Triple-Decker Homes in Boston
CertaPro Painters® of the South Shore and Boston
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Triple-deckers are a Boston Architectural Staple
Triple deckers are a staple of Boston neighborhoods like Somerville, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, Cambridge, Allston, Brighton, East Boston, Southie, and Dorchester, amongst others.
The appeal of a Triple Decker is real – the 3-unit structures with usually one door that leads to all three levels allow landlords and owners to rent the units while sometimes living in one unit themselves. Some early triple-deckers have more than one apartment per floor. Most have extended front and back porches or decks that allow the residents to experience the outdoors easily. The windows on all four sides of the Triple Decker is a defining characteristic of Boston-area triple-deckers. The decks’ outdoor space and the fresh air from open windows allowed early residents of triple-deckers to experience the same outdoors their suburban neighbors had.
History of the Triple-Decker Home
Builders in the early 1900s constructed most triple-deckers with wood frames and flat roofs to erect them quickly and inexpensively. This means sprinklers and hard-wired fire suppressant systems are a must or Triple-Deckers. It also means that our carpenters are kept busy replacing wood-rot on boards that have worn out over the years. One hundred years later, the steel posts that builders used may not be structurally sound enough to hold all three decks’ weight. It would be best if you inspected the footings to make sure they’re beneath the frost line, and that the spacing of the joists are up to code.
A few ways we’ve added Curb Appeal to Triple-Decker Homes in the Boston area:
- Our carpenters have added craftsman-era embellishments to awkward-looking corners and protrusions.
- Our woodworkers have added wide window trim to windows with thin or no molding – a small detail that inexpensively adds a lot of charm.
- Our Free Color Consultant can help you choose bolder color(s) that allow your triple-decker to stand out from your “plain white” neighbors. Choosing the right colors costs nothing, and adds charm, enhances your Triple Decker’s structural detail, and helps break up the structure’s vertical plainness.
- Gray and cream clapboards with contrasting trim can help your Triple Decker stand out from your neighbors. Adding some dark paint around windows also adds structural interest and curb appeal.
- Our carpenters can replace your rotted wood clapboards with vinyl or fiber-cement boards such as Hardie and Certainteed, allowing for a maintenance-free exterior.
- If the underlying structure of your deck’s porches or decks is up to code and sound, replacing your deck and porch railings with ones is an opportunity to add some panache to otherwise bland vertical railings. Most of the time, we can use composite railing and trim materials that don’t rot and require little to no future maintenance.
- Replacing rotted wood deck and porch boards with composite boards like Azek and Timbertech can give a wood-look without the annual staining and maintenance required by wood on deck and porch tops.
Accent colors painted on this Triple-Decker
A few strategic strokes of paint make this Triple Decker stand out!
Frequent Lead Paint Issues
Lead Paint – A Common Problem for Triple Deckers
Because Triple Deckers in the Boston area were built up until the 1930s, many contain lead paint. Since we are a lead-certified painting renovator, we are often brought in to paint Triple Deckers containing lead paint in a safe and more healthful manner.
High Buildings, Small Spaces
To efficiently paint and work in between triple-deckers, we use pump jacking, staging, and lifts. Using this equipment allows us to work more efficiently than using ladders alone, and can reduce the price of the labor for painting.
Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Billing
If your Triple-Decker is also an HOA, we’re happy to work with you to bill each resident for their portion of the project. We can also work with your HOA to develop a maintenance schedule so you have a budget for future years’ maintenance and know what to expect.