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Building a deck will open up your backyard and create the ideal space for patio parties and fun in the sun. But before you begin to imagine that new outdoor living space, there are a few things to consider. Building a deck can be an extensive project and should be well thought out and planned, resulting in an area you can truly relax in.
Before the hammer hits the nail, think about:
1) Local Building Codes Rule
Start by knowing the specifications allowed by your local building codes. This often includes support posts, beam and joist sizes and railing styles. You may also be limited to where the stairs can be located and how large they can be built. Following the codes will ensure your deck is safe.
2) Materials Make a Difference
You have a few different materials to choose from when it comes to your deck boards and railing. While many people opt for treated wood, you could build a beautiful cedar deck, look forward to a sleek composite decking or even opt for vinyl. Investigate them all before making a decision.
3) Get It Off the Ground
Are you looking at a ground level deck or will it be a few steps up? A walkout deck provides plenty of opportunity for unique designs, but also presents a few unique challenges. Figure out the exact height off the ground, because that figure will be an integral part of the design.
4) Piers or Posts?
Deck contractors even debate this question, so homeowners are sure to be wondering — should you use deck piers or sink the wood posts directly into the ground? Each method has benefits and building codes may dictate the rules in your area, but otherwise you'll need to decide which works for you.
5) How Big is Too Big?
The easiest way to decide the size of your deck is by actually marking out the space on your grass. With a hose, a string line or marking paint lay out the outline of your deck to get a genuine feel for it. Walk around on the proposed surface and try a few different sizes to help decide what works.
6) The Shape of Things
Adding different shapes to your deck can create visual interest, depth and ease traffic flow. Try a raised octagon platform in one corner, an arched edge along the side or a diamond pattern within the deck board. Be creative and don't be afraid to mix shapes into the design.
7) The DIY Option
While it is entirely possible to build your own deck, DIY may not be the best option in certain circumstances. Those walkout decks can be very dangerous for an amateur handyman and decks with distinct features are usually far beyond what the average skilled DIY enthusiast can handle.
8) Over Your Head
How will you incorporate shade into your deck structure? By building a shady spot into the deck you will create a more usable space and eliminate the need for fussy furniture that only offers spotty protection from the sun.
9) Added Features
Make plans now for the features you may want to add to your deck later. Things such as a hot tub, above ground swimming pool and outdoor kitchen will all need additional framing and structural support. Get it right the first time by considering these future add ins.
10) Invest For a Personal Return
Remember that your deck will become an outdoor room, providing more space for your family to play and enjoy life. Don't be afraid to invest in your deck as a part of your home. When you choose quality materials, an experienced contractor and a well thought out design, you can count on a personal return on investment.