If you are in the market for a new deck, you will have probably many questions. The most common questions are being answered below. If you can’t find yours you can e-mail me at: clemens@finedecks.com and I will answer your question within 24 hours. For general questions you can also go to one of our deck forums if you have question. www.decks.com (click on forums) or www.homeressources.com (click on deck forums)



What is the material for my deck?
ACQ framing lumber is used for your deck. It stands for (Alkaline Copper Quat), a wood preservative that has been replaced in recent years because of safety concerns with CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate).
Framing is always ACQ lumber in the Grade #2. If you do have an all treated deck than your decking / railing will be a Grade #1.

What are the lumber dimensions for framing?
Typical deck: Post: 6x6 / Ledger: 2x8 / Joist: 2x8 12”o.c.
Most decking boards have a maximum span of 16” o.c. With a diagonal layout your joist is 12” o.c.
If you layout is parallel with the house your joist can be set at 16” o.c.
For heavier loads 2x10 is used.
The framing perimeter of your deck is always a double member.
Your contractor will give you a set of plans to verify all the lumber and spacings.

What are the dimensions for decking?
For treated lumber 2x6 is used (Grade #1) ( 1 ½” thick)
For Ipe lumber 1x6 is used ( ¾” thick)
Most composite decking boards are 5/4x6 (1” thick)
www.justwoodworking.com (click on chart, click on lumber dimensions)

How do you secure my decking boards?
For pressure treated decking we use 3” galv. ACQ approved ring shank nails. You can upgrade for a small fee to ACQ approved decking screws
For composite decking we use SS screws or composite screws that have the same color as your decking.
They have two different treads to prevent mushrooms. www.fastenmaster.com
For Ipe decking we use ACQ approved screws or SS screws (predrilled) and covered with an Ipe plug.
For vinyl decking we use SS trim head screws. www.headcote.com

I like the idea of hidden fasteners, do you recommend them?
After installing hundreds of decks with hidden fasteners ( biscuits, clips, rails, claws), we still recommend to secure the decking with screws (one on each side of the boards). It will give you the most holding power. We never had any call backs with these fasteners, it is more of a preference. One exception is the clips from CorrectDeck Signature CX. We love that system, because it is made of poly-propylene.

What is the best composite decking on the market?
That is like asking, what is the best car. Each brand has their own pros and cons. You like the quality of one brand but don’t like the look or vise versus. Your sales person will give you advice and recommendations
based on our experience and track records.

How high is my railing?
For residential application 36” is the minimum. For decks higher that 12’ you might want to raise this
to 42” but is not required.

Do you use flashing and if so what is your choice of material?
All decks that are attached to the house must have flashing and we are no exception.
Since ACQ lumber came on the market, aluminum flashing is not recommended anymore
Because this lumber contains 5 times more copper and these two metals react to each other
And speeds up the breakdown process. The material of choice is either: vinyl, rubber or 3 oz copper

What about the hardware being used for my deck?
All your hardware like nails,teco’s, teco nails, joist hangers, bolts, washers and nuts are ACQ approved.
This means it is triple galvanized with zinc to protect it from this new treated lumber.


Why does my deck turn gray, is it just dirt?
No, the cause is not dirt, the grey is caused by UV rays from the sun and over time they break down the wood causing the grey color we see.

Treated wood has preservatives in it, why do I need to protect it?
The preservatives in treated wood protect against rot and insects, but not against weather. Treated wood needs to be weatherproofed to make it last.

How soon after my new deck is built should I protect it?
UV rays begin working on a deck immediately breaking down the wood fibers. We recommend giving your deck a good quality sealer (treated wood) as soon your deck is build. If you prefer a semi- transparent stain, wait 3 to 6 weeks. During the spring and early summer most treated wood tend to be very green because of the demand, give the wood an extra 2 weeks before applying any sealer or stain.

I like the color of treated wood; can I get a clear sealer?
Yes you can get a clear sealer; unfortunately clear sealers do not have good UV protection qualities built into them. The wood will continue to gray at a slower rate. A better option is to apply a semi-transparent stain which would give you the added UV protection that comes from a tinted sealer. (the darker the tint, the more pigments what in turns gives more protection)

I like composite decking because they are maintenance free, is it?
No, there is no thing like no-maintenance. Low maintenance decking would be a better term.
Because your deck is exposed to the elements, a periodic cleaning is needed to prevent mold, mildew and algae. Pollen, leaves and dirt on your deck are a good food source for bacteria to grow. Depending on the location a good sweep and scrubbing the deck with water and a detergent is in most cases all that is needed.

What about scratches and stain?
This is one of the biggest concerns customers have and for good reasons. You do need to treat your composite decking with care like a hardware floor inside your house. Don’t drag heavy furniture over the deck, use covers under your flower pots, a grease pad under the grill, some common sense and your deck
will look good for many years to come. Procell (vinyl) and CorrectDeck CX safeguard (composite) are two
brands that almost eliminated these problems. www.procell.com / www.correctdeck.com

What about Ipe, is that low maintenance?
Yes, you can let it weather to a silver patina gray. A periodic cleaning is all that is needed.
If you like the furniture look after it received a coat of oil, you will need to re-apply it every 12 to 24 months depending on the location. This is in addition with the regular cleaning schedule.

Do you offer maintenance service?
All decks made by Fine Decks, Inc. can be maintained by us upon request.
We do not offer any maintenance service for decks not made by Fine Decks, Inc.
We can recommend you to local contractors offering maintenance service.


How long does it take to build my deck?
Of course that depends on the size and material being used. For every $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 you
can count on at least one full working day. This is based on a team with 3 crew members.
Your contract will show the starting date and the expected finished date.

Do you space my decking boards?
Yes, a deck has to breathe to prevent it from future problems.
If you have a treated deck there will be no spacing during installation. After a couple months you will have the proper spacing. For Ipe decking your spacing is 1/8” during installation, after a couple months you will have a 3/16” spacing.

What about spacing for my composite decking board?
Each manufacture has their own requirements for spacing in order to have it covered by their warranty.
Some are more than others. Because composite contains plastic what creates a thermal expansion as the temperature rise, your crew leader will discuss with me to determine the proper spacing depending on the temperature during installation.

Do you build if the weather is bad?
A little drizzle there is a good change we are preparing to leave the job. When it rains we go home and come back as soon the weather improves. Wind, frost or snow coverage below 1 foot doesn’t bother us.
Over 100 degrees? Probably heading to the beach (just kidding)

Do you build during the cold winter months?
We are dedicated deck builders and build all year around of course weather permitting.
With all the new materials coming out constantly it is a full time business operation to stay up to date
with the latest technology.

Do you give free estimates?
Yes, including a deck plan at no charge.
Architectural designs, landscape designs and structual engineered plans will come with a charge (if needed)

Do I get a proposal at our first meeting?
No, we will discuss the layout and material choices. With this information we will prepare a package that includes a proposal, a 2d plan and 3d plan at the office. This will be mailed to you within 3 days.

Do I need a permit and if so do you take care of this?
In most cases yes. Fine Decks, Inc. will fill in all the necessary paperwork to pull your permit. This is included in your proposal. We will need your plot plan in order to complete all necessary forms.
You can find this form in your settlement papers.

Do I have to call in for inspections?
No, this is the responsibility of the contractor. Your permit papers will be taped in front of the house visible for the inspectors from the road. Do not remove these papers till after the final inspections are done.
All paperwork will be covered by a large zip lock bag to protect it from the weather.

I have a Home Association; do they need to know I’m building a deck?
Yes, please contact your HOA and tell them what your plans are and fill in the necessary forms.
Your 2d deck plan is in most cases accepted together with a material list that is used for your deck.
To get your approval from the HOA is the responsibility of the home owner.

What are my responsibilities when your crew is building my deck?
Make sure the hose bib is on for water supply (concrete). Make sure the electric outlet outside is hot.
Make sure there is enough space for the crew to park (our crews do have a large trailer)

I have questions while they are building my deck?
On starting date you will receive the cellular phone number from our crew leader and from me. This way
we can answer your questions directly. Of course you can E-mail me and I will respond within 24 hours.
You can also reach me till 8.00 p.m at the office on business days (410 286 9092).

Is Fine Decks, Inc. licensed, bonded and insured?
Yes, we will supply this information to you upon request.
If you would like to check if we are in good standing please visit: www.dllr.state.md.us License # 71878

Can you give me at least 3 references?
Upon request, we will give you at least 3 references from clients that had a deck build by Fine Decks, Inc.
They will be within 10 miles of your home address and if needed we can make arrangements for a visit.
Over the years we have literally hundreds of references but in most cases 3 are sufficient.
If you are a happy customer (or not) please fill in our survey. (click on: rate us)

Are you on the job?
In most cases yes but not full time. I do visit the job site daily and I’m up to date with the whole building process on a daily basis. In the busy months I will also physically help my crews to stay on schedule.

If I sign your proposal is this a legal contract?
Yes, and is used in most cases for smaller decks like town homes or small projects.
For large decks we included a detailed contract stating all the details. If you would like to have a detailed contract no matter the size of the project we can provide that including a form stating the specifications.

When do I send a payment?
Payments are broken down in four sections.
Your first payment is considered a down payment and is due on the day the contract is signed.
The second payment is due on starting date (a material delivery has to be made before this date)
The third payment is due after framing and decking is completed. The fourth payment is considered to be a final payment after completion and approval of the homeowner.
(These are guidelines and used in most cases unless written otherwise in contract)

What kind of payment do you accept?
We accept: cash – check – credit card (Visa / MasterCard) money order or certified checks

Do you give me a warranty and what is covered?
With more than 120 years of combined experience under our belt we don’t practice on your deck.
Yes, we feel very comfortable to give you a warranty and are guaranteed for 60 month covering all labor done under the contract. All Material is guaranteed as specified by manufacturer. Most composites do carry at least a 10 year warranty or more.

Copyright 2010 Fine Decks, Inc.