How to Build a Wood Deck & Install Pavers, Porcelain or Stone Tile over any Deck


Stan Genadek: All right, guys, I pretty excited to talk to you about today's subject, because I've never seen this before I was working on this job site. It's called the Stone Deck System and it's a new product by Belgard. And what it does is it allows the average framing contractor to put a deck frame up and then to actually install porcelain tile, stone tile, pavers right over the top of that. Typically, you would never that because they're just not meant for it. But, they've got this new system created that lets the average person do it. So if you're a contractor and you've always wanted to be able to kind of start to get into hardscapes or create that hardscape look, this is how you do it. This is pretty cool and a big thanks goes out to Belgard for bringing Phil and I down to Ohio, teaching us the ropes on this so that we could bring this to you guys. 

Stan Genadek: So, without wasting any more time, let's go build a stone deck over a wood frame. I know that sounds odd, doesn't it? But it's cool.

Stan Genadek: All right guys, we've got a pretty unique project for you today. We're gonna be converting a wood deck to stone deck. And we're gonna be using a product called Silca Systems. And this allows you to take a standard timber frame deck and turn it into a stone or brick patio. And we're gonna walk you through step-by-step how you can do this.

Stan Genadek: Now, one of the reasons why you'd even wanna consider doing something like this is simple: Because it offers your customer more options. More flexibility. More versatility. When you can go out there and you can not just offer your customer a standard wood deck, but a stone deck as well, you may land an extra job. 

Stan Genadek: Guys, for the Silca System, it starts out just like any other timber frame deck or wood frame deck. 12 inches on center. Your standard deck construction. But a few things you gotta be aware of: Your joists have to be perfectly level. ... You got any of this rocking motion going in it, you've gotta correct that before you can lay down the next step. The true flat level is one of the basic components that you gotta start out with. 

Stan Genadek: Once you've got that down, then it's just a simple grid system that connects. 12 inches or is it 16 inches? Isn't it 16? 

Stan Genadek: Is it 16 professor Phil?

Phil Sarros: 16 inches.

Stan Genadek: All right. So 16 inches on center. So otherwise, all deck construction stays the same, doesn't it?

Phil Sarros: Otherwise, it stays the same. But keep in mind, if you're in an area that has a heavy snow load, you're gonna wanna probably space your joists at eight inches on center. Still allowing you to span the 16 inches by the size of the grid itself. Just check with your local codes in your local area that you're working to make sure you've got that code correct.

Stan Genadek: Phil's being my tripod cause I couldn't get one on the plane.

Stan Genadek: We're at 16 inches on center. But do one other step before we can lay the grid system down. And I wanna show you what that is. I'm gonna take you in real close right now guy. We can see that all of the rafters are wrapped with a membrane. Let's go find out exactly what the membrane is called. 

Stan Genadek: Okay, so this is the guy that actually created this. What is this called and what is its function?

Mike: Joist tape.

Stan Genadek: Joist tape. 

Stan Genadek: And, Mike, why do you gotta use that?

Mike: Typically, what is does is it'll extended the life of the joists. You're reducing the amount of water laying on the wood. It's laying on another product that's water resistant.

Stan Genadek: Okay.

Mike: So, your joists and your deck, therefore, last longer.

Stan Genadek: So there's a couple extra steps that I see with this system so far. We've got the membrane that goes over the framing. Then you've got the grate, which the extra step on top of that. 

Mike: Right.

Stan Genadek: Then you have a membrane that goes over the top of the grate system.

Mike: Specifically for tile.

Mike: Belgard had asked us to come up with an idea of deadening the sound. The porcelain pavers have sort of ringing, clicking sound to them. So they asked us to come up with an idea deadening that sound. With the [silca 00:03:56] mat, it deadens the sound. It's also permeable, so water still goes through. But the cushion deadens the sound. It also makes the tile tighter in place. Once we get the sand set, everything's solid. Deadens the sound and makes a little bit nicer product. 

Stan Genadek: Is it a game changer if you don't have that in there?

Mike: The sound is completely different.

Stan Genadek: And so, this is about the extra step for quality for your customer?

Mike: Yes.

Stan Genadek: Can you get by without it? Tell me, Mike. Straight up.

Mike: What'll happen is ... Our recommended method is a silica mat and sand. That being said: If you don't wanna go the silica mat route, we recommend at least geotextile and then we have our flexible spacer that will absorb some of the sound, but nowhere near to the degree the mat does.

Stan Genadek: So when these guys are going to get this for their own project, does it come one dealer will handle all of this? We're not going one place, another place, another place?

Mike: Right.

Mike: The matting comes from us, which comes from their dealer. 

Stan Genadek: Okay.

Mike: The flexible spacers come from us. Which would come from their dealer. If they decide to us the geotextile, you know, there's dozens of kinds out there they can use as long as it's permeable, that's fine.

Stan Genadek: Okay.

Mike: And the sand. Whatever your dealer's recommending for this tile or that tile, that's fine too. It just needs to be polymeric sand that locks everything together.

Stan Genadek: That's good to know. 

Stan Genadek: Any other tips or tricks these guys should understand while they're doing it?

Mike: Big thing: The deck's gotta be level. It can be pitched, but it's got to be flat and level. If it's not level, what happens is you'll get a rocking. You can make a standard wooden deck where it's little bit off, and the boards will bend enough to make up the dependency. Porcelain pavers don't bend that well.

Stan Genadek: They bend at all.

Mike: Hardly at all. Yeah.

Stan Genadek: Right.

Mike: So-

Stan Genadek: They crack over time.

Mike: So if it's not level, you'll get a wobbling. You can get an edge somebody could trip over. There's certain safety hazards you wanna watch out for and if the deck's level, the job is smooth. There's no problems.

Stan Genadek: Go to know. All right. Well, let's see how this goes. 

Stan Genadek: So, is there anything specific we need to know as we lay the tape down, guys?

Speaker 4: It's pretty simple. The idea behind the tape is if you look at an old deck, often where you see rot is around those screws because the moisture gets through there. This provides a seal to protect the top of that joist from rot.

Stan Genadek: You don't have to do anything special to preclean the surface before laying the tape down?

Speaker 4: I normally wipe them off.

Stan Genadek: So, no special prep really needed.

Stan Genadek: One of the things too, I need to point out, is he used the same tape underneath the rafter hangers.

Stan Genadek: I wanna show something, Mike. We were talking about you've got this overlapped.

Mike: Right.

Stan Genadek: Over the actually timber framing.

Mike: Right.

Stan Genadek: And then, you actually ... you stagger the joints. I've noticed that. Right? Is that-

Mike: Well, you don't want screws right next to each other. Weakens the joist a little bit. Not noticeably. But, if you stagger them you don't have that issue.

Stan Genadek: Okay.

Mike: Out here, we're not really supporting anything cause it's supported by this. So, at that point, these pieces are just blocking.

Stan Genadek: Okay.

Mike: Okay. When you run it over, you basically take a Sawzall and you follow the contour of your deck so that every piece that's cut is supported. Cause that's important.

Stan Genadek: Okay.

Mike: And it's very easy to get the shape of your deck. If you had an irregular shape, you just follow it along, cut it off as needed, and everything fits.

Stan Genadek: Phil, you gotta problem with my carpentry work?

Phil Sarros: Well, you know, I'm just taking a look at it and I'm noticing these are just a little bit long. So, you know, it might be that you're a little rusty. 

Stan Genadek: I'm just trying to take-

Phil Sarros: I'm not saying I can do it better. I'm saying, "Why not just have a crack at it and see what I can do?"

Stan Genadek: Okay.

Phil Sarros: Yeah. It's okay. But now that I've got the hard job of trimming it up. We'll see what I-

Stan Genadek: Fixing my mistakes?

Phil Sarros: So-

Stan Genadek: Too bad they don't have a skid loader here. I wouldn't mind showing you how to run one of those someday.

Phil Sarros: You know what? I'm not so shabby at that either.

Stan Genadek: Is there anything you're not good at, Phil? I'm just wondering.

Phil Sarros: Nah. I'm actually really good at everything. And, you know, that's one of my skills.

Stan Genadek: And you know what he's really good at guys? Selling essential oils.

Stan Genadek: How'd that go? Oh, I see a little bit more of the deck-

Phil Sarros: So, anyway, this ... there it is. Voila, it's all done.

Stan Genadek: Yeah. That's nice. That's pretty.

Phil Sarros: This wood has a flaw in it. And when you find flawed wood on your job, guys, you've just gotta send it all back. This wood has a flaw and I found it. 

Mike: This are basically brace straps that go across the back. This provides side-to-side strength when you push down on it. It does flex. It's designed to flex. If it didn't flex with the freeze-thaw and the movement of the deck, it'd break. But the strength here is from here to here. To go this way, these are the most important things are these lines right here. To strengthen it. So we want this to be in contact with the joists the whole way.

Stan Genadek: So let's be very clear, your joist is here.

Mike: Right.

Stan Genadek: This is the strongest part. So really, you've gotta get this grate system lined up with the joists so that you are hitting on the joist. You really shouldn't turn this tile sideways.

Mike: No.

Stan Genadek: So the orientation of the tile is critical to the overall success and longevity. If you guys install it bass-ackwards, it'll look fine right away. But I'm gonna guess in one to five years, you're gonna start to notice that flex and that's gonna be reflected into the tiles which are gonna probably start to crack, bend, break, give you weird edges. 

Mike: The reason this work over, let's say, using plywood and putting a thinset down and putting a tile on; it's gonna rot. No matter what you do, that's gonna rot.

Stan Genadek: Okay. 

Mike: If you decide to put cement on a deck with a tray, over time, cement doesn't flex at all. So as your deck moves, the cement will break up. 

Stan Genadek: It'll crack. Right?

Mike: Right. This is designed to flex. 

Mike: You feel the flex?

Phil Sarros: I feel it.

Mike: Yeah.

Phil Sarros: Yeah. That's great. And I can see how these ribs in here create strength cause they're spanning from here to here. I totally get it. If you were to turn this and rotate this 90 degrees, these ribs would be running and you sort have ... I can see how over time that's gonna change the whole shape of this. But that's what I love. This is injection molded plastic.

Mike: Right. It's PC-ABS, which what we make this out of is recycled car parts.

Phil Sarros: Okay. 

Mike: So, it's a green product.

Phil Sarros: One of the things that he did is he went ahead and he precut a lot of these. But in construction, things don't always work out the way they're designed on paper. So, sometimes you have to make those modifications in the field.

Mike: There should be some flashing red lights when you say that.

Stan Genadek: I gotta quick question, Mike: Have you ever had a job work exactly as planned?

Mike: Yeah, when I plan it.

Mike: There's always something that goes wrong. Whether it be the measurement's not quite right or, in this situation, we have some lumber that's sagging. So we have to shim it up and make sure it's level.

Stan Genadek: Where's it sagging at?

Speaker 4: See that moving?

Stan Genadek: So, that middle one is low? [crosstalk 00:11:02]

Speaker 4: You can see the middle one's low. You can see the gap in there.

Stan Genadek: Yep.

Speaker 4: So we'll have to shim that up to get everything level.

Stan Genadek: Are you gonna shim it underneath? Or where are you gonna shim it at?

Speaker 4: Underneath the grate. So, on top of here. [crosstalk 00:11:13]

Stan Genadek: So, you're not gonna lift up the whole joist?

Speaker 4: No. We're just gonna use a piece of shingle. Provide a gap. And that will bring up the same level as this so we don't create a ridge and have that stone rocking on it. 

Speaker 4: Looks like roofing felt. Got 'er?

Stan Genadek: No. I think I have it.[inaudible 00:11:27]

Speaker 4: No, no, no. Let's see that again. No, no.

Stan Genadek: No, no, no. I got [crosstalk 00:11:32].

Stan Genadek: Ready. All right. Dang, that is dense.

Stan Genadek: So this is the silica mat. Come on over here and check this out. This is actually a rubber membrane.

Speaker 4: It's also recycled product made from recycled tires.

Stan Genadek: Okay. So, we're gonna lay the mat out. We gotta come right up to the edge.

Stan Genadek: If you guys decided to cut like that, make sure you're cutting the right layer. He's been doing this a while. But it's easy to go too deep and to cut the roll beneath it. 

Stan Genadek: All right guys, the easiest way to actually cut this, you saw us using knife, a straight edge. Just go in the house and grab yourself a pair of scissors. It's gonna ne the safest, fastest, easiest way to cut this stuff. It's heavy material, but it's not so heavy duty that a good old pair of Fiskar's house scissors won't take care of it for you.

Stan Genadek: Guys, what we're doing right now is we're just bringing the membrane up to the house and leaving just a slight fold so that it can catch the sand. The sand doesn't fall off. Cause if we left it, the sand could fall out.

Stan Genadek: Guys, you're not gonna believe this. This is gonna be one of the rarest things you ever see in the wild. Do you see what he's doing guy? It's Phil Sarros. He's actually working? Shh. Don't ruin this moment. That's what it looks like when he's working. He's actually doing something.

Phil Sarros: Well.

Speaker 4: That's good on the knees. 

Stan Genadek: All right. The matting's down. The seams are taped. It's time to start putting some pavers down. 

Stan Genadek: All right. We're gonna crack into the tiles. Couple things, we've said it before guys, is make sure your batches are the same. Right, Phil?

Phil Sarros: That's right. We wanna check the lot numbers just to make sure that the color blends are the same. If they're manufactured and they have different lot number, you might have just a slight variance in your colors. So take a look at that.

Stan Genadek: So the layout of the first tile is actually critical because it determines how many cuts on the entire project that you're going to be doing. So, what we're actually talking about right now is we wanna be able to minimize the amount of cuts or at least hid them. We know we're gonna have cuts no matter what we do, but where they end up is determined my where we start. 

Speaker 5: That's exactly right.

Stan Genadek: We're gonna lay this out so that we can hide the cuts and make the least amount and the least difficult cuts possible.

Speaker 5: That's exactly right.

Stan Genadek: All right guys. Since we're doing it on this membrane, the click and drop method that you'll typically see when you're building a paver patio is not really as necessary, is it?

Stan Genadek: All right guys. One of the things that I wanna point out: You can see that we're using spacers just to keep enough separation and consistency as we lay these tiles out. And then also gives us our space for the silica sand. If we didn't use them, we'd probably be too tight to actually get sand into the joints.

Stan Genadek: And what are you noticing so far Phil?

Phil Sarros: Well, I'm noticing this was a pretty easy system to install. One thing that I took note of as was laying down some of the tile, is that this is definitely a two person job. I mean, you're working with large tiles, so it really helps if you've got someone bringing the material to you and you've got couple guys that are actually physically laying the tiles in place. Cause you could imagine as one person laying it and trying to reach out and adjust the spacers, it's a little difficult. Not impossible. But if you've got a couple of guys that can help you out with this, this is definitely a good teamwork effort.

Stan Genadek: Okay, we've gotta one bad tile in here guys. And it happens. I mean, there's not gonna be a perfect job. So I wanna address this with you guy.

Stan Genadek: So, you can see right here. Now go ahead and step on it. Watch right here. And the fix for that is we're gonna put a little bit of flexible adhesive underneath that. And that's gonna help soften that and cushion that and actually keep that from having that void space. 

Speaker 4: That should set over night and that should stop that.

Stan Genadek: We've got our line scored. Now we're ready to cut. You gotta go slow. I learned that the hard way first time. But everybody got a good laugh at me. Except for the guy buying the tile.

Stan Genadek: It's not fast job. But one you can be proud of when you do it right.

Stan Genadek: All right, so we're putting the actually porcelain tile over the stairs. And you can see the grid system there. But what we're doing with this part of the build is we're putting the fascia board underneath. We're using a special bullnose tile as the stair edge. We're gonna use an inlay to compensate for the distance to the next stair riser. Also, another thing to take into consideration is the thickness of the tile so that you don't get too much of an overhang. 

Stan Genadek: Okay. So we're doing an inlay right next to the stairs. This is just to highlight that transition from the deck to step. And it's actually designed to pull some of the tan colors out of the tile. 

Stan Genadek: All right guys. We're wrapping up the finishing touches on the deck, but we've gotta make some tweaks to it before we're ready for the next step. Now I wanna show you guys something. I you come in here, you can see where our lines got off a little bit. Well, that's because we've been working and walking on this thing for two solid days and we ended actually using the wrong spacers. This is a flexible spacer. We should've used the stiff spacer, but it's not the end of the world. You see how this line is off? I'm just gonna use a screwdriver, pop my lines back in place to get ready for the next step which is actually applying a polymeric sand. 

Stan Genadek: We don't use mortar, we don't use grout because it doesn't flex with the deck. But a polymeric sand, especially the right one, will flex and move as the deck flexes and moves as it goes through a freeze-thaw cycle or heats up from the sun. Now, the product that we're gonna be using is actually made by Techniseal and it's called NextGel. After we get all these tiles tweeked and completely straightened out, we're gonna put that down and I'm gonna show you how we use that. 

Stan Genadek: Okay. So we're getting ready to put the polymeric sand in. We gotta pop out all of our spacers and then we gotta blow off the deck. We can't have any dirt. We can't have any polymeric sand on any of the tiles anymore than we have to. 

Stan Genadek: All right. So we're gonna polymeric sand down. Now, you can dump and go, but actually wanna just get it right where I gotta get it so that I can sweep it into the joint spaces. It's easier to add a little bit more than it is to subtract. A wise man once taught me that.

Stan Genadek: One of the things to keep in mind, guys: You can't water this or sprinkle this like this. All of this extra polymeric sand's gotta come off the face of the tiles before you water it. Because it will stick like glue.

Stan Genadek: All right you guys. Phil's actually getting all of the polymeric sand set to the exact right height. He's actually kind of picky about that. Phil, you wanna tell us what we should be looking for with this.

Phil Sarros: Well, you know, in my opinion, there's two ways to put polymeric sand in: You can dump it on here and you can rush and you can rush and brush is the method that we refer to. You can take just a little bit of extra time. When I say, "Extra time," I'm talking maybe 10 minutes, just to get it set right because it's so much easier to do it right the first time. Mist it in. Yes, you can add sand after you've misted it, but it's a little bit more of a pain. You've gotta wait til everything dries again. So if you take a few extra minutes now in this step, it's gonna go a lot faster later and actually save you some time. So, we just wanna get these joints just filled up enough. Not too much. Not too little. 

Stan Genadek: All right guys. So we've swept the joints, now we've gotta actually blow them. One of the things to think about is you don't wanna blow the sand out. You just took the time to get everything set. So you're not gonna blow directly on the joint, you're just gonna let the blower idea and blow the center of the tile and kind of waft the sand away.

Stan Genadek: What we're trying to do with this process is get all the excess sand off from the top of the tile before we water it. The reason that's important is cause once you activate or set the water on this polymeric sand, it sticks. A big no-no is putting your blower in and going to town like that.

Stan Genadek: All right, before we can actually activate it, I wanna get all of the excess sand off. I've got some here I wanna sweep up. And this I wanna get cleaned off. This is the point where you get really particular before you put that water in place. Cause once you do it, then the only way to get the excess off, instead of using a blower, is to gently scrape it off or to brush it off. This is much easier to do it now than later.

Stan Genadek: So when it comes to misting, you don't wanna over-saturate it and you don't wanna blow it out of the water either. A light mist is critical. You wanna go over it to activate the sand. Cause we're using a smaller tile, a smaller diameter tile, three, four passes per tile's fine. If we were using a thicker tile, you may go five, six passes per tile. If you actually over water it you can create kind of a funky haze on your tile. So, in this case, just less is more.

Stan Genadek: We've got it done once. Gonna make sure I get all of my areas. Call is good.

Stan Genadek: All right guys. We've wrapped up our stone deck and I learned a ton on this project. And one of the things that I really loved is the options it now gives deck builder to bring to their customers. Their customer's not stuck with a wood surface. They can now have porcelain, stone, pavers. A variety of different hard surfaces that were only available if you were a hardscaping contractor and you were going to be importing fill soil and compacting dirt and having all the problems that go along with that like settlement and erosion. Those were all eliminated. And I think that versatility will give their customer more options and maybe separate you guys from the average deck builder that isn't aware of this. 

Stan Genadek: So I really hope this has helped you guys out. Let me know what you think of it in the comments down below. And God bless you guys and a big thanks goes out to Belgard because if they didn't Phil and I out and teach us how to do this, we could have never brought this to you guys. So, thanks to Belgard for doing this and thanks to you guys for watching all the way to the end. I hope this has helped you guys out. God bless you guys. I hope you guys have an amazing project on you own. Go get 'em.


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