Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips for Building an Outdoor Deck

An outdoor deck is one of the most popular home improvement projects. Whether you want to do it yourself or use the services of a qualified contractor to build it, an outdoor deck can add beauty, additional outdoor living space, and value to your home. As with any other home improvement project, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration so that you can ensure that your outdoor deck system is successful.

Size – The size of your deck should be taken into consideration for several reasons. First, you’ll need to accommodate your outdoor area and building a deck that is either to big or too small is a decision that you can’t take back. Second, you can save a lot of money if you plan your deck dimensions around standard board lengths. This will reduce the number of cuts and the amount of waste.


Location – You may automatically think that your deck should come off the back of the house, although this may not always be the best idea. Consider such factors as privacy and sun exposure when considering the placement of your outdoor deck.
Choosing a spot that receives both shade and sun at different times of the day gives you the best of both worlds: a time to soak up the rays and a time to relax in the shade.

Consider privacy when mapping out the location of your outdoor deck. Is it in direct view of your neighbors or the street? If positioning your deck in a private spot is not possible, consider a privacy fence, privacy hedge or shade trees to block prying eyes.


Home’s Exterior – Take into consideration your home’s exterior when designing your deck. It should compliment your home’s style, size and exterior color. For example, a Victorian home may have a deck with ornamental columns and turned balusters to compliment the architectural details of the home.


Existing Landscape – Consider your existing landscape when designing your deck. Don’t view landscape or terrain features as negatives when planning your deck design. Instead, view them as opportunities to create an interesting deck plan. For example, you can create framing around a large shade tree or boulder and simply integrate it into your deck design. A hill can also work into your deck design, as you can simply create a multi-level deck design to accommodate the slope in the terrain.


Local Codes – Regardless of whether you hire a contractor to build your deck or whether you do it yourself, you’ll want to check local codes and ordinances regarding outdoor deck structures. This can save you a considerable amount of time, money and frustration. For example, some municipalities require the use of stainless steel or galvanized screws; if you use any other type of screw, the local inspector will surely make you switch them, which will cost you a considerable amount of time and money.


Deck Protection – Don’t stop with just the installation of your deck. Protect your investment by cleaning it regularly and applying a deck coating system at least once a year.





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