9 Things to Know Before Building a Deck
If you have formidable DIY skills and the right tools, then you may be interested in one of the biggest projects a homeowner can take on: building a deck.
If you’re not so skilled with a hammer, you can still have a beautiful deck installed with the help of an experienced contractor.
A well-built deck can transform your home’s exterior into a comfortable and vibrant living space. But there are certain things to know before building a deck, whether you do it yourself or not. Here are nine things to keep in mind before you get started.
1. Know Your Budget
The average cost of building a deck is about $31 per square meter, but that can vary depending on materials. You can use this price calculator from Decks.com to get a better estimate. Costs aside, there are tons of other factors you have to consider before you construct a deck.
Decks & Docks carries a range of affordable options for materials and can help you brainstorm ideas to stay on top of costs. Just reach out and we can help you learn more about your options.
2. Choose the Right View
Having a good view is key. You want to be able to enjoy seeing nature from your deck, as well as ensuring your view from inside the house isn’t obstructed.
During the design phase, ensure the deck posts don’t jut out in front of the windows and block the view. Instead, ask the contractor to settle for one sturdy steel beam instead of many posts that obstruct the view.
Next, take a lot of time to think about the exact positioning of your deck. You’ll want to be able to take in the gorgeous natural scenery beyond – not get stuck with direct line-of-sight into your neighbor’s side yard.
If you don’t have a lot to look at, you can create a view yourself. Here are easy landscaping ideas to make the view from your deck even more picturesque.
3. Safety First
You need to (1) be safe when building a deck and (2) build a deck that’s safe to use.
If you’re building the deck by yourself, ensure you have all the required safety equipment and take all the necessary precautions before you start building. You’ll likely need gloves, a respiratory mask, eye covering, and earplugs. An experienced contractor will take all required safety measures during construction.
Your deck should follow all the deck code requirements applicable in your state – here’s the Florida code. An unsafely built deck could collapse, which can lead to injuries and expensive damage. If you have questions about building a code-compliant deck, one of our decking experts can help.
4. Hide the Supports
By support, we mean stuff like screw and nail heads. Some people don’t mind screw heads on their deck, but some feel it detracts from their deck’s aesthetics. Fortunately, you can use hidden fasteners.
Hidden fasteners leave your deck with a smooth, clean finish. They work just as well as screws or even better. If you’re not sure what options you have for hiding deck supports, just ask us! We’ll help you figure out a solution that works best for the kind of deck you want.
5. Know Your Materials
A good looking deck starts with the right materials. For decks, that means either classic lumber or composite decking. There are tons of options to suit your tastes and needs.
For lumber, we carry softwoods, like Southern Yellow Pine, and rare, high-quality hardwoods, like Ipe and garapa. With regular maintenance, lumber can last you a lifetime.
Composite materials are great for their durability and minimal maintenance. Plus, they come in tons of different colors and finishes to add personal flair to your deck.
Just make sure to take your time when picking a material – and remember to do your research. Always consider strength, durability, and weather-resistance in addition to price and aesthetics.
6. Furnish with a Purpose
Once your deck is built, you’ll have to decorate and furnish it for it to be a comfortable outdoor living area.
Furniture includes tables and chairs – as well as accessories like accent lighting, plants, and even additional storage spaces. Many people install overhead sheds to add dimensionality to their decks.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s comfortable, useful, and weatherproof. Picking the right furniture can transform your deck from an empty space to an inviting gathering place.
7. Don’t Neglect the Details
Detail is king, so go all out when it comes to sprucing up your deck. After your deck is installed and you’ve set up furniture, you can get flower pots, accent lighting, throw pillows, umbrellas, and sculptures to add a personal touch.
You could also consider having a deck heating option, like a fire pit or a fireplace. You could also have an outside fridge for easy refreshments or a barbecue grill.
Pick a color scheme or just choose whatever you like – the point is to use details to make your deck homier and more personalized.
8. Capitalize on Your Railings
Railing is for safety, but it can also add a bit of flair. We carry everything from classic vinyl railing to sleek, modern composite and stainless steel options.
If your deck doesn’t exceed 36 inches, then you might not need railing strictly for safety. It depends on your personal preferences, but forgoing railing can also save you money. Many homeowners choose railing (especially open-view options, like cable) to tie their deck together and define the space.
9. Try Other Shapes
Yes, you’re not limited to a square or rectangular deck! Try other shapes, like semi-circles, for greater appeal. If you want unique geometric shapes, you’ll likely need to leave the construction work to the professionals.
Typically, the more complicated the shape, the more expensive it will be. But having a uniquely shaped deck is a great way to neatly integrate your deck into the landscaping – or make it stand out even more.
Trust the Professionals When Building a Deck
Building a deck on your own is a hard but rewarding challenge. It’s not a task that’s for everyone, though – and that’s when it’s time to bring in the experts. An experienced contractor can work with you to design and build the beautiful and functional deck of your dreams.
Whatever way you choose to build, just remember to keep these nine things in mind. That way, you’ll have a deck worth your time, money, and hard work.
When you’re ready to get started, contact us today. We’ll get you set up with the tools, materials, and all the help you’ll need to build your deck.
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Dan has worked for Decks and Docks for over twenty-five years. He managed the original Decks and Docks store in St. Pete, which is our largest store. Dan is simply the best all around. He knows more about this company and our products than probably anyone else. Dan currently works in Sales at our corporate office.