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.

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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.
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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

Building the NextHouse Prototype

One of the homes we have had the privilege to build was the prototype for the NextHouse.  Working alongside wonderful homeowners, the process started with the demolition of an existing Deck House home.  The NextHouse design that was chosen blended geometric shapes with sweeping lines.  The resulting home featured modern styling that integrated with the landscape instead of competing with it.
The NextHouse design offers styling that pulls at the heart strings of Deck House homeowners who want a more modern look.  An homage to the mid-century modern style of the 1960’s Deck House homes, the NextHouse brings the design in an innovative direction while hinting at the company’s roots.  
The joy of working on this home was to assist in the development process.  From the full-walled Phantom Screen to the folding glass wall, integrating new materials and products into a fresh concept always makes for fun problems to solve.  The NextHouse utilizes many great Deck House materials such as windows, doors, beams, decking, and mahogany trim.
Below are a few construction pictures:
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A few comments from the homeowner’s blog:
“Steve identified changes so the decks make sense, various things related to the roof, and a whole bunch of things that are invisible to us, but important to the end result. We knew we chose well with him, but couldn’t have anticipated this level of fixing things that Empyrean hadn’t yet thought through.”
“We’re so happy with the work (the cabinet contractor) and his team did on all the cabinetry that we had him over on Friday to discuss several more bookcases, shelving units for CDs, and a cat-proof cabinet to house the turntable and a few other audio components.”
“Today being a company holiday, I had my first opportunity to be there while they’re building. These guys work hard: not even the cookies we brought distracted them from the work. “

Deck House Shed

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Have you been looking for a shed to store your garden tools, lawnmower, snowblower, and everything else that doesn’t belong in the house?  Do you cringe at the thought of having one of the box stores drop a cookie cutter shed in your yard that doesn’t match your house in the slightest?
So did these homeowners.
Buchanan Custom Builders was hired to design and build a custom Deck House shed to compliment their home, while providing a spot to store all of their yard accessories.  The resulting structure is filled with natural light from the custom Deck House windows on the front and sides.  Additionally, the post and beam structure and shallow roof slope allows for the maximum amount of usable storage space.
Like any Deck House, the options with a shed like this are numerous.  Give us a call at (978)365-5110 or email us at to discuss your outdoor storage needs.