A Sandpoint, Idaho General Contractor
Sandpoint Custom Deck Construction

Deck Construction Project Gallery

Scott Herndon Homes builds covered and uncovered decks and patios and would love the opportunity to design, bid and build your next deck project. While this page features a couple of decks we have built, as you look at the rest of our website you will notice most homes and shops we build have decks or patios incorporated into them, so you can get some more deck ideas from those buildings. Also, our blog is a day-to-day documentation of different projects we have constructed, including decks.

On this page, we'll show you just a couple of decks we have built to give you a sample of what we can do for you. We'll also describe the construction details of how we build decks that last:

  1. A new covered and uncovered Cedar deck for a Baldy Mountain log cabin
  2. A creative Trex deck for a Sandpoint home

Log Cabin Cedar Deck

We designed and built this deck at a cabin on Baldy Road in Sandpoint.  The existing covered porch was rotten since it was built using untreated lumber and was set on piers sunk into the dirt.  The snow shed from the roof and the rain splatter soaked the supporting timbers and caused rot in just under ten years since the porch was built.  One blow from a hammer completely broke in half a 10" diameter deck support beam.  That is why it is important to build properly in North Idaho, to resist the rot threatened by the elements!

We rebuilt the front porch with new, naturally rot resistant Western Red Cedar posts set on new concrete piers with proper flashing to separate the Cedar from the concrete.  That means we had to temporarily support the front porch roof at demolition of the support structure and while we poured new piers and placed new posts.  We were also able to correct a serious out of level condition with the roof line by using bottle jacks.  We then used ACQ treated joists, which resist rot when exposed to wet conditions.  The decking is naturally rot resistant Western Red Cedar. 

When using ACQ treated lumber, it is important to use G185 weight hot dipped galvanized nails and fasteners, since they are the only fasteners that will resist the metals decomposition imposed on other fasteners with ACQ treated lumber that is exposed to moisture.  We also use only Simpson ZMax joist hangers with ACQ treated lumber for similar reasons, and we take the extra step of isolating the hanger from contact with the wood by using a layer of bituminous roll flashing between the two.

We also added vapor barriers under the covered porch and perforated drainage pipe at the drip lines on both the front and back of the cabin pitched away from the cabin.  The deck actually features a metal grate at the drip line on the front step and the back porch so that water will be immediately routed into the drain pipe.  Water management is important around a home!

Here is the cabin before we started:

Cabin Before New Deck

Cabin Before New Deck 2

These are construction photos showing the new piers, new Cedar front posts and treated joists:

Sandpoint Deck Piers and Posts

Sandpoint Treated Deck Framing

And, photos of the completed project:

Sandpoint New Cedar Deck

New Deck Construction

Sandpoint Trex Deck

The first step in any good building project, AFTER careful planning and financial budgeting, is a good foundation. This applies to all kinds of structures we build, but when I look at decks, I notice that a lot of builders underbuild the foundation. A great example of this neglect is in the depth of the foundation.

On homes, most builders use 32 inch foundation stem walls around here on top of an 8 inch tall footer. The primary reason for this is to preclude any frost heaving of the structure during the frozen winter months. But, when they build the attached deck, they unexplainably use a much shallower foundation. We stick to the same principle as for houses, barns and shops, and pour our rebar reinforced concrete deck piers on a footer that is 32" below finished grade.

This brings up another subject - foundation loading. We have seen builders inexplicably exclude a larger footer on these concrete piers. The broad footer accomplishes at least two purposes. First, like a snowshoe, it spreads the load against a greater footprint, so that the structure is less likely to settle when loaded. As well, since it is a larger diameter than the concrete pier to which it is attached, it helps prevent the pier from frost heave when it gets pushed on the side by frozen ground. If the pier was shaped like a carrot, the frozen ground pushing on its side, which is what happens when ground freezes - it expands - would push the pier out of the ground. The rebar connected concrete footer acts as a broad anchor to resist this force, and it precludes the effect of even slight carrot shaping to the overall shape of the pier. (Not that we pour our piers in the shape of carrots).

Depending on the size of the deck, the piers and footers should be stout, due to the ultimate live loading of the deck. The dead load of a deck is the weight of the actual construction materials, while the live load will be the weight of people, furnishings, and really importantly up here, snow loading. In heavy winters, when a deck does not get shoveled, then the snow loading can exceed 50 pounds or more per square foot. Across a large deck, this is a lot of weight and should be accounted for when sizing the piers and the footers. It should also be accounted for when sizing the girders, posts and joists.

We built a beautiful Trex deck for a client for whom we built an addition several years ago. The deck is attached to the home by a treated ledger , but much of its weight bears on piers and deck beams away from the house structure. Here is a photo of foundation construction. In it, we have poured the concrete piers and, out of view around the corner, are placing a black plastic topped by washed, crushed rock. The deck will be built over this, and its purpose is weed suppression under this large deck and to give a cleaner look under the deck:

deck foundation

deck weed suppression barrier and rock

On this deck, we installed Trex Transcends deck planking in the tropical colors Tiki Torch and Lava Rock. We constructed a double plank border of the darker color, while using the lighter color "in the field". This deck utilized the Trex hidden fastener system, which, while more expensive than traditional fasteners, provides a much cleaner looking installation:

Sandpoint Trex Deck photo 1

Sandpoint Trex Deck photo 2

Sandpoint Trex Deck photo 3

Sandpoint Trex Deck photo 4

Sandpoint Trex Deck photo 5

Sandpoint Trex Deck photo 6