A lot of factors play a role in deciding what type of deck to add to your home. The main consideration should be design and functionality, a deck should be proportional to the house and yard, it should blend in or complement the style and architecture of your house, it should be easily accessible from inside and out.
Start by deciding on the function your deck will serve, knowing this will help determine its size, safety measures that need to be implemented and traffic flow.
- Do you host a lot of parties, or will it be for personal use, or both?
- Do you have kids and/or pets?
- Do want a single level or multi-level deck?
- How high will your deck be, will you be encroaching on your neighbours, if so you might consider some sort of privacy screening- latticework, an arbor, pergola or a flex fence.
- Do you want to have tables and chairs, or built in benches and planter boxes or both on multi-level deck?
- How will you access your deck? Do you have a door that leads out to where you want your deck to be, or will you have to create an opening for one.
Decking material there are basically two types of decking material available, wood and composite.
- Wood has always been used as a decking material. There are many different wood species that you can use, depending on your budget and the look you’re after, Like pressure treated lumber- Spruce, Pine or Douglas fir, Red or white cedar or exotic hardwoods like Ipe, Sandeka, Tiger wood, Cumaru to name just a few. If not taken care of the wood decking can rot, dry out, warp, crack and splinter, but with a little maintenance like power washing it every spring and applying a wood sealer can be kept looking new for years to come.
- Composite decking is an engineered product that is a mixture of wood fibers and plastic; made to look like wood. They are more expensive than wood decking and often come with a 20 to 25 year warranty (check the manufactures warranty coverage), and claim to be low maintenance. They do stain easily from oils and grease that is hard to remove and if installed on the north side of the house where the sun will not dry them out will have fungus growth. They also tend to get hot when exposed to full sun.
Railings any deck with a height of 2’ or more will need a railing system as a safety measure.. Once again depending on your budget you could choose from wood, metal or plastic railing systems available, the combinations and choices are endless, do your research
Stair width and style - open, closed or wrap around is another consideration that you should take into account,
Skirting on low level decks can be left open, you could use lattice or close it up using boards around the bottom of the deck leave gaps between the boards for ventilation.
Also consider some kind of shade or covering for those times when it’s too sunny or raining outside, It could be a large umbrella or maybe a retractable awnings, how about a gazebos or maybe a screened-in section for those times when the bug get unbearable.
Depending on the height of your deck, you might consider converting the space below into area for storage, or if your deck is above a walkout basement converting the space below into a usable dry shaded patio spot. The options are endless.
Lighting is more for ascetics, there are many styles, shapes and sizes to choose from 12v wiring to solar
Deck installation do you build it yourself or hire a professional ?
If it’s a DIY projects. Ask yourself these simple questions
- How. Comfortable are you using power tools safely?
- Can you tackle the soil conditions to dig holes for footings, where would you dispose the soil ?
- Time do you have it, can you find it or does it matter
- How knowledgeable are you in with the deck building process, yes you can read a how to or google the information, but most important will it pass inspection should you decide to sell your house in the future.
If the answer is yes, than by all means tackle the project by doing it yourself or enlisingt the help of a friend with experience building decks. Enjoy the experience and have fun, you’ve earned bragging rights as you show of your new deck.
Hiring a professional. read
If you are going to hire a professional to install your deck, find someone who specializes in decks, a deck designer-builder with experience and knowledge about the local building codes and obtaining the proper permits, They will meet with you discuss your deck ideas most often making suggestions, answering any questions or concerns you may have, take measurements and photos of your site. They usually follow up but designing one if not two design as per your initial meeting, using a 3D software programme giving you a pretty good visual representation of what your deck to look like.