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Deck Building and Repair
Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by
Berkeley Parents Network subscribers. Your
own experience may be different. Please always check references first!
Berkeley Parents Network >
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Deck Building and Repair
I am looking for recent recommendations on deck rebuilds. We
have a redwood deck that is in need of a complete rebuild. I
am looking for someone that can help with general design
ideas, is professional, and does a thorough job. I would
also love it if the person had landscaping experience.
Thanks BPN! deckless
I can highly recommend Thomas Wheast for your deck rebuild.
He has undertaken several projects for us, some from the
foundation to the roof. He is friendly, reasonable in his
prices, reliable and is an excellent craftsman. We cannot
speak more highly of him. His number is: 510-891-0365.
You need Ted the Handychick. She's done several of these in
San Francisco and is a dream to work with -- professional,
affordable, and reliable. Call her at 415-713-6974.
Dear Friend- If a high-quality deck restoration done with
the care of an artist at a fair price is what you want, try
Marius at Marius Construction. He is on the web and his
phone number is 510-828-6551. He covers the entire Bay
Area. I actually discovered Marius when he was building a
deck/outdoor living space next door. The work was
amazing...like out of Sunset Magazine. I had dealt with SO
many flakes and cheats over the years I was thrilled to find
a contractor that worked on a strict contract-no overcharges
ever, had a responsible, hard-working quiet crew, and
finished the work on time. He has done many jobs for me and
several neighbors that involved rebuilding decks and fences.
He is specially licensed and trained for just about any
construction, but his woodwork is always 'above the
clouds'..a real vision. suzymc
You need Ted the Handychick. She's done several of these in
San Francisco and is a dream to work with -- professional,
affordable, and reliable. Call her at 415-713-6974.
Try and call Bay Area Pacific Construction at 510 484 5765.
They rebuilt us a lovely redwood deck with a large stairway
going to our backyard, as we had to replace a 20 year old
deck; they rebuilt the frame as most of it was rotten and
added a couple of concrete posts to reinforce it. They are
more than fairly priced, always on time, magnificent
craftsmanship; they definitely take pride in their work. I
highly recommend them! Greg
We recently did a big deck and backyard overhaul. We chose
Matt Horn, who was highly recommended on BPN, and we were
not disappointed. Matt is an arborist and landscape designer
by trade, but his knowledge of deck building was clear from
the beginning. He also has an experienced crew including
carpenters who can provide additional technical know-how,
and he is not afraid to defer to their expertise when
necessary. He is very meticulous and detail oriented. He is
also very knowledgable about all the different options and
how they impact all aspects of the project: structure,
aesthetics, cost, safety, maintenance, and the environment.
He and his crew were always a pleasure to have around. His
customer service was outstanding. He would spend hours going
over details and options with us. As they always do on
projects of this scope, there were issues that arose, but
they were resolved fairly and with a positive outcome. We
are delighted with the deck they built. In the end, to save
money and strengthen family bonds, we chose to complete the
rest of the backyard overhaul ourselves. However, Matt
provided us with tons of invaluable advice (and even some
tools) that made it possible for us to do it successfully.
Matt's phone and email are 658-6088 and
firstname.lastname@example.org Tom N
Cost to add on a Deck
Hi, we live in the Dimond district and have a couple deck
projects we would like to complete. The first would be to
build an upper level balcony deck on top of an existing roof
surface, aout 350 sq feet. The area currently has walkable
roofing with a metal balcony railing. We'd like to make
this into a nice deck with redwood, ipe, or composite
materials. The current estimate we received from a local
design build firm came in at around $25K, and that does not
include permits or design, only construction.
The second project is to add on deck to the lower level,
coming off of our kitchen. It would be about 435 sq feet,
multi-level, with a couple short staircases down to our yard
and we'd like it to feature a nice overhead trellis in one
corner. We would need to remove a window in our kitchen
and add french doors. The estimate for this project came in
So we're looking at spending upwards of $80K to complete
these two projects, according to this firm. When they
initially came to look at the house, they gave us a verbal
ballpark estimate of around $10K for the upper deck and $30K
for the lower. This was about $5K higher than the other
estimates we received from other contractors, but we thought
it would be easier to go with a design build firm so
everything could be handled by one business, and they would
take care of getting all the permits from the city - but now
I'm doubting our decision. Once we actually started working
with them, we received the much higher estimates.
These numbers seem insanely high to me. I'd like to hear
from others who have added decks on to their homes, how much
did you end up spending? If we walk away now, we have
already paid them about $3000 for design work. Since we
paid for them can we now take those designs elsewhere and
see what someone else quotes us? need some concrete advice
We are in the process of our building 300 plus sq foot deck.
We are very happy with the people that are putting it in.
They are called H&H and have given us great recommendation
on the design and construction. Call Muneer at 510-376-3019
or Chris at 415-328-8811. Happy Customer
Those numbers do seem high to me, but I do not have enough
information to really pass judgement on that. The site might
have difficult access, there could be soil issues, etc.
Also, I'm not a contractor - just an architect. As such I
often see construction costs that vary incredibly on the
You are entitled to prints of the design work that was done.
However, the originals belong to the designer. IOW, you
won't get original tracings or computer files, but you
should be able to get their read-only files.
We got estimates for between $8500 and $11,000 for a
medium-sized deck partly depending on the quality of the
wood. We went with the mid-range (paid $9500) and are very
happy. The redwood has some 'high heeled size' knots in it
but who wears high heels out on a deck, anyway, so who
Need Deck and Fence Builder
I need a small fence and deck rebuilt. It isn't a big job,
but I would like a professional who won't charge an arm and
a leg. Any recommendations? anon
Dagoberto Garcia (Dago's Gardening) has done numerous jobs
for us over the past few years. He has replaced fences
(beautiful work) and repaired another one. His rates are
fair. He's honest and great to work with. My husband and I
highly recommend his work. You can contact him for free
estimates at email@example.com or 510 233-1569 or 510
604-7555 (cell) lmac
We had Dan Martinez and crew build our redwood fence and
two-level deck. He was professional, thorough, thoughtful,
and everything was done perfectly! Absolutely no complaints
with his work. Done on time and on budget. After years of
home and garden renovations, he is the only contractor I
will ever use!!! -Jen
I have used Martin Ceja for many jobs around my home (he
came recommended to me from a co-worker as well as another
friend). He does EVERYTHING and is reasonable and very
professional. He has built a fence for me, completely taken
down and insulated a ceiling, built a new foundation,
plastered walls. He can do anything, is quick and pleasant
to work with.
I highly recommend him... Martin Ceja 510 387-9418
Try DecksByTheBay.com, 510-759-8536. Frank does lots of
wooden fences and decks, and doesn't mind if it's small. If
you want a professional job with a quirky sense of humor,
he's the man. . Andus
Hi... I have recommend John Grivas and his crew of Bay Area
Deck & Remodel before, and I will again! They are precise,
honest, friendly and affordable. Great yelp reviews which I
found to be true. (510) 533-6131. I'd hire them again for
another deck project! Sun on my deck
Deck person for mid century house?
We have a mid century modern house with a large, almost
original deck that is an essential part of the house design.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a deck builder or
contractor who can do repairs and some rebuilding? We don't
want to make any changes to the design -- just
repair/replace some support beams, relevel, and replace
rotten wood. Any suggestions? Anon
Lucien Salyk, is a reliable, trustworthy, affordable and
licensed contractor. He has built and renovated decks of all
sizes using a variety of materials. He will not try to sell
you on anything you don't want. He simply listens to what
you need and makes it happen as effeciently and affordably
as possible. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org Molly
I highly recommend Luke Hammack for your job. He's a very
skilled builder who's efficient, creative, and easy to work
with. He rebuilt my mom's entire house last year and did an
excellent job. In addition to being really good at what he
does, he's an all-around nice guy.
Hillside Stairs & Deck
We are looking into replacing the stairs from the street to
our house and rebuilding the deck on our house in the
Berkeley hills. We are seeking a recommendation for someone
who has experience working in the hills on a steep grade.
Hi, I would ask John Grivas and crew. They did our deck and
it was fabulous and from my understanding, that is their
specialty. They are Bay Area Deck and Remodel (510)
533-6131 and good yelp reviews too sara
I can highly recommend Bob Root of California Rebuilders.
He has done several projects for us and recently completed a
major deck project and remodel on a house in Montclair. His
phone number is (510)853-1800. He has a very good eye and is
very willing to work with his clients to achieve their goal.
His email is email@example.com Good luck on your
project! happy client
Small Backyard Deck needs rebuilding
The deck behind my house has lots of rotten wood, and alas,
I believe needs to be rebuilt. Please recommend a reasonably
priced carpenter you have had success with. This is a small
job. Thanks! Albany Mom
I can highly recommend Mark Feinberg (Mobile: 510-282-7472
firstname.lastname@example.org) as a handyman/carpenter. He recently
rebuilt a cupboard for us in our garage. It was a miserable
job. He had to work in a very tight space that required
much measuring and realigning. Mark diligently tackled the
project, giving us a space that we now are very happy with
at a reasonable rate.
His skills include general interior repair (plaster,
drywall, painting and all related carpentry); trim carpentry
(installing decorative moldings, hanging/correcting/trimming
doors and windows, installing baseboards); installing
cabinetry in kitchens and baths (general 'remodeling' so
long as the projects are not too large for him to do alone);
building and repairing stairs and decks; hanging mirrors and
paintings; working with plumbing and electrical fixtures but
only those that are 'in the room' as opposed to installing
new plumbing systems or rewiring inside the walls (both of
which should be done according to code by licensed/insured
Feel free to contact me if you have questions about Mark and
his work. lmack
Hello! John Grivas of Bay Area Deck and Remodel is your
guy. He took his time on our deck project and listened to
what we needed. He is reasonably priced. He can do small
projects. He has great Yelp reviews too! www.badar.org He
was referred to us and we weren't disappointed. (510)
We had very old dry rotted back yard deck, with several
steps replaced as it was getting more unstable and wobbly.
We found JB Construction, License #908631 in BPN by one of
the parent's recommendation, and we are glad we did. They
were friendly, fast and reliable from the time we have
contacted them. Highly recommeded to get your project to be
taken care of. You may contact them directly: Baha(510)
735-4052 or E-mail: email@example.com Cristina
Dave Wingate is the quintessential handyman. My sis-in-law
recommended him, and the results of his work exceeded our
expectations-- not our budget. He has a great eye for the
little things that need work in and around a house. We used
him for a variety of small projects: leaky sink, diverting
water from our shower to prevent a soft/moldy wall, finding
a solution (that still works) for our towel rack that had
fallen out of the wall at least 5 times prior, etc. He's a
good guy, a dad, and so easy to work with. Have I said
enough good things about him? Here is his email address:
Hello, if you haven't already found someone, I highly
recommend Jose Maravilla (510) 381-0399. He's got a great
eye and does great work so I'm sure he'd do a great job for
you too. He's done all my outdoor work from building a deck
and pergola to laying flagstone. He even helped with my
bathroom remodel. He's fabulous and reasonably priced. Best
of luck love my garden
Looking for deck contractor
We are looking to build a small deck off the 2nd story of
our home in El Cerrito. The deck will extend over a patio
so we need a contractor that can deal with that. If you've
worked with a deck contractor in the past year or two that
you would recommend, we would love to hear from you. Would
also be interested in hearing from you if you've had a bad
experience with a deck contractor so we know who to avoid.
I could recommend JB Construction fro my own experience.
They did great job on our deck project. Everything was done
on time and they advised us on the decking materials, and
kept our cost down, well below our estimated budget. E-mail
them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (510) 735-4052 Highly
recommended licensed contractor. Cristina
We worked with Sorin Feraru and his crew for our deck. Among
other things they build a deck for us. We are very happy
with this work experience and highly recommend Sorin. He is
trustworthy, knowledgeable, detail oriented and easy to talk
to. We've found Sorin on Berkeley Parents Network, some
other people were recommending him, and after working with
Sorin we can say that now we know why he has so good
reviews. Sorin is the best contractor you can find. Call
Sorin at 510-228-7366.
I would like to recommend Silvio Dobrovat and his company
HomeTelligent. We reached Silvio via Marius Construction,
which received a very good review on Berkeley Parents
Network. Marius's owner vouched for Silivio's excellence and
he was not mistaken.
We had to rebuild our deck and was initially getting bids
that would use composite material for its low maintenance
aspect. Silivio actually recommended we use wood and pointed
out various cons that composite material would have, and
that low maintenance was not always the case. This was
appreciated since none of the other general contractors
pointed out them to me.
After taking out the old deck, we found issues on the wall
and they had to be addressed. It added to the overall cost
but Silivio was always straight forward about it and there
was no sudden, unknown increase in the cost.
His crew members were very polite and courteous, working
very diligently. They were prompt every day and left without
leaving a mess. My two young sons were very comfortable
around all of them.
I can recommend Silvio and his company wholeheartedly.
Redwood, Trex or Ipe for deck?
Hi: Am replacing a redwood deck with afternoon exposure.
The question is whether to replace with redwood, wood
composite (Trex) or Ipe, which may be too heavy. Like wood
but concerned about the maintenance of redwood.
Trex has some negative press for mold and breaking down
after several years. Would like to hear from those who have
replaced decks with any of these materials, and esp. those
who have used wood-composite, like Trex, and if it is
holding up (or not). If you could do your deck again,
which material would you choose?
I installed a west-facing, afternoon sun-heavy Trex deck 7
years ago. I couldn't be happier and if I had to choose
again would certainly go the same route. There is absolutely
no maintenance involved and that is the best part. There are
also no splinters for small kids to worry about - a major
bonus if you have kids. Color held up nicely, there is no
splitting, breaking, or anything else so far. My
understanding is that this material is supposed to last
about 20 years.
My only regret - I decided to save money and did the fence
from the regular ready-made wood pieces you can buy from
Home Depot. These do require maintenance and every time I
have to do it I look wishfully at the rest of the deck.
Love my Trex deck
Arbor or other shade structure for deck
We have a small house with a good sized back deck (about 20'
x 15'). We'd like to use the deck more, but it's south-east
facing and very hot and sunny much of the year. I love
arbors and so am especially interested in building an arbor
over the deck, maybe w/ some out door cloth/blinds
incorporated to keep the sun exposure under control. I'm
open to other shade structure ideas, as well (shade sails
installed on posts maybe?). The deck itself needs repainting
and might need other repair work. Can anyone recommend a
good person for this job? I hope to find someone who has
ideas for how to make this space more livable and
comfortable for us, and who can also do the design and
construction work required.
Shade seeking mama
Oh! I have the perfect guy for you, also for the request for recommendations for someone to build a fence and
a responsive contractor:
Why? Because Glen designed and built:
* a beautiful entrance to my yard with an arbor over it, and
two internal seats (along with building the fence);
* an arbor over my small deck.
It's in character with the house and is charming. He planted
wisteria and night-blooming jasmine which grow on the fences
we had an arbor built for us two years ago by tim ridolfi. he did a great job. we
were looking for a structure to provide shade also, but we had grape vines and
we wanted the structure to support them so that they would provide the shade
over our existing deck - about a 10'x12' space.
tim worked with us to determine exactly what we wanted and then he let my
husband help (he wanted to) with the work- so it ended up being a fun project
and resulted in precisely what we were looking for.
tim is great/easy guy to work with and we love our arbor!
tim ridolfi 510-295-7510, email@example.com
I'd like to refer you to Deborah's Home Repair.
Deborah is very capable to do all ranges of home repair as
well as help you to create new ideas according to your needs.
I needed some carpentry at my home & was so pleased with her
work, I thought I'd respond to your posting.
Deborah also teaches to homeowners at Building Education
Center in Berkeley, which attests to her competency &
abilities for versatility.
She has a portfolio of previous jobs.
You can call her at 510.520.2007 or e mail her at
Garden Architecture in Berkeley might be a great match for you. They built &
designed my arbors & decks and I love them! They will also completely design
and install your garden and other hardscape if you like. They will listen to all
your concerns (budget & otherwise) and do their best to make all your dreams
come true. (510) 525-9517
Deck builder/contractor needed
We need our deck extended and possibly a small office
built under it. We are interested in using sustainable
materials. Any recommendations? We are in Oakland.
I highly recommend Classic Construction run by Brooks Weitzman. He did some
deck repair work on my house and did a major deck addition for my friend.
Very reliable and responsive.
As far as a local contractor who has a fair amount of experience W/ the
inspectors [assuming that you are getting permits] and does a good job on
small projects - I would recommend Hans Schuchmann of solid state
construction [firstname.lastname@example.org] in berkeley. We are local designers and
have used Hans on a number of small projects [and bigger ones as well] and
have been happy with the quality / cost of the work. Hans is not the
but his prices are fair given the quality. - feel free to email me direct
if you have additional questions
Meera - I just read your ad and if you haven't chosen a contractor yet,
I'd like to
highly recommend Scott Montgomery. He has done several both small and large
for me and all of them have turned out better that I could have hoped for.
know building green is a passion of his. So, if you're still in the
market, I'd give
him a call. His phone number is 925-382-4112 and his e-mail address is
email@example.com. I know you won't be disappointed. Please
feel free to call (925-945-7747) or e-mail me if you want more
I recommend contacting Zander Brennen of Zanderbuilt. They
do wonderful work from additions, remodels, and custom
cabinets, as well as decks. They are very thorough,
detail-oriented, and efficient. Zander's number is
I have worked with Luca Adamache for over six years on a
variety of projects. These have ranged from large house
remodels, additions, and new construction to a major office-
building remodel. In all cases Luca has performed beyond
expectations. He is a very rare contractor, one that is
honest, hard working, and skilled. In all our work he has
been on time, on budget, and reasonable regarding changes
and redesigns. As a person he is a pleasure to work with
and his excellent team has the same characteristics. They
are hardworking, very skilled and always cooperative. I
would give them my highest recommendation in all aspects of
construction and contracting. His phone nr. is 510-427-0585
I want to recommend Chris Kary to you as a carpenter and
general contractor! I have known Chris for a very long
time. My former husband was a general contractor, and I can
tell you that Chris is the real thing: smart, honest, and
very hard working. I also know Vic Bartolotta, a San
Francisco homeowner, who said this of Chris: ''Chris was the
general contractor on our kitchen and laundry room remodel.
He's honest, forthright, plainspoken, and very competent.
Our job required moving our furnace and water heater as well
as extensive electrical work. Chris managed the various
subcontractors adroitly, and our remodel is everything we
wanted. It still looks new, and we receive compliments to
this day. I knew Chris many years before I owned a home or
considered a remodel. We selected him because through years
of personal contact I knew him to be intelligent, competent,
sincere, and very dependable.''
Chris' phone number is (510) 479-6111 and mine is (510)
Peter Sontag is a carpenter who can build a deck for you.
He's methodical with his work, and really easy to get along
with. If you hire him you'll probably make a new friend
along with getting a new deck. His number is 510-760-9720.
Good luck with your project!
Sorin Feraru with his crew build your deck last summer and we couldn't be
happy.He is very considerate, reliable, easy to talk to and has the
Call him at 510 228 7366 and also check his website www.feraru.us.
I would recommend JB Construction.
They are licensed and experienced contractors.
Not a big crew, but fast and efficient.
Owners name is Baha
His e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (510) 735-4052
Small job - deck repair
I just noticed there are some rotting boards in my front
porch and would like to get this done well but as
inexpensively as possible. The deck repair/build
recommendations are from 2008. Any more recent experiences
pro or con? Thanks.
We have had our deck built, as well as our bike shed this
past year by Phil Atkinson. He is perfect for small to
large repairs. While he's over, he'll even help you with
those pesky honey-dos that we have piled up over the
years. I've recommended Phil to lots of friends, who will
happily give you their referral by phone if you ask. If
you want more info from me, feel free to email me:
email@example.com, and I am happy to sing his praises
and tell you what he did for us.
I really can't say enough good stuff about this guy. He
will sit down with you and take the time to help you
figure out what really needs to be done, then he'll get
you the best prices he can find and he is very reasonable.
We never thought we could afford the small deck he built
for us, but he made it happen. He is also a real
craftsman, who takes great pride in his work. He even used
redwood plugs to cover the nails on our deck! He is
creative and will help you maximize your space, and he
will always do what you need him to do, without pushing
you to do more than you need. Here's his info.
email:firstname.lastname@example.org and his cell:(510) 292-
Good luck with your project
I would highly recommend Colin Groth for deck repair. He
tore down our old back porch and built a completely new
one out of both old (reused, recycled) wood and new
redwood decking. He found the best prices around for
materials, showed us all the receipts for his purchases
(so we know he's honest), and made us a VERY reasonable
quote compared to others that my husband had gotten. The
deck was the biggest job he's done for us, but we have
also paid him hourly for painting, drywall and ceiling
repair, some cabinetry work, and installing a fold-
out staircase to access our attic. He's a hard worker and
a super nice guy. He goes above-and-beyond; every time he
does work for us we end up with something nicer than we
even envisioned for less than we expected to pay! Also
(perhaps of interest), he is all into sustainability and
green building philosophies (I think he might be LEED-
certified). His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Contractor to Design Deck/Garden Area for Toddler Play
We have two connected small garden spaces that we would love
to have designed as a toddler play area. This would probably
involve leveling the yard, deck construction and designing
the area to accommodate a sandbox, splash pool, space to run
etc. Any recommendations of contractors who may be able to
do this for us would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
I've had Idan of Bearman and Sons replace my old redwood deck with a new one
and couldn't be happier with the process and the result. Idan was highly
recommended by a friend and turned out to be a wonderful craftsman and a
very pleasant professional to work with. I've hired him for other remodeling
project and am always very happy with the outcome.
Idan's number is 510 830 7927
I hope you enjoy the transformation of your yard,
Try Decade Construction - they recently remodeled our house
in Piedmont, and did an outstanding job. Great guys, and a pleasure to work
Call Robert at 925-938-2410
We had fairly extensive work done in our backyard to put in
a deck, stone patio, and toddler play area in our
backyard. We actually did two jobs (one on the upper level
of our yard and the second to turn our slope into a
terraced area, including a large flat space for a play
structure. The first project we did with Lazar Landscape,
who you have probably heard of. They are quite expensive,
but no question amazing at what they do. They require you
to first meet with an architect and draw out your project.
This costs a bit more than just moving forward with the
contractor, but it pays off in the end. The 2nd project we
did with Daniel Rivera. Daniel worked for Lazar when we
did our first project but went out on his own along with
one of the fantastic architects from Lazar. They charge
20% less than Lazar and do the same amazing high quality
work. We were equally happy with both projects.
Lazar can be reached at 510-444-5195
Daniel Rivera is at 925-691-1024
Best of luck to you
Contractor for decks, concrete stairs, retaining wall
Our house is on a steep slope and we need a low retaining
wall (either wood or concrete) built along the front
slope, and concrete stairs and railing added along the
side of our driveway. Also need to childproof our decks by
adding tension-wire style railings. Can anyone recommend a
good contractor that does quality work for fair &
reasonable prices? Nothing extravagant or fancy. Our house
is small, so we don't want to spend a disproportionate
amount of money improving the outside of the house, but we
need to build these things to make our house more safe &
accessible. Need someone who is reliable and returns phone
calls and keeps appointments. Someone who has good design
aesthetics would be nice too.
for handyman/building projects, we've had great results with
perez construction. excellent quality work, reasonable
rates, nice guy, a pleasure to work with. they can handle
anything from small projects to entire remodels. try will
We highly recommend Licensed contractor Jeff Jensen
with Jensen Construction and Painting
www.jensenremodeling.com he is highly experience and is
really competitive with the pricing, his number is
(510) 453-9369 Give him a call you be glad you did.
I highly recommend Scott Montgomery. His phone number is 925-382-4112
and his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. He built a
beautiful deck for me and I know built a retaining wall for a friend of mine. Not
sure about the concrete steps, but if it is beyond his capabilities (which I doubt)
he will be honest and tell you. I trust him completely - have never worked with
a contractor (and I have worked with many) who I felt had as much talent and
integrity as Scott. I know you won't be disappointed. Also, he has done a lot of
work for other BPN members. If you'd like more info about Scott, please feel
free to e-mail me or give me a call at 925-945-7747...Dee Coil
I have recommended Greg Watson in El Sobrante to a few of the BPN people, and
they really like him. I think he's the best contractor I've ever worked with, and
I've been remodeling homes for years. Greg has done extensive work for us.
His number is 510-223-1541 (office) and 510-453-5638 (cell). I hope he isn't
too busy to do the job for you. If he is, I say ''get on his list!'' It would be
the wait if he's too busy to do it right away.
Deck builder wanted
We're looking to have our old, poorly made deck replaced with a
new, well made deck twice the size. Any recommendations?
Try Greg Watson Construction 510-223-1541 office; 510-453-5638 cell.
I have used him several times, and he built a fabulous deck for some friends of mine
Richmond Annex. What I like about him is that he likes to get in and get the
job done; no running several jobs at once, leaving you wondering when the heck he'll
be done or when he's coming back. Great guy! And he's licensed and insured, which is
important to me.
I highly recommend Spencer Wolfe of Wolfe Landscape Construction.
He does the best quality work of any small business landscape
contractor I know (I'm a landscape architect and have worked with
many contractors). He is meticulous and will never try to ''hide''
things or skip procedures thinking that you won't notice until
later down the road. He has a small crew who are all fully
insured (higher than the required minimum, so better protection
for you) and bonded, and they are well-mannered (no swearing or
tossing garbage around, no blaring boom-boxes) and super clean,
always cleaning up at the end of each day. Definitely contact him
My husband and I hired Idan Bearman of Bearman And Sons to rebuild our deck after
we saw his work on our friend's deck.
We had a very old redwood deck that had to be completely torn down and rebuilt. Idan
did a great job, with in the budget, and in less time than estimated. He was very
and paid great attention to the fine details which pleased my old school dad so much
he had nothing to complain about! (trust me, it's a first).
Idan's phone number is (510) 830 7927.
I can highly recommend our contractor, Andy Frasheski. He is
licensed, bonded and insured. He has done a number of projects
for us, including building a deck, he has build more decks
within our neighborhood as well. He also has remodel our
kitchen and done a major renovation of two bathrooms. He is
very creative, and has great ideas for problem solving. He
approaches each project as if he is doing for his own house. I
cannot recommend him highly enough.
Please contact him directly (510) 644-3711 or
The Dan Lynch Co. replaced our small poorly designed deck with a
small deck that was carefully constructed for stability and
drainage. They are great to work with and follow green building
practices. I highly recommend them. Phone number is 524-4044,
I have an 17'x25'aging deck (over a carport) that I would like to
either repair or turn into a Japanese styled, gravel garden. If
you have done something similar or have someone who knows their
stuff , trustworthy and reasonably priced you can recommend,
would love to hear from you.
I'm a member of BPN and I have a terrific recommendation for
you. Our go-to guy is Phil Atkinson.
He built our bike shed, that had a tricky layout and made it
look like a beautiful mini-barn, with a roof and mini-gutter that
will last longer than our own house.
We have a small backyard with numerous trees and a hot tub,
creating a difficult space to create a private space that didn't
feel claustrophobic. When we moved in, there were 3 fences that
allowed that privacy, but they were not well built and they were
an eyesore. He rebuilt them. He replaced only what needed
replacing. And he eradicated the bamboo in the corner of our yard
(courtesy of our neighbors) once and for all and built a beautiful
fence in that very spot, allowing for a bit more space and lots
But that's really only the small stuff.
Remember the small weird space? He design and built our redwood
deck. He designed a beautiful deck, creating special pieces
designed to dazzle folks (including making redwood plugs to cover
the nails in the deck). He made holes and creative adaptations for
our trees. And to top it off, the man built us a small arbor to
allow us to grow some vines for a bit of privacy.He is an
amazingly talented man. He is very reasonable. He will work with
you if you have any budget concerns (he gave us so many choice
estimates for materials).
I can't recommend him highly enough. Phil's phone number is 510-
Please feel free to email me with any questions!
I am updating my original recommendation- and phone number- for
David Honey (510-355-4795). I want to make sure you can find him.
David built a large, complex deck for us two years ago. We
recently sold our house, and everyone who went through the house
said how much they loved the deck. David is now completing a deck
for a friend who agrees that David is a skilled craftsman.
David is meticulous (measures 5 times, cuts once), opinionated
(sometimes grumbly), and experienced. When we got our bids, his
price was average. His attention to detail amazing. You won't be
disappointed with his work. Kim
Contractor needed to install Ipe deck
We are thinking of putting in a small deck, and so far think we would like to
wood. Has anyone had a deck built with this type of wood that came out great.
looking for a contractor with a high level of attention to detail. Thanks!
you cannot be wrong with Constantin. He is a very good carpenter
with a very good eye for detail. all he needs is that you know
what you want. Contact him at 510.305.5680 or email@example.com. I
am very happy with the work that he did for me. He is a licensed
We used Rolander Construction to do our hardwood deck, which
was just completed last month. It turned out beautifully and we
had them install the boards from underneath so no nails or
screws show from the top side. They also did a great job on
installing a cable railing and LED lighting underneath the hand
rail. Their employee Jason is very experienced with decks and
is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. It was truly a
pleasure having him work at our house and their bid was very
fair, and they were reliable and prompt. Feel free to email me
if you want more info at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can
reach Rolander Construction at 510-339-3655 and their website
is at http://www.rolanderconstruction.com/
Sometimes you look around for a contractor that pays attention to
details and you cannot find him. Other times you just pick a
contractor hoping that he is going to do a good job without any
trouble on the way. That's what happened to me. I had to build
among other things one deck that had to go around some trees that
I have around the house and he did a very good job. Constantin is
a licensed general contractor and you can contact him at
email@example.com or at 510-305-5680.
If you need a contractor who is head and shoulders above the others and detailed
oriented, you should call Sorin Feraru.His phone number is 510 228 7366 and
website www.feraru.us.He has build a deck for us, and we could not be more than
happy with everything.Sorin will help you decide what kind of wood to use and will
give you great ideas during the project.We were very impressed with his meticulous
attention to details.Sorin and his crew were also careful with our home.I think the
most important thing there is about Sorin is that he is fare (he did not tried to rob
us), always there when you need him, and basically a miracle maker.We will never
hire anyone else again but Sorin Feraru and his crew.
We started thinking Ipe but ended up using Garappa, which is also
a tropical hardwood with similar qualities (not as high fire
retardancy, etc. as Ipe but close) and much cheaper, plus
P.A.L.S. in West Oakland has a lot of it and it is all FSC-certified.
For making the deck I can't recommend Karl Matthies
(510-259-8499) higher -- very thoughtful, with great attention to
detail. He has done other projects (bathrooms, a backyard shed)
for us as well as for friends.
Deck and landscape contractor
We live in Orinda in a wooded, sloped site and are trying to
capture additional useable outdoor space. We are working on
plans for a backyard project to install a hot tub, extend the
existing deck to partially surround the hot tub, stairs,
planters/retaining wall, replacing pavers and a play area. This project may be split
into two phases depending on
contractors and cost, although ideally completed all at once
We would appreciate any referrals/recommendations.
Hi, I would like to recommend Jose 510-381-0399. He did my
whole backyard remodel [decking, pergola, stone, water
feature]. He was a real pleasure to work with and I felt his
prices were reasonable. He went above and beyond to make sure I
was happy. He's reliable, experienced and had some great ideas
on how to make my layout the most efficient. I'm sure you won't
be disappointed =)
I have worked with Matt Horn for over a decade on projects
ranging from major landscaping, construction of a perimeter
fence, extensive tree sculpting, lawn replacement and irrigation
systems. Our property in Alameda is the size of a football
and Matt has transformed it from a mess to a showcase. He
installed a marvelous brick patio and completely reconstructed
the largest dock on the Alameda lagoon using
sustainably-harvested Brazilian epee lumber. It is so well
constructed that I'm sure it will last longer than I will. I
would be pleased to let serious clients visit our property. The
phone number for Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree Care is 510 658
6088. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
We love Carl Kudernac at Bushveld Construction. He has built
three decks for us, built trellises and installed a hot tub --
all beautifully done. We have only used him as a carpenter (his
favorite work), but he has done beautiful hardscape work for
friends. Carl is meticulous, very responsive (always calls
immediately) and a fine craftsman. He also is the only
contractor I know who worries more about my money than I do.
(During the projects, he was always thinking about how to
economize and kept calling with ideas on how to shave dollars
the budget here or there.) He also followed up with a supplier
when (several years later) it turned out some of the materials
had gotten from them were defective, and got them to replace the
defective material for free -- even though there was nothing in
it for him. He can be reached at (925) 210-1953.
I can recommend Michael Lizotte of Lizotte Construction. I
worked with Mike at a local high-end residential construction
firm. He worked as a forman and has 30+ years experience. You
could certainly call him a master carpenter. I believe that
you would be very happy with his work. I am recommending him
as a friend and as someone who worked with him on multiple
successfull projects. His number is (510)967-1032
I used Lara from Bountiful Botanicals for my deck and I loved
experience! You can reach Lara at 415-290-6609 or
Feel free to email me any questions as well. I'm happy to help
where I can.
I HIGHLY recommend Josh Kemp phone 717-4271 or
email@example.com. He did our front yard, fence, and back
deck and stone patio. He is an excellent carpenter, landscaper,
hardscaper - he does it all! Very professional, reliable, and
reasonably priced. He is also very creative with a lot of good
ideas. Let me know if you have any more questions or want to see
the work he did at our house!
My husband and I highly recommend Josh and Ian Kemp of
Headwaters Hardscape (510) 717-4274. They installed a deck
with amazing built-in benches and flagstone pathways. We could
not be happier with the result and they were a true pleasure to
work with- very fair on pricing, very timely, honest and
extremely personable. Please feel free to email me with
I can highly recommend the Bluhon Planning Group (contact Peter
Bluhon, 510- 841-3255 or firstname.lastname@example.org). We hired Peter to
implement a design plan for our front yard. He did an amazing
job! He was able to evaluate the plans with a critical eye,
suggesting changes to create a more functional and beautiful
space. He approached each decision with great thought, care and
precision. Peter has a great vision for overall site planning,
materials and plants. He also took into account the budget we
were working with. Our project included hardscape (stone steps
and walkway, cement driveway, stucco), planting and irrigation.
His group of workers were highly skilled and hardworking. We
will be using Peter's full range of talents, design and build,
to landscape our backyard. Peter is a perfectionist, which
shows in his work. It was a pleasure to work with Peter and his
group. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions.
Headwaters Hardscape (in Richmond, 510-717-4274) is owned and
operated by Josh and Ian Kemp, brothers and East Bay natives. We
did a project with them at our downtown Berkeley home in Spring
2008--we can't imagine a better contracting experience, nor a
better outcome. Josh and Ian combine outstanding design sense,
knowledge of plants and materials, and draft and construction
skill, with remarkable timeliness, attention to detail,
congeniality, collaboration, and joie de vivre.
Our job involved taking a 500 sq foot background--barren and
dusty-- and completely developing it with a combination of
redwood decking, exquisite stone patio and walks, plants, and
other features including a beautiful fountain and lighting. We
had no definite plan for any of it, just some ideas and general
sense of how we would use it. No problem--Josh worked with us to
develop a beautiful design with great features, workplan and
estimate, and as the work got underway and evolved (including
finding cool weird Indonesian wood screens and posts and asking
him to incorporate), Josh adapted the design and plan. We of
course paid for the modifications, but he calculated these with
flexibility and alternatives, exact costs, and with our complete
understanding and agreement.
I could go on and on, but suffice to say that from end to end
(about 8 weeks worth of work, and with no unreasonable delays)
Josh and Ian were a joy to work with. We've all heard about or
had awful experiences with contractors--Headwaters gave us the
exact opposite experience. Not only did the work exceed
expectations, but Josh and Ian are remarkable people in their
right and worth getting to know.
We highly and unequivocally recommend Headwaters Hardscape.
I was recently faced with the construction of a deck. I had a
people take a
look, and I wasn't happy with any of the choices. I called Sorin
because he had
build a deck for a friend of mine, and he came and re-designed
deck build by
the previous owner. He and his crew were nice and professional.
was done in
a timely fashion, and he was able to put a finish on the deck as
existing stairway. His crew did a variety of work, and were able
damage, take care of electrical work, and put in new doors that
the house to
the deck. I highly recommend him, he can be reached at
Someone to build a deck - maybe Ipe?
We have plans for a deck but no one to build it. Can anyone
recommend someone to do the actual construction? We are thinking
about Ipe or trek type for the flooring. I know that Ipe is hard
to work with, requiring predrilling and I am not sure about any
long term issues with the trek like flooring. so comments on
this would be welcome as well.
Andy Frasheski,did the most fabulous job on our
complete house remodel, including a beautiful deck, two
bathrooms and the kitchen plus removing a wall-everything. He
is very creative at problem solving. He is very attentive to
detail and easy to work with. He also does many small jobs like
replacing a simple dry rot panel in the siding. I highly
recommend him; he has very good references. You can call him at
510-644-3711 or cell 510-318-2258
I HIGHLY recommend, Jose Maravilla 510-381-0399 (Maravilla
Landscaping. He is great, reliable and cost efficient. I had
him come in and install drip irrigation for my yard and fell in
love with his style of work I had him build me a deck and I
will say he gave me exactly what I wanted! He was a pleasure
to work with and really made me feel like he was listening to
my ideas [as far fetched as some of them may have been].
Good inexpensive deck builder
Can anyone recommend a good contractor to build a deck and fence? We live in El
Cerrito and are not, alas, looking for an artisan to compliment design as much as a
good, childproof and not expensive outcome. Please email me directly if you know any
honest builders, also we would like to do it ''Green'' if possible.
Have used Peter Gill many times to install windows, wiring,
plumbing, sheetrock, and, best of all, finish carpentry. Peter
works full time repairing houses in the Berkeley area, for an
insurance company, so he knows how to deal with older houses
the right way. He is available for small jobs on Saturday and
Sunday. We have found him to be careful, methodical, reliable,
and good company. email@example.com or phone 510-773-3940.
We recently had an old rotting deck completely replaced by a
fantastic contractor we found through recommendations in the
Berkeley Parents Network archives: Carl Kudrnac of Bushveld
Construction in Walnut Creek; phone # is 925-465-4398. Carl does
both small and large jobs in the greater East Bay, from deck
repairs to major contracting projects. We found him to be
extremely conscientious, honest, knowledgeable, and skilled. His
price was quite reasonable and he even replaced and rerouted some
broken drainage pipes he found under the old deck at no extra
charge. We highly recommend Carl for his high quality work at a
Maria and Paul
Tony and his small crew do a great job with decks, stairs and the
like. They just did a bunch of work for us and are very
versatile, good with the details. He's at 510.444.0303
Need deck repair/paint
Looking for a reliable deck repair/painter person. Fixing railings, replacing wood,
repaint that sort of thing???
Try Yvonne Kettels of She Custom Building - 510-520-0295. She does great work, is
skilled, experienced, responsible. Has done lots f work for me (fence, deck, shelves,
window seat, painting), friends and families at our school.
I'd like to recommend Atlas Power Washing for any type of deck
repair- I got them via a BPN referral as well. On short notice,
we had them stain our upper & lower deck, replace some rotten
boards and also, extended our deck when we took out the hot
tub. They did a fabulous job and I couldn't be more pleased.
They are based in Santa Rosa but didn't have a problem coming to
Concord where I live. The owner's name is Steve Conroy and he
can be reached at his cell# 707-494-4468. He's a pleasure to do
business with & will use them again in the future. Cheers,
Francisco Ramos is an excellent carpenter who has provided my
aunt and me household construction services over several
years. In my auntms house, he carried out substantial
projects, including sheetrock and tiling for a major bathroom
remodel, brick paving, minor plumbing and carpentry such as
installation of doors. He can do stucco and concrete-form
work, and install siding. He has worked for a large home-
construction firm as a finish carpenter. He has built and
repaired fences for me, and has been very easy to work with,
for example, in following my request that he reuse sound
building materials when possible, something I found other
carpenters have been reluctant to do. His work is very
attractive and his rates are quite reasonable. Over the years
he has worked for my aunt and me, he has been prompt,
responsible, and very trustworthy. I highly recommend him.
Please call him at (408) 564-7921 (home) or (510) 304-7659
(cell). Please email or call me if you want
I don't know of anyone to recommend, but I would like to
recommend against using Steve of Atlas Power Washing. We hired
him to repair and paint our deck in early October. By mid-
December his team had worked less than two days and with
nothing to show. By mid-December it was too cool and too wet
to continue the job. Steve was very unreliable and his team
was not careful. On more than five occasions he set a date for work and did not show
up. His team broke a jar of nails on our
patio and did not pick it up and they used our fountain to soak
their paint rollers.
hello! i am helping my parents rebuild their current rotting redwood deck. i am
leaning towards trex this time around due to its maintenance advantages but i fear
aesthetic disadvantages. i would like to invite your input on composite decking as
as possibly take a peek at your composite deck- it would help my final decisions on
color, etc. Judy
We built a deck using Millenium Decking ... it's great! After
3 years, it's held up very well: despite spending every day in
sunlight, it looks fine.
Quite easy to install, made completely from recycled materials,
and zero maintenance.
At the time, Ashby Lumber carried this decking, and we chose it
in preference to Trex. I don't know if they still stock this brand.
see their website at http://www.millenniumdecking.com
North Oakland sun deck
Josh Tomlinson of Dialogue Design-Build just completed a gorgeous
deck for me. I heard of him through the Berkeley Parents Network,
called all 5 of his references (all of whom had nothing but
glowing things to say), and contracted him to construct a
backyard deck. I highly recommend his services. A true craftsman,
he is professional, very knowledgeable, with great attention to
detail, incredibly reliable, very easy to communicate with, and a
pleasure to have around.
Happy New Owner of a Brazilian Ipe Deck!
Do you love your deck?
Have you had a deck built and LOVE it? We are looking for some deck
get estimates from & are having a hard time. Can you recommend yours?
David Honey (510-355-4795) built our deck last Fall. We LOVE it!
He built it in a challenging space (over existing multiple levels
and fitting into existing brick stairs, etc). He is meticulous
(it took a few weeks longer than expected), he works alone when
he can (''I don't want to hover over anyone to have them get it
right''), and he is opinionated (he built our deck with Trex and
grumbled the whole time: ''This isn't anything like wood- it's
plastic!''). Our friend saw our deck and didn't even bother to
interview other people. Their (Trex) deck looks great too.
We found him through BPN (a builder listed here passed our job on
to David). His price was average. His attention to detail
amazing. You won't be disappointed.
Susan Miller is a terrific landscape architect for Lazar
Landscape in Oakland(510-444-5195). Their company does very nice
work and they are contractors. Their expertise includes
Susan is very nice, professional and easy to work with-and she
has 20 years of design/build experience. Give her a call !
Need a reliable, reasonable and responsible deck builder
We need a reliable, reasonable and responsible builder for a
DECK. We are near Lake Merritt. Any suggestions?
sophie and virginia
I'd like to recommend Thomas Banks of Bankstown Builders for
decks, building and remodeling. He has built a studio in my
yard and I saw a fence he made for a friend. What I like best
about him is that he won't finish until you are satisfied, but
won't put the cost on you. His number is 510 978 5679.
Great deck builders are HDR remodeling located on Sacramento
Street in Berkeley. They do great decks at reasonable prices.
While you may be able to get a less expensive deck from a
handyman, they have a lot of experience with decks, they stick
to the budget or projected cost estimate and have the necessary
support to deal with design or permits if necessary.
You might try Yvonne Kettels of She Custom Building & Renovation - 520-0295.
very skilled, experienced, responsible and reliable. Also nice to work with.
done lots of work for us and for friends & families at our school Everyone
Someone to rebuild cantilevered decks
We are looking for an experienced, licensed contractor to
repair/rebuild the cantilevered decks and bridge driveway on
our Montclair home.
We are eager to receive more
recent recommendations as well as any warnings about recent
problems with contractors. Thank you for your time.
I'd like to recommend a licensed contractor for deck work. We
had Josh Tomlinson (510) 325-1917 build us a new deck in
January, and he did a great job. His estimate was lower than our
others and his work was really skillful. His approach to
buidling is mindful and he's very good at communicating,
especially when there are new developments or changes in the
plan. He also stayed more or less on schedule.
I would like to give my strong, positive, recommendation for
Charles Seames of Sequoia Pacific Construction. Mr. Seames built
a deck for us with which we are very pleased. It came out
beautifully, and during the course of the construction he
offered a number of additional ideas that we accepted and were
later glad we did. The price for the labor was extremely
I think that the following areas deserve particular mention.
- The deck was made of ipe, which is a very dense
Brazilian hardwood that is heavy and very hard on tools. It
requires special techniques and considerable extra work.
- At our request, we were allowed to pay for the material
using our own credit card. This is unusual but of importance to
us because of frequent flyer miles we accumulate.
- Mr. Seames always returned calls promptly, kept us
informed of the status of the job and of materials, and met
every schedule he set. With other contractors on other projects,
communication has sometimes been a problem.
- We went in with the idea of ìwe want a nice deck,î
without knowing what we really wanted. Charles essentially
designed and built the deck, presenting ideas to us for our
consideration. He showed excellent judgment in consulting us
about changes or design features. This has not always been our
experience with other contractors.
- We thought that the price was extremely reasonable and
we did have a considerable amount of competitive bidding to
compare contractors. We could have gotten a cheaper deck, but,
as the expression goes, ìcheaper and worth it.î In my opinion,
we got the best value from Mr. Seames and Sequoia Construction.
We are extremely pleased with the deck and the contracting
Please feel free to contact me if you would like me to email
digital photos but, in my opinion, they wouldnít do the deck
Charles can be reached at 415-378-8031 or by email at
Ron Masters built 2 beautiful decks for us a few months ago and
the workmanship is outstanding. He used Brazilian ipe wood and
custom designed a curved railing that no one else anywhere is
doing. We have a great view and he suggested a stainless steel
cabling system to preserve our view. Initially we were
hesitant, but after living with it for a few months, we really
Ron also removed a large window and installed 12ft wide sliding
glass doors that really frame the upper deck beautifully. He
was able to remove the window and replace it with the door all
in one day which was a godsend since we have 2 children. Ron
and his helper Dan are very easy to work with, friendly and
just good people. Ron was also able to start working within
2 months of contacting him and the timing worked out perfectly
for us. Ron's direct contact info is mastersr6[at]yahoo.com or 415-377-
I just wanted to post the strongest recommendation for my
deckbuilder, Will Roberts. Two other contractors balked at the
hilly site but Will quite literally just dug right in. His work
is the highest quality. He works predominantly with brazilian
ipe, a gorgeous, sustainably harvested hardwood that will
likely outlast the plastic composite stuff that everyone else
seems to be pushing these days. He also uses an undermount
fastening system so there's not a screw in sight. Apart from
the quality of his work, he also shows up on time and is
extremely reasonable. This guy should be booked solid for six
months but was actually able to start work only two weeks after
giving me a quote. His website has all the info you need and
plenty of pictures of his work. Check out www.handmadedecks.com
for more info. If you're reading this Will, thanks for the
great work! We've been enjoying dinners on the deck every
chance we get and the really good weather should be just around
Hi - I've searched the archives for recent deck builders but see
little. Any recommendations? Thanks!
Deck in Serious Need of Replacement
We just had a deck and a gate built by a Berkeley-based landscape
woodworker, named William Roberts. He did such a great job that we
wanted to post an updated recommendation. (We originally found him in
an old listing on BPN under "Bill Roberts.") His number is 841-8830
and his website is handmadedecks.com. He was extremely responsive to
our needs and desires, gave us excellent suggestions, and built the
deck in epe (a Brazilian hardwood) beautifully and sturdily. He
showed up exactly when he promised and finished a few days earlier
than expected... all for a very fair price.
Will Roberts replaced our decks in summer 2004. He did a great job.
Good design, efficient team, cost effective.
For those looking for fences, decks and general handyman
recommendations, I recommend DD's Fences and Decks. Don works by
himself, so smaller jobs are his specialty. He does beautiful
work, and is very reasonably priced.
He can be reached at (510)207-2087.
I have used Glen Larsen and his crew for many projects. One of them
was designing and building my deck. I had a much different project
in mind when he came by my house but he helped me design exactly
what I needed for my use. We came up with a smaller deck that was
the perfect size for my needs. He has good design ideas and
attention to detail. And the ended up being cheaper since it was
I have also had Glen install a redwood deck, a flagstone patio,
bath and lighting fixtures, do inside and outside remodeling and
repair, and he painted my house inside and out - he has a great
color sense and helped when I chose all the colors.
Glen Larsen - 510-232-9122 (and he returns phone calls)
If you are ready to build a deck, I highly recommend Ron Masters. He has great
design ideas and can recommend the best materials for your budget and space.
He has excellent references and sample pictures of previous decks he has completed.
He and his assistant are reliable and easy to work with. You can contact him
directly at 415-377-8400 or e-mail him at mastersr6[at]yahoo.com. He just finished a
project and has a rare window open.
What kind of material for low-to-the-ground deck?
We are deciding what material to use for a large low-to-the-ground deck in our back hard.
At the moment we favor Ipe for strength, durability and looks. I have read a lot about it on the net and think it's characteristics sound perfect, but we went down to Truitt and White in Berkely the other day and a person (unfortunately with a rather obnoxious delivery style) who worked there began to tell us how it would rot if we didn't build the deck at least 16 inches off the ground, that it would splinter like redwood and that it was really high maintenance - needing to be restained or oiled every year. Basically he contradicted everything I have read about it to date. Is he wrong? Has anyone had an ipe deck which didn't live up to expectations? What should I expect from this material? What are the pros and cons. ? Will it rot if it's built in a spot which doesn't get full sun all day?
want a beautiful deck
We had an ipe deck put in two years ago and we love it.
It needs to have another coat of sealer after 6 months,
then a year later, and after that, you shouldn't
need to do anything at all. That is if you use the correct
sealer. The sealer is difficult to find, but it works.
Ipe has no splinters - it's an extremely dense wood.
Our upper deck is two steps off the ground.
If you want more info, feel free to email me.
We have an ipe deck (certified FSC) and love it. We used ipe for the deck floor, stairs,
and railing, but less expensive redwood for the upright parts of the railing (and even
cheaper non-arsenic pressure-treated for the joists underneath). The wood is incredibly
dense and hard (your builder will wear out a lot of bits pre-drilling holes), and it
doesn't seem to absorb water at all. In fact, the only thing I might have done
differently is too have them build a very slight slope into the deck so water will drain
off rather than puddle on top. I guess it's never a good idea to have a deck sitting
directly on the ground, but I can assure you that ipe will last far longer than any
redwood currently available. I wouldn't say it never splinters, but definitely much less
than redwood. Like any wood, how "nice" it looks as it weathers is a matter of preference.
Ours has been in for about 5 years now, and we've re-sanded the surface of the railing
only once. Never the floor. I t!
hink it looks nice, but maybe a little grayer than when it was first installed. If you'd
like to look at ours, e-mail me.
I do not have a IPE deck, but we considered using this wood, and, my next door neighbor
did build an IPE deck.
You cannot hammer into it; the wood is so durable that each hole needs to be drilled
first. Labor installation nightmare! The wood is not supposed to be slippery, but when I
climb my neighbor's stairs, I have slipped. Yes, it does need to be re-stained. Hers has
definitely lost color and it is 3 YO.
We went with Concrete and Steel.
I would love to recommend Will Roberts for deck building. We found him via this forum. He was a pleasure to work with and built us a wonderful ipe deck. He was accommodating and did little extras here and there which really made the difference. We took several bids, and the single item which stood out the most was the he WANTED to work w/ ipe, where as other contractors tried to almost talk us out of it as it would be cost prohibitive due to additional labor. We couldn't be happier.
We give the highest recommendation to William Earl Roberts, phone 510-841-8830, for deck building. Will replaced a set of broken down cement stairs on the back of our house with a beautiful deck of his design which he carefully crafted to fit the style of our 1920's California bungalow. His pricing was more than fair q we had other estimates which were double his price, but no one could beat the quality of his design and craftsmanship. Will was a pleasure to be around q warm, witty, both respectful of our privacy and communicative when needed q always keeping us up to date on the projectms progress. We would hire him again in a minute.
We're looking for a contractor to repair/restore existing
decks and exterior stairs, as well as significantly add
(1000+ sq. ft.) to our decks on a downsloping lot. Our
construction needs also include dry rot repair to wood
siding and framing on our house, fence building and repair,
and adding an exterior door. We also plan to do some
landscaping, so additional related carpentry work will
likely be needed. We're beginning our search for the right
contractor for our large project and appreciate any input.
We have had the most wonderful experience with Carl
Kudernash (sp??) at Bushveld Construction. He came to us
courtesy of our landscape architect to build a deck. Then
we had him fix the extensive dry rot on another deck. Carl
is one of those rare contractors who keeps in touch, comes
when he promises, charges fair rates, stays on budget, and
does great work. He is very attentive to cost, and comes up
with creative ways to cut costs. If anything, he can be a
bit too fussy. He worries about small details, and calls
when he fears a budget overrun of even just a few dollars.
But I'd much rather have that than the alternative. Carl
can be reached at 925-299-8701
I've used Manuel Gutierrez, and he's great and reasonable.
We are trying to determine which material to use for a new
deck. We find ourselves torn between the natural look of
redwood and the virtually maintenance-free benefit of composite
decking (we would get the kind with a wood grain, not the
cardboard-looking old Trexx style).
We live in the El Cerrito hills which means that during the
summer we get mostly foggy days, but also a few Indian summer
days. We also get pummeled in winter as we face the Bay and
there is nothing to buffer the often strong winds and pounding
rain that comes with it.
We are leaning toward composite decking only because it
requires so much less maintenance and would hold up well in our
weather, but we are very concerned about it retaining heat. We
have a toddler and plan to have another child and we want them
to be comfortable. A recent Consumer Reports letter to the
editor posed the same question and the response was that
composite decking is no hotter than natural wood. But my
experience at my in-laws house (who live in Union City, where
it is significantly hotter) is that the single board of
composite decking that edges their pool is much hotter than the
Does anyone who lives in the Oakland/Berkeley/Kensington/El
Cerrito hills area have any feedback for us on how hot your
composite deck gets? On a normal sunny day, not Indian Summer,
is it too hot to walk on with bare feet? Please also let us
know what brand/color you have and what you like/dislike. We
would like to go with something similar to redwood in color.
Also, I've heard that composite decking easily gets grease
stains (we plan to BBQ on the deck) which are very difficult to
get out. Is that true?
Any pros or cons would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
We just went through the same process of figuring out what
to use for our new deck. We wound up using ipe. We chose it
because it needed less maintenance, it's a gorgeous color,
it does not rot, is insect-resistant and fire-resistant
(same rating as concrete), and you don't have to worry about
It's not that expensive of a wood, but because it is so
dense, it takes a lot more man-hours to put together. Nails
don't work on it. Holes have to be pre-drilled (and it wears
down many bits in the process) and screws used. (There is
another way to put it together with special brackets, but we
didn't go that route.) The end result is fantastic. There is
a lot about it on the web. We hadn't even heard of it before
we started talking to contractors.
More info from http://ipe-wood.com/faq.html: It's an
environmentally responsible choice which naturally resists
rot, decay, insects, and mold without the use of toxic
chemicals used in other decking products. It is naturally
fire resistant and has been awarded an 'A1' rating. It is an
incredibly strong, dense wood, harvested from naturally
sustainable forests only. It has very high wear durability
in daily use, and is resistant to splintering and checking.
It has been awarded the best decay resistance rating
available - ''HIGH 25+ years'', however it has been known to
last longer, there just isn't a higher rating!
Just something to think about -- sometimes it is better to
use products that ultimately decompose, like redwood for
instance. I worry about all the Trex decking that will
live forever in the landfills when people decide to
renovate or remodel to stay with the current design fads in
another view on trex
I was recently faced with replacing an old deck. I had a number of people
take a look, and I wasn't happy with any of the choices. I called Glen
Larsen because he had built a deck for a friend of mine, and he came
and re-designed my old deck built by the previous owner. He and his
crew were nice and professional. The work was done in a timely fashion,
and he was able to put a finish on the deck as well as finish the existing
stairway. He was handy because he did a variety of work, and was able to
repair some stucco damage, take care of electrical work, and put in new
doors that led from the house to the deck. The thing that impressed me
the most was that I had a problem with the door sticking a few weeks
later, and he came out right away to take care of it. I highly recommend
him; he can be reached at 510-232-9122
Last year, my wife & I hired Live Oak Landscape to design &
build a deck, and do some other work in our back garden.
We decided to hire them after reading a couple of positive reviews here, &
meeting with the owner Neil Collier who impressed us as pleasant &
competent, & his price was good.
There were a number of things that happened during the course of the job
which concerned us. Although the price given was quite fair, it turned out
that it did not include several items that we had asked for & thought had
been included. We then had to pay additional for those items. We were never
quite sure when to expect the crew as Neil was moving them around between
several jobs, & when they did come they would rush around in a great hurry.
Since none of them spoke good English, if we had a question we had to
Neil or his foreman (who was sometimes on the job with the crew but not
always, & we had some questions that he was unable to answer anyway).
We felt quite frustrated with the overall communication & it seemed that
things that we had talked with Neil about were not thoroughly passed on to
the foreman. We also began to notice that there were details left unfinished
or done sloppily that we had to call Neil's attention to. It became exhausting
to have to check on things so closely.
Although Neil got the proper permit for the deck construction, we realized a
couple of months after the job was finished that the he did not get a permit
for building the arbor on the deck, which makes no sense, &
puts us in the position of having to disclose that when we sell the house.
We think that we were too eager to get a ''good'' price & that we should
have talked to more designers/contractors. In the future, for any home
projects, we will work with a smaller company where the owner works on the
job him/herself so that there is easy communication & hopefully, better
quality control, & we'll pay more for the right person.
live and learn
We highly recommend Lusk Construction in Berkeley. Joel
Lusk built a gorgeous deck for us; he is a real craftsman,
with an eye for detail, and he worked with us on the
design. He did other construction in our house (built
1925) as well, all of which matches seamlessly. He also
does a lot of solar work (though we didn't have that done
ourselves). Lusk Construction phone# (510 ) 872-0556
Can anyone recommend a carpenter to build a small deck and
repair outside stairs and fencing?
I highly, HIGHLY recommend Frank Ciccarelli (382-9179) for
any carpentry work you might have. Frank built a fence for
us 15 years ago that still looks great and has needed no
repair in all this time. Over the years we have hired him
to do many projects including hanging doors, rebuilding the
back porch and stairs (this past summer), and I know he
builds a lot of decks for people. He's smart, reliable,
trustworthy, knowledgeable, extremely skilled, and a
pleasure to work with. Having him work around my home is
completely stress-free because I know the job will be done
well. Feel free to contact me.
I highly recommend Karl Mulligan, a general contractor. He
works (preferably) in the East Bay and specializes in
remodels, decks, finish carpentry and more. His
craftsmanship is excellent and his rates are reasonable. He
can be contacted at (415) 871-8398.
We just had a deck rebuilt by Carl Kudrnac and are very
happy with it. Carl is extremely contientious and had
some very helpful suggestions about what would and would
not work. He is also redoing walkways and retaining walls
for us. His number is 925-299-8701.
We have had the most wonderful experience with Carl
Kudernash (sp??) at Bushveld Construction. He came to us
courtesy of our landscape architect to build a deck. Then
we had him fix the extensive dry rot on another deck. Carl
is one of those rare contractors who keeps in touch, comes
when he promises, charges fair rates, stays on budget, and
does great work. He is very attentive to cost, and comes
up with creative ways to cut costs. If anything, he can be
a bit too fussy. He worries about small details, and calls
when he fears a budget overrun of even just a few dollars.
But I'd much rather have that than the alternative. Carl
can be reached at 925-299-8701.
If you are in need of any of these services, we highly
recommend Ron Masters. We found his name through the
Berkeley Parents Network a few months ago and hired
him for a large deck restoration job. Ron was very
reliable,conscientious, professional, and friendly. He
helped us add a few modifications to the architect's plans
that truly enhanced the end result. We have continued
working with Ron on other projects around our home
such as installing a new bathroom cabinet and sink and
building a garage storage system. Ron is open and
communicative, making him very easy to collaborate with.
He is knowledgeable and value conscious and helps get the
most out of ones budget. Also, he always returned our calls
in a timely manner. Please feel free to contact us with any
questions at (510) 528-4408 (evenings/weekends), or you can
contact Ron Masters directly at (415) 398-8496 or (415) 377-
We didn't have a great experience with JV Fence when they
built a fence and deck for us about 2 years ago. They took a
couple of shortcuts that let to some kludgy work. First, a
step they built into our deck was wobbly and it took a lot of
prodding to get them to fix it, which they did in a kind of
half-a**ed way. The other was a fence post that they made
too short and fixed by gluing another piece of post on top.
Most people who see our fence and deck think it looks great.
They used good quality wood and the angles are neat. But it
really irks me knowing about these little shoddy details when
we paid so much money. I saw that another person on this
list was happy with their work; I don't know if they had a
better experience or if they haven't scrutinized for the
kinds of shortcuts that we found them doing.
I am looking for someone who can build a deck in my
backyard, at a reasonable cost. It's a fairly
straightforward design, nothing terribly elaborate. There
was a recent recommendation for a Bill Roberts based in
Berkeley but no phone number was given. I have also looked
at the archives for carpenters but was unsure how many of
these also do decks. Any recommendations would be greatly
We highly recommend Wilbert Lyons of Lyons Construction to
build a deck. We had a large 220 sq ft approx 25 feet off
the ground custom redwood deck built. It was custom because
it wasn't just a rectangle, it is curved and rounded. Most
contractors told us our design was ''unrealistic'', ''would
double our labor'', and various other annoying remarks. His
response was ''no problem''. His crew was polite and hard
working. They cleaned up their mess everyday and at the end
of the project. They also built a fence and a beautiful
gate for us. Our neighbor is having them do her entire
house remodel and she is thrilled with their progress, and
I quote her, '' I adore Wilbert''. He specializes in
additions, remodels, etc..but we only used him for the
deck/fence so far. The best news, his prices are
reasonable. He has children and is very conscientious about
safety issues while work is being performed. Wilbert Lyons
In response to someone looking for deck guy, I am using
Bill/William Roberts in Berkeley to do our deck. He has
completed our back deck-- I have found him to do impeccable
work- quality-wise. He has a real attention to detail, his
work is top quality for all his clients. He's very
creative and made some changes to our plans that really
improved the overall design. He is a real artisan that we
just don't see enough of in the States; he has real pride
in his work and it shows. He's also very reliable, comes
when he says he's coming and very responsive in talking
with owners about potential design issues before he does
the work. I couldn't recommend him highly enough.
March 2007 update:
The phone is 510-841-8830 or 599-1757 and
his website is: http://www.handmadedecks.com/
I know a great deck builder: Tom Owczarzak 510.658.2138
Hi, any recommendations for someone who could build a high deck (above 4
feet) in a contemporary style ( and which won't break all the piggy
banks in the house?)
I had my neighbor build me a deck last summer. It is two levels,
the top tier is about 15 feet high. It was expensive, but has provided
us with so much enjoyment, it was worth it. Fred Dudley is who built
the deck. I'll check with him about posting his number if you are intersted
in hiring him. My deck was $12,000 and is very elaborate. He does
excellent work and is the cheapest I've found. Good luck.
Regarding Deck Construction: We recently had a deck built (as well as our
kitchen remodeled) by Vinny Ernano. The deck is beautiful. Vinny's # is
We had our deck refinished last fall by Omni painting and are very satisfied
with it. I think it cost just a few hundred dollars, but then again it was
rolled into the big estimate for exterior paint for the whole house. They
used a power water-washer, and then did waterproof untinted "stain" over
all. Good luck! Meg
My friend had a deck built this year and she's practically evangelical
about the praising the contractor. His name is Harold Holmes, 415-523-8595,
and apparently he's built about 900 decks in his lengthy career. I'm told
he's exceptionally capable and conscientious, and a pleasure to work with.
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