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The Ins and Outs of Custom Decks: An Interview with Mark Laustsen of M.E. Laustsen Construction

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

M.E. Laustsen is a residential construction company. I have been in business since 1980 in both the New Jersey and New Hampshire areas. Our projects range from Energy Star Homes to basic repairs.

What are the main decisions a homeowner needs to make before having a new deck built?

The size and location of the deck are the first things to consider. Is there a view or particular room that the deck should be accessed from? The decking material and the railings are an important consideration too. If a stair will go to the yard where should it be located? And of course there is the budget to think about.

Can you give an estimate of a range for what it can cost? How is the price for a custom deck usually calculated?

The price of a custom deck is calculated by the size and materials. It is difficult to put a general cost on decks because the range of materials is so great.

What is one of the biggest challenges involved with building a custom deck?

The lay of the land is usually the biggest challenge; installing the footings to avoid boulders or ledge, making a minimal impact on the rest of the property and having a nice flow from the house to the deck and the rest of the yard.

Is there any regular maintenance that would help people preserve their decks and avoid unnecessary repairs?

Every deck requires maintenance. Wood decks need to be cleaned and stained or sealed regularly, and even composite decking and railings have to be cleaned to prevent mold from growing in pollen and dust that accumulates.

Do you have any tips for homeowners who want to build onto an existing deck?

When adding on to an existing deck it is important to look at several things. The joists, posts, and beams should be checked for any rot and the connection to the house should be checked for proper flashing and that the deck is secured to the house according to the current building code.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

I can be reached by phone at 603-938-5300 and by email at

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