Backyard decks are truly the best way to extend your living space to the outdoors. They 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. You need to consider many factors before you make your final decision. If you’re thinking about adding a deck to your home, be sure to read through these seven considerations first.
1. Plan Ahead
If you want to enjoy your deck by summer, it’s best to start planning in spring. This is for two reasons. One, deck installation is a big project that requires time and planning. Two, deck installation is a very popular project and pros will be in high demand. If you’re serious about having a deck, your best option is to get started as soon as possible. Start by getting quotes from multiple companies and talk to them about your vision. They can work with you through the rest of the steps and help you make the best choices for your home. Once you’ve booked in time with a pro, you can start on the rest of the considerations below.
2. 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 typically if your deck is around 10×10 and over 2 feet above the ground it is sitting on, 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 had one. If you have any concerns about this, speak with your deck pro who can ensure your deck is built to code.
3. 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. All of these decisions will greatly impact the overall budget you set as well. Knowing your deck’s purpose will help your pro design something both functional and beautiful for home.
4. Find the Right 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.
If you’re unsure about the best location for your deck, ask your pro for their opinion. They will know how to best maximize space and find the optimal location.
5. Set Your Budget
Once you have figured out the purpose of your deck and its location it’s time to set a budget. Setting a budget will help you narrow down your decisions when it comes to choosing materials and deciding on a design. If you have a rough idea of a budget but aren’t sure what you can do with it, or if you know exactly what you want but don’t know how much it will cost, you can always consult with your pro. They will be able to help guide your decision-making process and help you stay within budget. They may even have some money saving tips you hadn’t considered, such as altering the design or choosing a different material.
6. Decide 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. Don’t worry if you can’t figure this out on your own, your pro will be able to guide the design planning. They will help you think about what 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.). These items 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 your space. Depending on the look you are going for, the most popular materials used for deck railings are wood, aluminum, steel, rope, glass and cable. Each one gives a very different look, so it’s important you chose one that goes with your deck’s design.
7. Pick Your Materials
Although many people tend to stick to the traditional material of wood, there are many other options out there for every budget and style. Ask your deck pro about the options and what will work best for your home. 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.
- 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.
If you’re planning on having a new deck built in time for summer, the sooner you get started, the better. As you now know, there’s much to consider before you can have your deck installed, so start thinking about your location, design, and budget. Be sure to start getting quotes now so you can get started on your new deck as soon as possible!
Cover image courtesy of Pinimg.