much as I wish we could sign the construction contract and obtain the necessary permits on our way back to the office, reality isn't quite as agreeable. Depending on which municipality you are in, permitting may only be 1 week, or it could be in excess of 1 month. Regardless, we'll stay on top of the process and make sure that we do all we can to minimize the permit review and issuance process.
- Weather - Days are longer and warmer during the summer. They also tend to be highlighted with strong storms. So, as much as I'd like to thumb my nose at Mother Nature, for the safety of our staff, we take inclement weather seriously. We want to finish your project ASAP, but not at the risk of injury to one of our invaluable staff. Once the storms begin to fade away, productivity declines due to the shorter days and colder temperatures brought on by winter.
- Crew Availability - We are a small company. We only operate 2-3 full-time crews. This allows us to monitor progress and quality regularly. When your construction permit issues, we will immediately allocate a crew to your project. Chances are that there will be 2-3 weeks between permitting and beginning of construction, but the summer rush does extend this window a bit.
Soooo, there's no solid answer. For a homeowner who's already secured permitting for construction of their deck, we might be able to squeeze the project in very shortly, and have everything wrapped up in less than 2 weeks. For a client whose dock requires setback variances, it may be 4 months from contract signing to completion of the project. When we meet with you, we will be able to provide a bit more specific timeline for your reference.
What's the difference between a DECK and a DOCK?
From a structural standpoint, there is very little difference between a deck and a dock. We use the same materials and construction principles. The main difference is that a deck is over land while a dock is over water. To put it another way, a dock is a deck over water. The naming convention is not overly important - we know what you mean.
How much will my deck / dock cost?
Did I say that "construction timeline" was the $64,000 question? Perhaps I misspoke. "Construction cost" is definitely the $64,000 question. The cost of your project has far more variables than the timeline for construction of your project. What type of decking would you like? What type of railing, if any, would you like? What type of lighting would you like? Any seating? Any accessories (boat / jet ski lift systems, post caps, deck inlays, etc.)? You get the idea.
Some contractors are comfortable providing pricing by the square foot. We are not one of those contractors. We find that even though people say "we won't hold you to it", they normally do. So, when the decking selection is changed and the layout is reconfigured, pricing expectations don't reconfigure with it. We will be happy to provide multiple designs and multiple prices for your review, but we'd prefer to do our homework before we give you a generic "ballpark cost". One thing's for sure...the initial consultation is free!
Is my job too small?
We will be glad to service any need, regardless of the size of the need. However, from a financial standpoint, we typically tend to be more expensive for small projects. We carry insurance and overhead costs that most handymen do not - as such, the cost for a handyman to do a small job would be less than if we did the same job. With that said, we do have a fair number of clients who opt to spend more for us to complete a small project, as they know it will be completed professionally and, should there ever be a future concern, we will still be around to service that concern.
Do you service my area?
We do our best to service as much of the Greater Orlando area as possible. Selfishly, as our office is in SW Orlando, we love projects nearby (Dr. Phillips, Windermere). The majority of our staff lives north of downtown Orlando, so we have made a decision to not service Clermont, St. Cloud, or Kissimmee. If the project is of significant enough size, we will travel as needed. We have completed projects on both coasts and just about anywhere in between. Give us a call and let us know what your project entails and we can let you know if we can service your construction needs.
What decking materials do you recommend?
We do our best to be impartial when it comes to decking manufacturers. When it comes to types of decking, we'll give you an earful. We'll save that for another question further down the FAQ list. In a nutshell, we recommend going with a "capped composite" decking product, as almost all of them carry a 25 year warranty against fading and staining (as well as structural). Getting rid of the maintenance associated with real wood is great - knowing that you're not going to get any splinters or trip on a warped board make it that much better.
Do you recommend staining the wood?
You're never going to beat Mother Nature at her game. With that in mind, we recommend not staining the wood solely for the purpose of prolonging the life of the dock. If you're after a particular look or color, then, by all means stain the dock. However, to start the maintenance cycle of annual stain application just to keep the dock from weathering prematurely seems like a lot of work for little payback. As a company, we do not offer staining services, as we encourage you to find a professional painter who will be able to do the work cheaper (much less insurance and overhead) and more professionally, since this is what they do day in and day out.
Do you do commercial work?
We certainly do. The bulk of our work is residential in nature, but we do service commercial clients as well as HOAs. We carry the insurance to meet most any commercial client's requirements and we also can pull the necessary permits, reducing the involvement and oversight required by the commercial entity.
Do I have to be present during construction?
Not unless you plan on helping with the construction! We welcome anyone to help us haul lumber and swing a hammer, but so far, no one's taken us up on the offer. Seriously, you do not have to be present as long as we have access to the project site and access to an electrical power source (usually an outlet on the exterior of the home).
How long will my new deck / dock last?
Another custom question that needs a custom answer. All of our structures are constructed using "ground contact" pressure treated southern yellow pine. This ensures that the pressure treating process penetrates the pine to the utmost level possible. The structure will last in excess of 30 years, as it is the UV light that causes the majority of the material breakdown. If you have a pine deck surface, you should expect to start replacing the boards possibly as early as 10-12 years out, but usually not until 15-16 years have gone by. If you have a man-made decking surface, you should expect the dock to continue to be in usable shape for 30 or more years.
Do you take credit cards?
We do accept major credit cards as well as PayPal. We're working on accepting BitCoin to stay ahead of the curve, but we're not there yet. We've tried taking first born children and elderly parents as payment, but that didn't work out, so for now those are off the table.
I need engineered plans. Can you help?
We can help. Almost all engineered plans begin with a property survey, so it is helpful if you have one available for us to work from. If you don't have one, no worry, we can help with that as well. Give us a call and let us know what it is you're looking to use the plans for (construction? permitting? both?), and we'll adjust the output accordingly.
I want to build my own deck / dock. Can I pay you to be a consultant? Can I rent your tools?
We have played the role of consultant with various DIY construction projects. We typically help our clients through the permit process and then set them loose to build at their own pace. If at some point, the "father-son bonding" project becomes too much, we can step in and complete the work as needed.
Tool rental is better done from a specialized tool rental outfit (like Sunbelt Rentals), but for the few "dock" specific tools that you may need, depending on our present workload, we may be able rent out a screw gun or jet pump for your use.
What's the difference between decking materials?
Decking material is one of the major decisions in the construction of your deck or dock. The de facto standard is Southern Yellow Pine. It is a readily available and plentiful softwood in the southeastern U.S. It has good strength properties while still being easy on tools (unlike tropical hardwoods like ipe). The negative side of the pine is that it does splinter, crack, warp, and eventually rot.
The step above the pine decking is a traditional wood-plastic composite (wpc). These boards are created by taking wood pulp / saw dust and combining it with plastic pulp / dust. It is then colored and extruded to create a solid board. The term composite comes from the idea that the board is a composition of wood and plastic mixed together. Composite decking is a huge improvement over pine in that it won't splinter, crack, warp or rot. Due to the wood content in composite, it does mildew and it will soak in stains.
Due to the limitations presented by having the wood in the composite (staining and mold / mildew growth), the next evolution was to create a deck board without any wood. Thus was born cellular PVC decking. This is 100% plastic with no wood content. PVC is great because it is almost entirely stain resistant in addition to not splitting, cracking or warping. However, the original plastic decking had a "grocery bag" sheen to it, giving it a bit of an unnatural appearance on the deck surface. On a really hot day, PVC decking becomes a bit "spongy" when walked on. It also has a tendency to chalk as it weathers, but this product continues to evolve and improve.
The latest generation of decking is known as capped composite. It takes the strength provided with the original wood plastic composite and coats it with a fade and stain resistant outer layer for maximum protection (think of it as a combination of the first generation core with the second generation surface). This is where the industry is focusing its efforts and the products appear to be of a very high caliber. If minimal maintenance is a priority, a capped composite is the best solution. The most well known name in the decking industry, Trex, now ONLY offers capped composite decking due to its superior characteristics.
As mentioned at the top of the page, every project is custom. Please feel free to contact us a for a specific answer as it pertains to your specific project and we'll be glad to give you as much information as you like.