Building a deck is an easy way to create usable, comfortable outdoor living space for your family. For dining and cooking in the fresh air, sunbathing on the lounger or resting in the shade of an awning, a deck project delivers enormous value and enjoyment nearly all year round.
With a patio fire pit you can spend time on the deck long into autumn. Or brush snow off of the deck to uncover the perfect place to sit and watch the spring blooms sprout. And of course, summer just isn't the same without hours and hours of warm weather fun on a backyard deck.
But building a deck the right way can be challenging. Ensure that your design, material choice and construction process will provide the best bang for your buck by considering these four essential elements of an optimum deck project.
1) Traffic Flow
Always think about your deck as an extension of your home. How will you move onto the patio and where does it direct you into the backyard? Design your deck with stairs and railings that feel natural and don't block a favorite view or pathway. Consider splitting your deck into different levels to create mini-rooms on the patio, but always be sure that each level is a decent size to keep it usable.
2) Maintenance Level
Composite and vinyl deck products are very popular right now — and for good reason. If you could enjoy your deck without the need to stain or protect the surface from rot wouldn't you? Composite deck products deliver that option, although they can cost twice as much as common treated lumber or more.
Cedar has natural properties to resist rot and termites, but will weather to a grey patina over time unless it is stained regularly. Treated lumber has been chemically altered to resist rotting and pest damage and can be stained or left alone, depending on the look you want.
Whichever decking material you choose, be sure that it matches up with the look you're after and the maintenance you are willing to invest.
3) Sit in the Shade
Although basking in the sun is part of relaxing on the deck, you will need to provide a shady area as well. Consider whether you can install a roof overhead, even on a portion of the deck. Or look at retractable awnings and shade sails for a cloth alternative that can add color as well as shade.
Gazebos can be easily incorporated into a deck and serve as the dining area or simply a private nook for resting. Cover the walls with screening or windows and add a door to create a bug-proof area on your deck for even more enjoyment.
4) Building Codes Matter
Although it may seem inconvenient, applying for a building permit when building a deck is very important. This process will ensure that the construction of your deck follows the local building codes (usually provincial codes) which are in place to protect you and your family.
The issue of whether a building permit was attained or not can come up when you are selling your home or obtaining house insurance, so be safe and start your deck project on the right foot. It is generally inexpensive to apply for a permit and your deck contractor should be able to supply the relevant paperwork and information.
Design and build your dream deck by considering these elements of the project carefully. You will be much happier with the design and end up with a deck that suits your lifestyle and provides a healthy, safe outdoor living space for the entire family.