Building Decks by Design

At the end of a tough day there 's nothing like opening up the patio door and strolling out onto the deck to relax and catch the late afternoon sun. The extra space attached to your home instantly becomes the most important spot in the world and it could include a spa tub or any amount of accessories which can gratify your spare time.

The domestic deck, from its humble beginnings as a square, on-the-ground platform supporting a couple of lawn chairs has grown to become the most used part of the home outside the kitchen. And this usage had led to an abundance of accessories geared to outdoor living, furniture and appliances once the domain of the home's interior. Today, there are many options to consider before building a deck.

The Simple Deck

The average American deck is still a square within 4' of the ground level made from simple deck materials like wood because wood deck pricing is still the cheapest. The door is usually situated off the dining room or kitchen and there is a barbecue and a patio table and chairs. Many decks also have a bug zapper or some kind of insect control.

The deck is constructed on a framework of 2” X 10” pressure-treated lumber supported by an attachment to the home where the entryway will be and 4' X 4' posts standing on dedicated deck blocks or on concrete pads. The decking is either screwed or nailed down perpendicular to the joists.

From this easy-to-make design can be added a designer railing system made from pressure-treated wood, cedar or composite materials. Composite decking can be used for greater wear and resistance to mildew and splintering. If the deck has a spa or whirlpool tub then a wood privacy fence can be added. The fence can be bought at home supply stores in already-assembled panels ready to attach to the posts on galvanized-steel hangers.

The Multi-Level Deck

Like the name implies these decks can rise in levels off the ground to the roofline and beyond but they can also be a 4' deck off the main floor of the home which, at the 2' mark, drops onto another level and finally, comes out at ground level. The drop can be either just below the level of the home's main floor or it can be staggered deck to encompass more space.

Grand, multilevel decks can have three or four risers joined by stairs. Each level can have a theme like a jet tub or plant post, or the decking can be bare for a spacious look. Like the simple deck, the decking and railings can be made from a variety of materials and real woods.

Pool Deck

A pool deck has a defined use and that is to provide access to both the pool and pool activities such as swimming, entertaining and sun bathing. There are three basic types of pool decks:

Inground Pool Deck: Instead of a wood or substitute material this deck material is usually made from pavers, tile or concrete. It sheds water quickly, is easy to clean and will not rot. These decks are used around the majority of pools.

Above Ground Pool: This type is usually a wooden structure that brings the users to the level of the pool rim for easy entrance to the water. These pools may have up to a 4' side and sunbathers are separated from the pool revellers. The decks can be wide pathways encircling the pool or large platforms that dwarf the pool and add space for entertaining.

Above-the-Pool Deck: Also a wood product these decks are raised above the pool level so that the bathers step down into the pool. This is a great design, usually in conjunction with a multi-level design, for those who want to include the pool area in with the other parts of home. Privacy and security are achieved because the level can be sectioned off so young children can't get into the area and people cannot look in. The preferred deck woods around a pool are cedar, redwood and composites but textured, powder-coated aluminum is also making inroads.

Garden Deck

A decking system can be built around a garden theme where it becomes a nature stroll around fountains, pools, trees, shrubs and planters. Or this can be just a long platform with indentations so that natural-growing shrubs and flowers can be examined more closely. The Japanese are famous for nature places and wood makes up a lot of the decoration if not structural accessories.

In a multi-level garden deck, pergolas, trellises and gazebos are found on intervals through the area. The wood is also interrupted with stones, pavers or gravel trails that lead the stroller through the garden and back to the main deck area.

Roof Deck

In Victorian times some large homes along the ocean sported a doorway to the roof where a small deck with railings crowned the home. This was called a widow's walk and got it's name from the women who waited for their sailor-husbands to come home. Today, roof decks are popular in almost any style of home from bungalows to large two-story Cape Cod homes. In order to make a lasting deck the roof has to be made of a durable material like metal or some material does not have to be changed in 20 years, like asphalt shingles. The weight of the roof deck also has to be supported by additional trusses designed by an engineer.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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