Enjoy this Atlantic Beach homeowners’ new Trek’s deck with a cable bullet cable rail system and custom features. The Steven’s family of Atlantic Beach, Florida wanted a clean and secure deck location immediately outside their sunroom overlooking the lake where they could safely enjoy family time with their toddler. Working with Landscape Designer David Holloway they decided on a plan to build this Trek’s deck including the cable bullet cable rail system with wood finish top rail, metal gates, and custom louvered panels around air conditioning unit. Site preparation, and landscaping elements of the project were completed by Landscape Foreman Brett Estes and crew working around the deck construction by carpenters overseen by Foreman Dempsey McClelland. Carpenter Mike London provides us his ‘Carpenter Notes” project overview video along with daily progress reports that Rockaway provides every landscape client along with action plans for each day leading up to completion.
Thursday, September 14th
Today, we laid out the deck by measuring off the house and family room. Checking our parallels (numbers off the house to find a square), we installed the ledger board against the house as a beginning point to build out. Continuing to build by installing rim joists, the outside of the deck frame, footers on every corner, and an intersecting location that will be load-bearing. Then, we laid out and installed the joists every 12 inches on center. The nature of composite decking requires closer joists for proper support because if done 16 inches on center, the boards tend to flex when heated up on hot summer days. Every joist needs metal joist hangers to secure the joist to the deck’s frame. Hangers reinforce against damage from load weight and wind events such as hurricanes. We used stainless steel screws as required by the building department. We also anchored 3″ stainless screws through the rim joist into each joist from behind it for added strength. The grade (angle of deck fall) was chosen following the preexisting fall of the concrete slab below the family room.
Action Plan: Moving forward, we will continue installing rim joists, footers, and joists on the other end of the deck and wrap around the corner on the other side.
Tuesday, September 19th
The rim joists installation outside the family room couldn’t be attached to the concrete slab. So 4’x4′ footers had to be dug out, poured in concrete, and secured with 6-inch timberlock fasteners.
A 4’x4′ pressure treated (PT) footer was installed as tap cons couldn’t secure the ledger board onto the foundation due to concrete overpour. .75 inch CPVC irrigation pipes in the way of proper installation at the desired location. We tried to chip away and break off any slab in the way of ledger installation, but it’s too much material. 4’x4′ footers will no doubt be stronger, given their engineering qualities. They were additionally reinforced with a bag and a half of concrete (5000 psi failure rating) plus two 6-inch rust-resistant timber lock fasteners that equal or outperform .5-inch lag bolts and washers. This will protect from hurricane-force winds and have a high load-bearing rating. We’ve over-engineered the deck frame to reduce the risk of structural failure. The deck will become stronger with every joist and trex deck board installed.
Along the house, a 2′ x 6′ x 16′ was attached to footers and locked into the rear rim joist on the back of the deck closest to the pond. And attached with timber locks to footers and joists. Joists were installed in this deck section at 12 inches on center, as previously stated by the building dept. For Trex decking. Attached with 3-inch stainless through joists and again with joist hangers and one 5/8ths stainless steel screws to hangers.
As previously stated, a 4′ x 4′ footer post is set into concrete. Set at grade of existing g slab we will be working with. The third section of hangers measured 153 1/4 inches, 12 inches on center. Joist hangers are installed with stainless screws. All joists are laid out for the third section, and footers are set in concrete 66 inches from the family room. Attached to hangers 12 inches on center.
Action Plan: We will continue laying out framing and joists /footers on the farthest side near two doors butting up to the neighbor’s property. 4′ x 4′ footer installed every 5 feet next to the foundation to assure maximum strength for the deck.
Wednesday, September 20th
Install of footer set into concrete at mid length of long sections run. 2×6 runner going across all joists for added support at ground level. Second series of footers with lower runner support below that spans across all joists. All footers installed into concrete and s3cured with timberlocks. Ledger board installed at correct height to foundation that is against neighbors house. Ledger board installed with tapcon screws to correct height to accommodate flush transition of decking into neighbors existing patio. First, second and third section completely finished with framing, hangers and fasteners. Last run of 2×6 joists cut to length and installed with joist hangers and secured using stainless steel screws, footers installed where necessary if rum if longer than 5 feet for proper weight bearing.
Action Plan: Install remaining joists that tie into neighbors house, possible 1 or 2 more footers. Then after that we begin laying down decking materials.
Thursday, September 21st
We installed 2×6 nailers, unlike with the exterior rim joists, to accommodate a fastening surface for trex decking trim boards to be installed on the outside edge. Trex trim boards require a 5-inch margin to screw into the inside and outside of the board to framing. We installed supplemental 4×4 footers in between the preexisting load-bearing posts. These 4x4s must have support and a fastening surface for trex fascia boards running from the top of framing down to the ground level. This will ensure no flex or warp occurs in trex fascia boards. The last section of joists were installed with hangers that tie into the neighbor’s patio on the left side. All joists are installed at 12 inches on center, like the rest of the deck layout. We completed the full run of joists running parallel to the house so decking rums perpendicular to the house towards the lake.
Action Plan: Called in for inspection from the building department, we will certainly pass with flying colors. Once the inspection is signed off on for structural integrity we can begin installing trex decking with the camo hidden fastener system. We expect the inspection to be performed on Monday, considering their usual turnaround time after being called.
Wednesday, September 27th
We installed the deck fascia board that wraps around the deck’s frame 3/4 of an inch below the deck’s face to ensure the ability to install strip lighting around the deck. The Fascia board is secured every 4 feet with camo deck screws. Nailer blocks had to be installed in line with where the trim boards would lay to allow for proper fastening to the deck frame. The blocks were secured with 3-inch stainless steel screws. They were installed down the entire length of the rim joist. Blocking was installed on the corner where the trim boards’ mitre cuts will meet to allow a flush fit of the two adjoining boards, to prevent tilt of the decking material. Fascia boards and outside trim boards are the only materials that require visible screw holes due to how they are fastened to the deck’s sub-structure. We’ll fill with matching color caulk to hide any hole visibility. 45-degree mitre cuts on corners join the edges, which were secured with camo low-profile deck screws. Using a string line, we checked all our finish edges to ensure the fascia and trim boards were perfectly straight. 45-degree mitre on the opposing corner was cut and installed. The first course of trex past the A.C. unit was scribed around the post and installed in line with the house for a clean look. We cut the entire section of the deck boards and dry-fit them. Gravel needs to be installed below the deck to protect against rain erosion under the deck. Thus, the boards still need to be permanently fastened. The decking that butts into ac unit was cut to length and installed with camo decking screws. Lay out of louvered panels for the A.C. unit. We set dimensions to the inside of the 4×4 posts surrounding the unit. Using the primed finish 1×4 stock, we cut the panels box and 17 blinds within the frame. We predrilled the frame to install the blinds within the box and secured them with 1 5/8ths stainless steel screws. We completed 1 of 2 panels that surround the A.C. unit.
Action Plan: We’ll continue laying down the decking, pour the gravel below the deck to permanently install each trex board, and install the remaining fascia boards on the far end.
Friday, September 29th
We started working at the shop Friday due to the heavy rain and gravel installation under the deck. Laid out the second louver to match the corresponding space it’s to be installed in. We predrilled the side panels to prevent cracking. Cut 19 louvers at a length of 37.25 inches. Installed all 19 louvers using stainless steel screws through predrilled holes. One by one we install each trex board on the short span of the deck. We used camo hidden fasteners to secure into joists. Closest to green house, the decking needs to be secured with 3/16ths tapcon concrete screws and a trim board covering the screw holes. Parallel to the side of the green house, we had to install shims below the deck to secure the concrete at the proper grade. After passing the corner, the decking is run on straight courses over joists again and secured with camo decking screws—side view of all fully installed decking that is complete.
Action Plan: Continue laying trex on the far side of the deck and tie into the dual back doors
Wednesday, October 4th
Installation of 2×6 P.T. backing and bracket to mount railing closest to A.C. unit. First, we plumbed all the railings and then lubricated all threads on the railing system with supplied lubricant before installing threaded locking fasteners with supplied connectors. With clamp connectors, we installed the cables for the handrail and followed the exact instructions for installation. Keep cables relatively loose until 2×6 wood handrail is installed. Down the deck’s entire course, we repeated the cable system installation across all new handrails for the cable bullet system. Tightening will happen once the handrail is installed on top. Center span guides strictly keep cables in line throughout the deck handrails. They also increase cable tension to a small degree.
Action Plan: Finish installation of cable bullet system. Installation of 2×6 handrail on top, assorted punch list items to finish 100 percent.
Tuesday, October 10th
After speaking with the client regarding the stain color, we picked up the handrails and prepped them for staining by sanding and planing the boards to remove any imperfections. Each handrail had two coats of oil base stain applied and wiped down for an even coat. Using 5×5 square wood plates, we routered eight plates with a round over bit, sanded, and stained them with the matching stain for handrail. We drilled out the wood plates with the corresponding hardware to match the metal hardware attached to the railing system. We applied a final coat of white to the two A.C. louvers.
Action Plan: Tomorrow, we are installing the handrail system. We will also be installing the louvered walls around the A.C. unit. If gates arrive, we will begin installation of both gates as well.
Wednesday, October 11th
We began installing railings by sizing the bracket distances and cutting a 45 on the first corner. Two of the 8 brackets were drilled and installed using stainless steel carriage bolts attached to the hardware. Three of 8 brackets were drilled and installed using stainless steel carriage bolts attached to the hardware. Four of 8 brackets were drilled and installed using stainless steel carriage bolts attached to the hardware. Five of 8 brackets drilled and installed using stainless steel carriage bolts attached to the hardware. 45-degree mitre cut on the corner to attach adjoining handrail on the far end.
Action Plan: Installation of the gates and hardware. Install of the louvered panels around the AC
Monday, October 16th
We removed the existing end post for the cable bullet system and replaced it with a blank 2×2 end post to install an additional gate on Mr Stevens’s side of the deck. The first post was secured to the deck framing using 6-inch timberlock fasteners. The second post was installed and anchored to deck framing. This post holds the locking mechanism of gate. Laid out, predrilled and fastened using hinges onto gate using self tapping stainless steel screws. Gate is fully installed with all necessary hardware. The gate lock system installed on the interior side of gate, works perfectly. Installed a short section of the handrail that was attached with stainless steel carriage bolts and stainless steel nuts. Cut and stretched out to proper tension all cables on the first section of railing closest to Gate. Precisely tensioned to 100-130 lbs of tension. Hung opposite sides gate and figured out the layout for posts and where they needed to be positioned. Tensioned long runs of cables to proper spec. Stated by manufacturer.
Action Plan: Finish installation of gate farther down deck space as stated by Mr. Stevens and Dempsey. Install post for gate lock to be secured to, and minor adjustments to cables. One 18-inch fascia board needs to be secured to the far end with four screws. Louvers need to be installed and trimmed out.
Wednesday, October 18th
Starting the day (on-site) by shooting a video overview of the project as part of my Carpenter Notes series. Be sure to watch it on youtube. I applied a second and third coat of brilliant white exterior paint on the 4×4 posts surrounding the A.C. unit. These posts host the louvered privacy panels that are being installed. Grey exterior paint was applied to a few areas of visible sub-structure I.E. ledger boards and joists near A.C. unit. Going from the right to left side I painted, using matching grey exterior paint, the pocket under the decks face and in between the beginning of the fascia board. This assures a cleaner and more fluid finished look from the lake’s shoreline. Installed small pieces of 2×6 as blocking to accommodate a 17-inch piece of fascia board that wasn’t installed in the corner yet. Secured with Camo stainless steel screws. 17-inch piece of fascia board that still needs to be installed in the corner. Secured with Camo stainless steel screws and dug in a bit to tie in correctly. Gates were installed at a newly determined location farther back on the deck’s narrow left side section.
Installation of gate lock posts that has amounting bracket directly into the decks face. #14 course thread stainless steel screws attach to the de k and substructure. Self-tapping stainless screws join the post and bracket together, 2 on each side. Plumbed and leveled. Sanded flush and restained corner joint for an immaculate corner. 3-inch camo screws are installed between both mitres for a stronger joined connection. Sanded flush and restained corner joint for an immaculate corner. 3-inch camo screws are installed between both mitres for a stronger joined connection. Drilled holes on back of corner posts and center post to accommodate wiring for recessed lighting that goes under the handrail. This will assure a cleaner look by internally routing all cables.
Action Plan: Tomorrow, we will install the louvered privacy panels and internally route the wiring for the lighting. After that, everything will be 100% complete.
Thursday, October 19th.
On the final day of construction we completed installation of louvered privacy panels complete and two coats of finish brilliant white paint. Cut railing mount block to accommodate underside lighting strip. Far end gate lock installed and checked for proper functionality.
Last cable installed at bottom and all cables tensioned to spec. by the manufacturer. Underside strip to mount lighting as well as lighting itself has been installed, and checked for functionality with dedicated control box. All cables tensioned to spec. and checked for proper seating. Edge guard and gravel straightened out for straighter edge on gravel field below the deck. Hinges adjusted perfectly and checked for proper closing swing. Everything works perfectly.
We are so glad you love it already and are happy with the finish product. If you need anything just reach out to any of us, and we will be glad to help. Thank you so much for the opportunity to work for you, and we all wish you the best in your endeavors.