Building Tips For Your Deck Project

By Liz Wood

Interested in expanding your living space? If so, you may want to consider building a deck. When done correctly you can create a great transition between your home and your backyard. But you are not limited to just that because decks can be built anywhere in your yard if you please. However, regardless of where you place your deck it is important to build it with the proper planning and design. Below you will find some helpful tips to building a successful deck.

You should begin by choosing your deck type. You have a plethora of options when choosing a new deck. You may choose to have an outdoor patio deck attached to your home or perhaps a multi-level deck that is attached to the family room or kitchen. Common types of decks include above ground pool decks, composite decks, and roof decks. Furthermore, destination decks are another option. Destination decks are detached from your house and generally located in a special place with a view. Often time’s homeowners will have winding paths leading to their destination decks and have connector decks joining the pathways. For most yards, you are only limited to your imagination with the type of deck you build.

Before deciding on your deck design, it is important to consider how you will be using your deck. Will your deck be a place to grill and barbecue, tan and exercise, or a quiet place to sit and read a book? Will you be having lots of deck parties with lots of family and friends? Do you want to include a hot tub on your deck? Will you need privacy? If privacy is an issue then you will need to plan the proper landscaping around your deck. Regardless of how you plan to use your deck, it is essential that you take some time and think through what type of deck design will perform the way you need it to.


The size of your deck is the next important factor. Put careful thought into the size of your yard with relation to the size of your prospective deck. Also, consider how many people will be using your deck regularly. Furthermore, when deciding on the size of your deck, be sure to use two foot increments because lumber is cut to 8′, 10′, 12′, and 16′ lengths. You will save yourself money by making the lengths exact, not to mention the scrap materials that you won’t be bothered with. It’s a good idea to drive 4-foot stakes at the approximate corners, and then tie string between them at about the height of the railings to give you a visual idea.

As far as materials are concerned, you have several options. The most common material is a wood deck, but be prepared to put lots of time into maintaining your wood deck. If you do decide to go with natural wood for your deck, high-end lumber options with quality performance include cedar, redwood, ipe and mahogany. If wood isn’t the route you want to take, other materials include composite decks, aluminum decks, and concrete decks. Trex and TimberTech are common brand names for composite decking.

Lastly, you will need to decide on whether you will be designing and building your deck yourself or hiring a professional. Regardless of who is building it, it is very important to first check with local building code requirements, permits and inspections that may be needed. You will need to contact the local building department to find out whether you’ll be required to have a building permit, and what kind of plans you’ll have to submit. Keep in mind, not every township or county requires a permit. One major advantage to having qualified deck builder work on your project is that they understand the legal side of how to build a deck and can help ensure building code requirements are met.

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