About Brett Bricker

Brett Bricker

Brett Bricker is a business analyst at Simpson Strong-Tie and handles a variety of support tasks in Marketing. Previous work in retail hardware stores and lumber yards provided a great deal of exposure to the DIY world. A self-described “hardware nerd,” he’s excited to be working on the Simpson Strong-Tie catalogues he used to read for fun. In his spare time, he enjoys honing his marksmanship skills, creative writing, cooking and exploring the outdoors.

Brett Bricker's Posts:

A Deck in Progress

Posted: April 7, 2015


A recent Sunday visit with a good friend in San Martin, California, left me intrigued by his latest DIY project: a large extension to his current deck. Spring is widely regarded as deck season, so I thought it was a great opportunity to learn how he’s building it and the materials used and share some DIY decking tips I picked up . Hopefully you will find your own decking inspiration from his handiwork.

My friend, Ed Espitia, has worked in the construction trades for more than 40 years and is no stranger to Simpson Strong-Tie. He has been an avid user of our products for more than four decades and built his lovely home exclusively using Simpson Strong-Tie products (pictured below). The current deck is being expanded to increase the amount of space available and to allow the addition of a sun room below the deck.

Ed has extensive experience with construction, and his latest project certainly demonstrates this. The deck extension incorporates a poured semi-circle concrete base in conjunction with decorative columns filled with #4 rebar and high-strength concrete. These will act as the main supports for the deck. The bay window at the center will eventually be flanked by large picture windows, creating a closed room under the deck that can take in the full effects of a sunny spring or summer day. The columns are topped with CBSQ bases that are embedded into the concrete to hold the headers. A deck ledger board and flashing will be run across the face of the existing deck, creating a solid foundation for the extension. The next step will be to run the joists, securing everything with Simpson Strong-Tie connectors and fasteners. Finally, he plans to finish the deck with slate stonework, wrought iron railing and a wrought iron spiral staircase leading to the level below.

I asked Ed what advice he would give someone looking to start a decking project and he offered a few tips:

  • Always consider the scope of the project you are planning and do thorough research.
  • Safety and structural integrity should always be your prime concern.
  • Trying to cut corners and save money usually leads to less than ideal outcomes, so make the investment and do it right the first time.

If you’re thinking about building a deck, be sure to check out the many free resources offered by Simpson Strong-Tie, including deck safety tips at Build a Safe Strong Deck and the Deck Connection and Fastening Guide. If you have an existing deck, it is always prudent to inspect your deck yearly and make any repairs needed. Potential deck issues you should check for are highlighted in The Warning Signs of an Unsafe Deck as well as last week’s post.

What decking projects are you planning for spring? Let us know in the comments below.