Nothing improves your ability to spend enjoyable time outside like a deck. If planned appropriately, it can be like adding an extra room to your home! With the continuing innovations and improvements to decking materials, decks can require less maintenance and last even longer than they have in the past. Here are some important questions to ask yourself when planning your deck.
1. Where will my deck be? When planning your project, it’s important to think about how your house relates to your lot. Keep in mind which exits you plan on using to get to the deck and which areas of your lot get the most sun and wind at different times of the day. It’s also important to decide if you want a ground level or a raised deck.
2. How do I expect to use this deck and what kind of layout does that require? A deck for eating requires a different layout and materials than one intended as access to a pool. Do you want built in pieces or do you want to build your deck around some ot the trees in your yard. It’s important to think about what furniture will sit on it and if it will become the main path to your yard. If it will become the main exit for pets and/or children it’s also important to think about their safety and how they will use it.
3. How much maintenance do I want to put into my deck? A concrete poured or stamped slab requires significantly less maintenance than a wood deck, but it does require some cleaning, sealing and maintenance. Standard, untreated lumber is not as expensive as some decking material but it will not last very long, even with some sort of sealant applied to it. Treated lumber comes with it’s own set of issues, but will last longer and will require some maintenance. There are some more naturally resilient woods that work well, but they again are more expensive and still require maintenance. There are also composite wood/plastic decking materials available that are very resilient, mold resistant and require little maintenance. They create a very sturdy deck, but again are more costly and different products have different strengths and weaknesses.
4. How much protection do I want to have from weather, bugs, neighbors or sun? Adding a covered or screened porch, a pergola or a half wall to your deck may be helpful if any of these are issues in your yard. Even if you don’t add them immediately when building your deck, you can save yourself money by making sure your footings are sufficient to handle the extra weight for your anticipated improvements to your deck.
5. What kinds of permits, setbacks or engineering reports are required in my area? This is probably the biggest issue with building a deck. In an effort to make sure that people are safe, building codes for decks are changing in Indiana and elsewhere in the United States. Please make sure to check with your local building commission and homeowners’ association about building or make sure your contractor obtains the necessary permits to build your deck.
The deck pictured is one we just completed. If you need help adding a new deck or replacing or changing an existing deck feel free to give us a call or contact us using our Free Consultation form.