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Newbie Deck Builder Questions

18 years ago

Hi all... I need to replace an existing 20yr old PT deck. While I'm at it I want to make it larger with the possible addition of a three season room on it. The existing deck is solid but old and is roughly 16x13. My new deck will be 20x37 and wrap around to the side entrance. Here are some questions and I realize the answers are probably buried deep in the forums but would hope consolidating them would be easier for the experts to answer and help others as well:

I'm considering IPE or other hardwood. Would it be better to use the longest boards possible or use shorter lengths. 6' or 8' as opposed to 10' or 12'?

Will I have to dig footings for the extension to the existing deck or could I join a board to an existing joist. The extension would be about 4'.

I saw a bunch of posts blasting the metal cleats. Is the IPE clip that joins grooved boards also a bad idea? Are face screws the only choice? I know some people don't mind the screw holes but if given the choice I'd prefer not to have them.

While I may attempt this myself (myself being the gopher and water boy for very handy friends) if I do opt for a professional is it important for them to have hardwood experience? I know it's preferred but is it a neccesity?

BTW... I live in NJ where the temperature extremes are severe. Sub-Zero in the winter to 100 degrees in the summer.

I'm not even going to ask about finishes as I think I can figure that one out by surfing the threads :)

If you know of any local source for IPE and/or recommended decking contractors please advise. Somerville Lumber has IPE and other hardwoods but it's over $3.00/lf and they REALLY push composites.

If anyone has a hardwood deck in the 08801 area they would let me and wifey see I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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