Case Study

Tami and Stephen's Deck

"Our experience with Cascade for our deck project was outstanding and I highly recommend Cascade for you project. There were literally no surprises, everything was clear and precise with changes and project details. The crew was awesome to work with and our new deck is amazing!" — Steve
Steve & Tami fit into a common scenario: beautiful custom home, tiny cedar deck.
An Arbor

Steve and Tami’s beautiful new custom home had a tiny cedar deck built off the main level kitchen and accessed by slider door. Possibly just enough deck to allow the home to pass inspection upon completion, but there isn’t much else anyone could expect to do with it besides give the bar-b-q a home. It took one holiday of entertaining guests for Tami to know that something had to change.

When Steve and Tami met with Zack from Cascade Fence & Deck, they had a few problems they wanted to overcome:

  • Extend the deck for more living space but conform to the tight property lines to assure staying within set back building codes.
  • Include a set of stairs without taking up too much yard space.
  • Use the least amount of support posts as possible to keep the living space below the deck open for entertaining guests and allowing ample room for children to play.
  • Use a decking and railing material that requires the least amount of maintenance possible but also aesthetically compliments their new home.
Choosing the Right Material

We were able to help Steve and Tami pick out their new deck boards and railing fairly quickly with our in-house sample kit our estimators use for design ideas. In the Northwest, cedar is abundant but requires the most maintenance.

Tami and Steve already had an existing cedar deck in place and they just weren’t feeling it.

We were able to show them our Deckorators deck board products, explain the maintenance (or lack of) and point out the industry leading warranty Deckorators offers for their products. It was a no brainer. Tami picked out two tones of gray and showed Zack which color would make up most of the deck and which color would be the border trim.

On to the railing

Tami and Steve had to pick out a railing style next. There are lots of options of railing available and choosing just one can feel a bit daunting. Zack noticed that Tami and Steve had a young child at home.

Zack was able to help Tami and Steve feel confident in eliminating stainless steel horizontal railing because typically little children like to climb on the railing like a ladder.

This option was out as the new deck was nine feet above ground. Glass would get dirty with fingerprints. Aluminum picket railing was the ultimate choice and powder coated silver would be the color to compliment the gray decking and house.

The design challenge...

We needed to give Steve and Tami a larger deck but had set backs from the property lines to consider as well as keeping the backyard as open as possible to maximize space. We knew we were going to have to get tricky with the stair placement to avoid taking up too much of their yard. Zack took down all the measurements on his initial visit. Every window, door, the air conditioning unit, the length and width of the yard, the elevation of the yard and more just to be sure Cascade’s design would actually work with the requests of Steve and Tami.

From there, Zack went to work making a 3D rendering of Steve and Tami’s home with a new deck design and stair placement. A few options were shown and eventually, Steve and Tami agreed to place the stairs all the way over to one side and go straight out to the ground level. The air conditioning unit was already taking up some space so building the stairs over that and keeping them all the way to one side of the property seemed like the best option.

"Seeing the 3-D designs really helped us visualize how our project was going to look when it was completed. It’s a little scary investing in our home and not knowing exactly how the project will turn out. I really appreciated Cascade’s willingness to work with us and give us several easy to understand design options to choose from. It made the process much easier and I felt the drawings assured we were all on the same page" — Tami, 2018

Once the design was completed and the homeowner approved, the next step was sending the project to our in-house engineer, Mitchell. This is where Mitchell works his magic taking 3D renderings of homeowner’s dreams and making sure we can stick to the plan while including certain building codes and safety concerns.

“I was able to use a strong glue lam beam to reduce the number of posts being used. I also made sure our design passed code for the Portland area where the homeowners live. That just means using the appropriate brackets for attaching framing and everything else was standard deck design” — Mitchell, Cascade Fence & Deck Project Engineer 2018.

The Handoff

Once Mitchell finalizes the design, a product list including all the deck boards down to the very last nut and bolt are printed on a product list and emailed over to our shop manager, Markus for staging the material needed to complete Steve and Tami’s deck project. Markus pulls new parts and pieces from our warehouse, fabricates the railing needed for this job and stages all the material in a nicely wrapped pile in the yard for the install crew to pick up in the morning and place on their truck.

At Cascade, we have 7 crews of experienced and highly trained deck builders. For Steve and Tami’s job, Cory was the assigned foreman. On the start date, Cory picked up the staged material for the job, reviewed the drawings from our engineer and watched the project video our estimator created on his site visit with Steve and Tami. Cory and crew went to work and had the new framing up in one day! You can see the framing process in the time lapse video below.

“I do this because it helps our team be highly efficient if they have all the pieces needed to complete a project from the beginning. That way, our foreman doesn’t have to spend valuable time running around Portland picking up tools or pieces they need to complete the job. It works very well, and I believe it’s key to our fast turn around time without compromising a quality build” — Markus, Cascade Fence & Deck Shop manager- 2018

Fine Tuning

Next came the decking material and railing. Now is where the homeowners really start to see their project come to life. Tami noticed the zipper board (dividing board) in the center felt a little off from where she initially imagined it.

No Sweat.

Cory and crew completed the deck on time with no additional unexpected costs to the customer. Cory completed final inspection with both homeowners present and everything passed.

“Once the project was put together, I didn’t like the looks of the dividing board so I called Zack our estimator and explained my concerns. Zack was quick to reply and coordinated with our project foreman, Cory, to make the change. It was a quick response and I felt relief when my needs were heard and met. I was a little worried they wouldn’t want to make the change as they already had most of the deck boards installed and in place, but they just did it without any kick back” — Tami, Homeowner 2018


"Cascade’s process is thorough and professional. Cascade had all the products in a kit, so my wife and I could see colors and feel the texture of our deck boards. The crew was always on time and cleaned up their mess at the end of each day. They finished faster than I expected and the final product exceeded our expectations! I have referred Cascade to several of my neighbors and friends and will continue to do so! Our experience with Cascade for our deck project was outstanding and I highly recommend Cascade for you project. There were literally no surprises, everything was clear and precise with changes and project details. The crew was awesome to work with and our new deck is amazing." — Steve, Homeowner 2018