Last week I showed off a new deck which I recently built near Asheville, but there's one aspect which deserves its own post: the "see through" deck railing made from livestock fence panels.
The problem with building new porch and deck railings is that Asheville's building code restricts openings in the railing to a 4-inch maximum for safety reasons. Traditional pickets get in the way of the view when they're spaced so close together.
Some people use glass railings, but they can be expensive and hard to keep clean. You can also choose steel cable railings, but they can be expensive, too, and in this case they were a little too modern for this rustic home.
Fortunately, we found a solution that fits the bill: livestock panels.
I got the wire panels at Tractor Supply, where they said that livestock fence panels are very popular for deck railings. There are several kinds, made with different-sized openings between the wire, in order to keep in different kinds of animals. "Goat Panels" have the right-size openings to meet building code standards.
The materials for this railing cost about the same as a traditional railing, but the installation was much faster than it would have been if I were installing pickets.
Zooming in closer, you can see how it was all put together. The posts have holes drilled into them to accept the wire ends of the panels. The tops and bottoms of the panels are held in place by wooden batten strips.
Once it's all screwed together, it's very firm and sturdy. You can sit in the deck chairs and look right down into the yard, which is really nice for keeping an eye on kids or pets.
The panels wrap around the corner and follow the railing down the stairs.
As you can see, they're totally unobtrusive.
We don't just do deck railing installation... we also repair railings, porches, decks and stairs in the Asheville area. If your deck or porch needs a little TLC, give us a call. We'll be glad to help!
I just finished building a new deck near Asheville, and it looks great!
Let's back up and take a look at the "before." This home was originally built without a deck, and just a simple flight of steps going up to the back door.
My first job was to dig a row of holes below the frost line, down to undisturbed earth. I filled each hole with 8 inches of concrete, which will serve as the foundation. The metal rebar coming out of the pad will connect it to a concrete pier.
Now I've poured the piers, attached them to posts, and connected them all with horizontal band boards. This is the part that nobody notices when you're finished... but it's also the most important stage to get right. If the posts and piers were just a half-inch out of alignment, there could be big consequences later.
Another important stage was hanging the floor joists. In fact, I was so busy getting it right that I didn't even take pictures. It was a big job, and I am grateful to Glenn Keeney for joining me on this part of the job. Thanks, Glenn!
After the floor joists comes the glory work: laying the floor boards. This is when it really starts to look like a deck.
I'm glossing over a lot of work here! I had to insert the deck boards below the siding and install vinyl "Z" flashing to keep water from backing up into the wall. I also had to add stainless steel flashing in the doorway. (Pro tip: never use aluminum flashing on decks. It interacts with the treated wood and corrodes.)
Even without the railings, it already lends itself to relaxation...
...but since it's high off the ground at one end, it really needs a railing for safety.
Here you can see me setting in the top railing. It's important to get this level, then sight down along the railing to make sure it's straight.
The railing is mostly on, and now we need some stairs so we can get up onto the deck.
This required digging another pair of foundation holes, then setting posts and stringers.
With the stairs in and the railing on, it's a beautiful place to relax on a shady afternoon.
The "before, during and after" photos show that the deck really improves the appearance of the home. It looks more proportionate somehow.
If you need a new deck for your Asheville home, please give us a call and we'll be glad to help you. We also repair railings and stairs, as well as installing gates and trellises.
It looks deceptively simple, but it took a bit of extra effort to make it look original to the home. Let's do another slide show to see how it all came together.
If you need a little extra built-in storage and you live in the Asheville area, give us a call. We'll be glad to help you design the right piece for your space, whether it's a window seat, a reading nook, or something from your imagination.
As many of you know, I got my start as a furniture maker, so this project was very rewarding: a set of custom built-in "mudroom" cubbies for an Asheville family.
Let's start with a simple before-and-after:
It really makes the room, doesn't it? It's also making my clients' lives easier.
My clients have five children, and trying to get everyone out the door on school mornings was becoming a challenge. The foyer wasn't helping; it was just collecting piles of shoes and backpacks.
We started with this inspiration photo from Simply Organized:
The photo is really nice, but we immediately knew that there would be a few modifications. For one thing, my clients' foyer isn't large enough to accommodate a deep bench, so we made the lower shelf shallower. We also took the cubbies all the way up to the ceiling and modified their proportions to fit the room.
Obviously this made the unit pretty tall, but the upper shelves are for storing out-of-season items that aren't currently in use.
The double row of hooks is perfect for a family of seven. It allows the smaller kids to hang up their coats while leaving room above for grown-ups and teenagers who can reach the higher hooks.
Want to see how it came together? Click through this slideshow: