A deck is an outdoor area; an elevated structure usually made of wooden planks. You build it in pursuit of expanding your living spaces to include the outdoors. Extending your home will increase the property’s value for sure, but that’s not what we’re going to talk about in this blog.
We’ll teach you how to build a deck that you’ll enjoy.
We’ll help you convert a previously unused space into a functional area.
You’ll be hosting dinners and parties in no time!
Below are a few considerations that will help you build the deck that best fits your lifestyle:
Determining the size of your deck
Know the main function of your deck so you can adjust its size to fit your lifestyle. All decks require regular maintenance. Building something bigger than what you need means you’re going to spend more money preserving a space you still don’t use.
The space under your deck is a concern too. Talk to an architect or building designer about the possibilities of creating storage or room underneath the structure. What you want to do here will determine how high the elevation and how big the deck above will be.
Think about the structural implications of your plans. The more massive your deck is, the greater the structural requirements. To keep your deck stable, your architect, engineer, or contractor must size the beams*, joists*, and pier footings* correctly.
- *joists: structural lumber that supports the decking and runs from beam to beam or house to beam
- *beams: larger lengths of wood or steel that support the joists
- *pier footing: the concrete that supports the deck posts.
Oversizing your deck means using more decking materials and paying more for labour. Before you plan anything, consult your designer. It’s the best way to build a functional deck that won’t blow your finances.
Accessing the deck
Make your deck accessible and you will love spending time in there. Consider huge sliding, bifold, or stacking doors if you want a seamless indoor-outdoor area. Don’t forget the screen panels to keep the bugs out of the house.
If you have an overhead deck, think about building stairs that connect it to the yard. It’s convenient, but it can give thieves and intruders access to your second floor. Heighten your home security if necessary.
Finding the best deck material
Not all timber species perform well as decking material. Use the varieties that have a natural resistance to the elements. Hardwoods are good, but they can be too expensive. Consider pressure-treated decks as an alternative. These are softwoods chemically treated to be weather resistant. Of course, don’t miss the periodic staining and sealing of the wood. Regular maintenance can prolong the life of your deck.
As of 2018, homeowners find composite decking more convenient than timber decking. It doesn’t require periodic sanding and sealing, but it’s not completely maintenance-free. You still need to clean it thoroughly to avoid mould and mildew.
Ensuring your safety
You won’t need railings if your deck is at ground level. If yours is elevated, you will need it to keep everyone on the deck safe. Match your railings with your deck. If possible, use the same timber species or composite materials. Glass panels, stainless steel cables, and metal railings are also popular choices for homeowners.
Whichever type of railing you choose, make sure it is secured to the structure below. Use steel brackets to bolt the railing posts to the deck joists together. That’s strong enough to keep everyone on the deck.