Great Ideas to Make Your Deck Stand Out from the Rest!

Deck House Deck

Are you thinking of building a new deck, remodeling an old deck or just looking for ideas to spruce up an existing deck? Having been in business for over 20 years and having remodeled and built hundreds of decks, Buchanan Custom Builders can offer some great ideas for your deck.

Multiple Levels and a Screened-in Area

A deck can be a place for personal retreat, for gathering with friends and much more. Having a deck with more than one level presents an opportunity for multi-purpose use. The picture above is a deck BCB built for a customer who wanted both an upper and lower deck. The upper deck was built with access from the homeowner’s bedroom giving the homeowner exclusive use of the deck and more privacy. Hildreth Fall 09 050The lower level deck is much larger with room for friends and family with a screened in area. Decks are a great place to relax and enjoy the sun on a nice day, but having a screened in section is great for nights when the bugs are out. The screened-in section is furnished with padded sun chairs, a table, small area rug and traditional Deck House ceiling lights. This is a great way of bringing the outdoors in and vise versa.

Hot Tub Installation and Outdoor Shower

Hildreth Deck 060BCB also installed a hot tub. The tub was sunk into the deck and the decking was scribed around the tub. However, there are several different installation types for a hot tub. Most commonly, a hot tub is installed on top of the decking or attached to the deck with steps to climb in. Another option, as seen in the picture above, is for the hot tub to be installed sunken into the deck. The tub can either be slightly above the decking or flush with the decking. An access panel is also installed for easy access to the mechanicals of the hot tub. Along with a hot tub, an outdoor shower can be built to accompany an outdoor tub or swimming pool. An outdoor shower is a great place to rinse off after an invigorating run, a swim in a pool, or just after a long day of work.

Partitions and Rails

Partitions or half-walls are often used to define space and provide privacy. In the picture above BCB built a small partition between the grill and the hot tub. The partition creates privacy for the hot tub, while providing a wall surface for multiple uses such as, bench seating, storage, or in the case of the picture above, a place to put the grill. These types of partitions give definition and dimension to a deck.

Another area for consideration are the deck rails. The deck in the picture above does not have rails on the lower section but does include cable rails on the upper deck. There are several different materials such as glass, cable and wood, for a homeowner to choose from.

Shape of the Deck and Direction of the Decking

Hildreth Fall 09 056Do not feel limited to the traditional rectangle. If you have landscape features, BCB can contour your deck around them. We can scribe the decking to fit your needs. Curves can be added for style and flow or multiple straight edges. There are many beautiful rectangular decks, however, different shapes and angles will help define areas of a deck and make your deck stand out from the rest. Additionally, the direction of the decking is not limited solely to being parallel to the home. Whether you want your decking at an angle, herringbone, v-shape, diamond, basket weave, or any other pattern you desire, Buchanan Custom Builders can make it happen.

Elemental Features

The joy of being outdoors is most certainly amplified by being next to the elements. Many homeowners enjoy having a fire pit or fireplace built into (or onto) their deck. Likewise, water features such as ponds, water falls, and fountains can also be added. BCB can incorporate shrubs or trees, planting beds, trellises, or any other feature into your deck. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Lighting and Sound

An often overlooked option that differentiates a good deck from a great deck is lighting. Incorporating accent lighting into the deck is the icing on the ambiance cake. Whether it’s up lighting, tow kick lighting or post lights, our electricians can take care of it. Outdoor speakers are another great way to get the most out of your deck. Manufacturers now make speakers that integrate into the deck flawlessly.

Hopefully, we have sparked some ideas to make the most out of your Deck House deck!


Soft-Close Sliding Drawers

soft closing drawer slides

A new design feature for all types of drawer application are the soft-close glides (also referred to as self-close glides). This innovative hardware has the added feature of a smooth dampened closing movement. This feature stops drawers from slamming, and gently pulls drawers closed the last few inches. This pulling motion is where the term “soft-close” comes from. The damper is normally positioned in the mechanism at the rear of the glide and controls the closing action. This mechanism also acts as a hold-in, stopping the slide from bouncing open.

Soft-close drawer glides come in side-mount or under-mount styles. Under-mount glides look elegant, concealing any visible hardware. Also, under-mount glides allow drawers to be slightly wider and come with the option of a partial or full extension.

Benefits of soft-close glides prevent cabinet drawers from slamming, preserves the life of the drawer, protects the finish on the cabinetry and they are a desired feature for home buyers, adding to the value of your Deck House home.

If you have any questions about new design features or inquires about an upcoming renovation, please contact us!

Are You in the Market to Buy or Sell a Home?

eileen editedSpring weather is right around the corner and homeowners are beginning the process of buying or selling a home.  As stated in our mission statement, our company values building relationships and delivering personalized customer service and we have found one exceptional real estate agent, Eileen Michaud of RE/MAX Traditions, who shares this same philosophy.

Eileen genuinely values developing relationships with those she works with and has the ability to effectively listen and communicate honestly with her clients.  When buying or selling a home, there is no substitution for finding a real estate agent who legitimately takes a personal interest in their clients and who has a gift for listening to their client’s needs and desires.  Eileen has these qualities and is not only a pleasure to work with but she is also a wealth of information and able to supply you with resources and contacts to local banks, lawyers, inspectors, and builders.  She is on top of current housing trends and market conditions and has the ability to work effectively and efficiently through the latest technological advances.

If you are in the market to purchase a home or sell your existing one, we sincerely and highly recommend Eileen Michaud of RE/MAX Traditions.  Working with a client-centered realtor who is genuinely and compassionately invested in her clients can ensure a successful home buying or selling experience.  At BCB, we are pleased to recommend such a reliable, capable, and competent real estate agent.  Give Eileen a call at 978.841.7677 or contact her via email at

A Maintenance Free Decking Option

At the request of our customer, we recently retrofitted composite decking onto a Deck House balcony deck.  The chosen decking was similar in width and came in colors native to the Deck House palette.   This option relieved the homeowner from staining their balcony deck every year or two.  It did require framing between the Deck House spec beams with pressure treated 2x framing, but the end result looked as if it had always been a part of the home:


A Must When Installing Solar Panels

We’ve written before on installing solar panels on a Deck House roof.  We recently had the opportunity to visit a customer’s home that had solar panels installed with lag bolts through the insulation into the decking.  Underneath all of these mounts, the roof components had rotted away.  Without adequate support, the insulation compressed under the pressure of the lag bolt, compromising the weatherproofing of the shingles above.  Here is the result:



If you’re considering going solar on your Deck House home, give us a call at (978)365-5110 to discuss what’s required from a structural standpoint for a Deck House roof.

Buchanan Custom Builders Consulting Services

Consulting services


Buying a home can be exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Buying a Deck House home can be equally confusing. Deck House homes are unique in both the materials and methods used in their construction. They are so unique, that the many home inspections fail to identify specific Deck House problem areas that can be costly to repair. Identifying the true condition of a home is paramount in properly negotiating a sale price. Failing to find structural or energy deficiencies can cost a new homeowner tens of thousands of dollars.

Identifying the deficiencies is only half of the battle. Obtaining an informed estimate for the cost to remedy the problem is what will give the prospective buyer the true leverage they need to negotiate the sale price.

Buchanan Custom Builders offers consulting services to prospective home buyers. Owner, Steve Buchanan will do an informal walk-through of the Deck House home with the potential buyer. Leveraging his 30+ years of experience with Deck House homes, Steve will offer as much insight and information as possible regarding the Deck House components and the rough costs associated with replacing or repairing these components such as the roof, deck, windows, beams, etc. This consultation does not constitute a home inspection. We do recommend an official home inspection by a licensed home inspector, as they can address the mechanical, environmental and other non-structural issues associated with the Deck House home.

Over the years, Steve has worked on many of the Deck House homes in the greater Boston area. There is a definite possibility that he can offer insights on the history of your potential home. Additionally, in the past, Steve has steered potential buyers away from problem homes, as well as given the negotiating power to others to drive the sale price down substantially.

Another great asset to having a consultation with Buchanan Custom Builders, is having an informed estimate for future projects. Want to turn the screen porch into a full season room? Want to put on an addition? Want to update the kitchen and bathrooms? Want to do anything to your Deck House home in the future? Get all the facts from Steve so you know what the potential costs can be. Deck House homes are unique and require unique materials and methods to maintain and upgrade.

What’s more, the consulting fee is applicable to any future work contracted to Buchanan Custom Builders, LLC.

Contact us today at, or call our office at (978)365-5110 to schedule your consultation.  For more information on the services we offer, please see


Thinking about going solar?


Deck House homes are unique in nearly every way, including their roofs. Properly installing solar panels on a Deck House roof is possible with the right methods. Because of the solid roof system, solar contractors can not simply bolt the mounting brackets to the roof like on a conventional home.

Conventional roof systems use trusses that lie directly below the surface of the roof. On a Deck House solid roof, there is a layer of 2-6” of rigid insulation. Bolting through this insulation and into the roof decking will compress the insulation enough to cause failure of the roof system. The shingles will stress and crack, causing water to follow the bolts into the home. Left unattended, just one failed solar mount installation can end up causing thousands of dollars in damage to the roof.


Recently, Buchanan Custom Builders was contracted to implement a solution and properly fit our customer’s Deck House home with solar panel mounting brackets. This was accomplished by working with the solar panel contractor to determine the exact layout of the brackets, which was then transferred to a layout for solid blocking. With the layout in hand, the shingles were stripped off of the roof that was going to support the solar panels. Solar companies recommend installing over a relatively new roof, as re-roofing after the panels are installed is beyond difficult.

Once the roof was stripped, the layout was transferred onto the plywood surface. Buchanan Custom Builders’ owner, Steve Buchanan, implemented an installation detail to provide a solid surface for the solar brackets to mount to, while maintaining the integrity of the Deck House roof system. This design included cutting channels into the roof, installing blocking, and installing a waterproof membrane under the shingles. The shingles and solar mounts had to be installed at the same time. Properly shingling around so many mounts, so close together, takes time and much experience. In the end, the layout was successfully transferred from paper, through every step, and onto the finished solar mounts.

Channels_cut SolarBracket RoofwithBrackets2


At this point, the roof was ready for the solar contractors to complete the installation and flip the switch to turn this Deck House home into a residential solar farm!


For some specifications on this customer’s Deck House solar install, visit his page here: Energy Sage   

Contact us at or call 978.365.5110 if you’re considering a solar package for your Deck House home.  

Give New Life to that Old Conservatory

One of the more popular renovations we have done in the last 10 years is the Deck House conservatory remodel.  For some time, Deck House homes were constructed utilizing a slanted glass styled conservatory.   Billed as a passive solar model, these homes offered great solar gain during the winter months using this conservatory style.  Unfortunately, cooling costs during the summer months were daunting.
Fast-forward a few decades, and the slanted windows began developing leaks.  Seal failures became common.  New designs, building materials, and methods have offered a solution for Deck House homeowners with the passive solar conservatory. Below are a set of before and after pictures that show the dramatic upgrade that is now possible with Deck House conservatories.
    13zHildreth_Before_3 small
aaaaEDITED HILD AFTER 4aaaHildreth_sW_Corner_Before
Give us a call at (978)365-5110 or email if you’d like to discuss updating your Deck House conservatory.

Deck House Roof Dissected

Depending on the age of your Deck House, the exact components may vary… but the above photo illustrates the basic layout of a modern Deck House roof.  These specialty materials and the construction methods used to install them are what sets a Deck House home apart from a conventional roof.
In the event that your Deck House roof has begun to leak, it is important to remedy the situation as soon as possible.  When we discuss “rot”, we’re talking about the 3×6 laminated decking… the very bottom layer of the roof system.  Remediating this issue requires an understanding of the layers above and also how the laminated decking attaches to both the roof beams and the other rows of decking.  
If you’d like to discuss your Deck House roof, contact us at (978) 365-5110 or