Building a deck requires so much more than your basic instructions and photo guidance. Of course having those things will make the project easier and more enjoyable, but first time builders will learn very quickly that there are plenty of things you should know that the directions don’t necessarily provide for you. There deck building tips, tricks and guidelines that many of us have to learn by trial and error.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could skip over the ‘error’ part and erect your deck with a few problems as possible? The things you don’t know about how to build a deck, things that are not included in instructions and blueprints, are the exact things that can cost you time and money.
1. Check Local Regulations
Before you purchase one slab of wood you need to check with your local building or licensing department. Many towns have regulations about building structures on your property, even if it is private property. You will need to make sure you have all necessary paperwork and permits approved before you start building your deck.
Do not think that you can simply build first and ask permission later because it is not unheard of for these officials to require you to disassemble the deck if it was built without a permit. These permits have set guidelines in terms of materials, length or width and even height. If they are not adhered to completely your deck will not be in compliance and will have to be redone.
2. Visualize It
No one wants their backyard looking like a crime scene with tape strewn about, unfortunately it is an essential part of deck building. Don’t just assume that you can eyeball deck measurements and know how it will look when it’s complete; tape it off so you can see exactly how big it will be in your yard. This will help you determine how much furniture and accessories (like grills and tables) your deck will accommodate.
This is a necessary deck building tip because it will tell you if you need to trim hedges or chop down trees to make room for your new deck. All you need are a few stakes and string or tape to cordon off the spot and figure out which deck plan will fit best on your property.
3. Deck Protection
If you have already decided that you want a wooden deck then you should also decide how you want to protect it. It is no secret that the sun can wreak serious havoc on a wooden deck, which is why most deck owners choose paint to prevent the sun from breaking down the deck.
But you may also choose not to paint and just brush on a stain topped with a clear coat of water-based sealant or oil. You will want to put the sealant or oil on top of the paint as well, but if you opt out of painting do not leave the wood completely bare.
4. Minimal Maintenance
Building a deck is an exciting project that will keep you busy for a few weekends, but you don’t want to build a deck that will require constant upkeep and maintenance. We live busy lives that don’t always allow us to lavish attention on things like repainting or re-staining decks, which is why it is so important that you choose deck materials that you can actually maintain.
Today there are options beyond basic wood such as aluminum, PVC and composites. Choosing low maintenance materials will give you the deck you want without sacrificing appearance.
5. Why This Deck
Before you have even chosen where you will build your deck it is important to determine what purpose this deck will serve. Do you simply want a place to lounge and enjoy warm weather or do you want it built for parties and entertaining? This may seem like a lot to consider early in the building process but this is one of those deck building tips that can steer you to the right style and size of deck before the hard work starts.
If you want to entertain on your new deck you should think about built-in seating, lighting and even railings for safety. This will provide proper guidance when choosing deck plans and materials.
The more details you have for your deck, the less trouble you will have finding the deck plans to suit you.