Summer is just around the corner and soon enough our dreams of spending our spare time lounging outside will become a reality. Outdoor decks are truly the best way to bring your living space outdoors and are the perfect addition to any home, big or small. Although it may not seem like it, a lot of planning goes into building a deck. Here are a few things to consider before you start your project.
Look Into Laws and Regulations
Before you start the project, look into the building codes and regulations in your local community in order to get an idea of whether or not you need to get a permit for your deck. Every locality has slightly different rules but according to the Toronto Star, if your deck is around 10×10 and over 2 feet above the ground it is sitting on then a permit is generally required. Not only do you want to ensure that your new deck is safe for you and your family, but a permit is necessary if you are looking to sell your home in the future as an inspector will be able to tell whether or not you have one.
Determine Its Purpose
Before you start on the construction of your outdoor deck, attempt to determine the purpose of it. Is it to entertain? To relax? To garden? To surround your pool/hot tub? By considering all of these options and narrowing it down, you will have a better idea of what materials you should use, where the deck should be placed, as well as the size and shape of the deck.
Decide on Materials
Although many people tend to stick to the traditional material of wood, there are so many other options out there for every budget and style. Be sure to first consider your budget and purpose for your deck, and then with that, decide what material you want to use.
If you are interested in sticking with wood, the most common four types of wood include Ipe, Mahogany, Redwood and Western Red Cedar.
Ipe is not only beautiful, but it is pretty much both weather and bug resistant, meaning that it will need minimal maintenance and upkeep.
Similarly to Ipe, Mahogany is sourced from the rainforests and is a solid option as it will not succumb to harsh weather and rot, and it will also not attract bugs.
Redwood is a relatively soft form of wood compared to the previous two mentioned and can change in colour to gray or black over time and with the exposure of rain. Despite its change in colour, it is another good option for decks as it does not rot.
Finally, Western Red Cedar, a softer type of wood that changes colour over time from a reddy colour to a grey colour. It holds up very well to any type of weather, hot or cold, wet or dry.
If you are looking to do something a little different and want to avoid wood, other popular materials include composite materials (a lot are made to look like wood) or deck tiles.
Whichever materials you choose, make sure to properly maintain your deck to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
Location, Location, Location
The purpose of your deck has a lot to do with its location. If you are wanting to use it for gardening or sun tanning, maximum sunlight is important, so attempt to build your deck in a spot that will allow that. If you are lucky enough to have a scenic view, take advantage of it and build your deck in a location that will allow you to take it all in.
Many people tend to build their decks off of their back door due to convenience and also as a way to seamlessly extend one’s indoor living space into the outdoors.
Freestanding decks placed away from the home are also a popular option especially when they are built for the purpose of surrounding a backyard pool or hot tub.
Settle on a Design
Once all of these other details have been considered and decided on it is time to focus in on a particular design. The furniture that you are planning on putting on your deck, as well as any other sort of extras (fire pit, tables, outdoor kitchen, pergola, planters, privacy screens, bar, etc.), should be determined and their location on the deck plotted in order to know how much space you need.
If your deck is elevated, railings must be added for security and they should not be overlooked as they can add a particular aesthetic to the space. Depending on the look you are going for, the 6 most popular materials used for deck railings are wood, aluminium, steel, rope, glass and cable.
Are you looking to build an outdoor deck this season for your home? Whether you’re replacing, repairing or building your home’s very first deck, click here to read reviews and find the best contractor in your area for the job.
Featured image courtesy of Sunset