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Western Elements

Decks & Patio Covers

Currently, the market is hot and people are doing less traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The residential home improvements are on high demand. One of which is outdoor living space. Here in Colorado, we have lots of sunshine and wonderful weather throughout the year. Why not use this outdoor space? Decks and Patios allow for a cleaner and low maintenance area to enjoy the outside Colorado air for ourselves, families, and guest entertainment.


Western Elements builds decks, porches, patio roof covers, enclosures, and pergolas. What is it that you desire for your outdoor living space?


What we can do for you:

  • Remove and dispose existing structure(s)
  • Extend or build a new deck or porch
  • Install railings, stairs, ramps
  • Add a roof cover or pergola

PLANNING

  1. Timeframe: Most good contractors/builders currently are scheduled out a couple months. Even so, materials are on backorder or have long turnaround times which would even out with the builder’s installation schedule. Everyone wants it yesterday but unfortunately, give yourself a realistic timeframe for your project to be scheduled in and time for the materials to come in.
  2. Budget: This will of course determine the limits of the project. For the El Paso, Pueblo, and Fremont counties, an average basic square, no stair, near ground level, attached to house, 2021 new composite deck build with metal railings can minimally start at $48-58/sqft and go up from there. This doesn’t include permit, building approvals, demolition and disposal of existing structures. The costs can vary due to the number of deck shape, posts, deck height, decking type, railings length, railings type, length and width of stairs, and any additional items.
  3. Maintenance: The majority of Colorado’s Pikes Peak region homeowners are choosing composite decking over wood decking. Wood decking requires the wood to be sealed with stain or paint and then its additional reapplication on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. Regarding railings, homeowners are choosing metal rails for its low maintenance and longevity. Who wants to carefully paint every wood spindle on a yearly or bi-yearly basis? Composite or vinyl rails? Not recommended in El Paso, Pueblo, and Fremont counties. Why? Colorado gets so much extreme weather that composite rails just do not hold up. Tons of sun, which means the composite or vinyl rails get a beating from the sun and heat especially in the summer. They look great at the beginning but do not last as long. So considering maintenance in your budget to figure out what materials or products are right for you.
  4. Size and Location: For deck replacements, does it need to be exact same size, maybe smaller, or perhaps larger? For new decks, what space do you want to utilize and design for your outdoor living space? Noting smaller property lots but not limited to, knowing and understanding where you can build your outdoor living addition is important. To find this out, you need to know what your property’s zone is, and from there, find out your zone’s required setbacks and easements. Sometimes, that larger deck or design might go into the setbacks and will require additional paperwork and approvals from the planning department.
  5. Repair or not to repair: So you have a deck that may be unsafe, soft to walk on, rotting, not to code, even bouncy, ultimately deteriorating. It’s not always in the budget, but this is a necessary repair or replacement. We’ve all seen those news reports of people falling through deteriorating decks. Let’s avoid that event! This will have to be a case by case basis to determine what is best to do. More often than not, the decks usually require replacement or at least removal in its entirety if a replacement is not an option.
  6. Roof Cover or Not? Whether it’s a composite, wood, concrete patio or deck, a roof cover is a great option. A cover offers protection from the weather elements such as rain, hail, and sun not only for you but your deck and patio too! And YES, Colorado is SUNNY! The average number of sunny days in Colorado Springs is 243, Canon City is 255, and Pueblo is 258 a year! It gets toasty on the deck in the sun. A lot of times, unbearably hot! A roof cover or a pergola can provide that relief and still use that invested space. Additionally, a roof cover or pergola can also help shield that sunny side of your house adding shade where it once had none.
  7. Products: There are many products to choose from such as deck framing, decking, railings and pergolas.

PRODUCTS

  1. Deck Framing: Pressure treated or steel framing. If your budget allows it, go steel.
  2. Decking – Wood: Treated decking is the most affordable decking product, however, treated decking tends to curl and splint no matter how well it is maintained. This can occur within the first couple of years after installation. Redwood or Cedar would be the best wood choices. Redwood  tending to be lesser of the two for costs.
  3. Decking – Composite: There are numerous options for composite decking. Not all composite decking are the same. They vary in thickness, profiles, width, composition, coating type and thickness to name a few.
  4. Railings – Wood: Wood railings require the most maintenance.
  5. Railings – Composite / Vinyl: More likely to be damaged by the weather and therefore, usually has a shorter lifespan. They can warp and droop in our Colorado sun exposure. We have experienced that the round spindles can vibrate in the wind and cause whistling and vibration noises. Depends on their locations.
  6. Railings – Metal: Very low maintenance. Less likely to be damaged than wood, composite or vinyl railings. Can have a cocktail top installed as an option.
  7. Pergolas: Wood, same issue, maintenance. Who wants to seal treat each lattice on the top of pergolas routinely? We have an aluminum product which is a great low maintenance option and looks great!

 


BID SELECTION

  1. Is this a new deck build?
  2. Is this a replacement deck?

For both scenarios, ultimately, the budget will be the biggest impact on planning the project. This is a realistic obstacle which most times may lead a homeowner to choose the wrong builder or installer which is the least and most affordable bid. Also, installation time. Can the builder do it now? The other builder is scheduled months out. “I would like it now and this is the most affordable bid. Let’s do it!” Most of the times, this may lead the homeowner to spend more money and time. Why?

 

On many situations, we have experienced firsthand, the lowest bid that a homeowner contracts with will end up calling us months later. They are embarrassed, frustrated, beyond emotionally and financially fed-up. Others are not happy with the installation that they have received and just live with it or try to fix/repair what they originally had paid a “professional with the lowest bid” to do.

 

Ask these questions:

  1. Why is this bid so much lower than the others?
  2. Why can the builder do it right now opposed to the others?
  3. Does the bid include everything that was asked for?
  4. Will the materials and build in the bid last as long as we are thinking it should?
  5. Is the bid so low that the builder will later request more money to continue the project than originally planned?
  6. Will it be built to code and safe for myself, my family and guests?
  7. Does the bid include permit and other approvals if required?
  8. Is the builder currently licensed in the county?
  9. Is the builder requesting you, “the homeowner” to pull the permit? Red flag!


A homeowner has a lot to decide on whether the project is

small or large.

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