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One of the best additions to any home or back yard is a deck. Not only does it add beauty and functionality, a deck also adds value to your home. But there is a lot to think of when preparing to build a deck. A poorly built deck can be a disaster.

The following are 6 things to consider before you build your deck.

Deck Building Basics1. Purpose: First you need to decide what the primary purpose of your deck is going to be. For entertaining guests you’ll need to consider how many guests you normally entertain and therefore want the deck to hold, because that will determine its size. If it’s going to be a play area for small children then safety is a primary concern. Whatever your intended purpose, you need to fully consider it before starting to build.

2. Deck Plan: Your deck plan will need to be determined and will be a combination of style and purpose. The purpose will determine, as already said, the size but it will also be determined by your sense of style and what works best with the house. The deck plan doesn’t need to be drawn by a professional but will serve as a guide for your project so will need to have enough details for you to work from.

Deck Building Basics3. Decking Material: You will also need to decide what type of decking material you plan to use. If wood is your choice, redwood, cedar and pressure treated pine are all popular because they resist rot and decay. PT wood will be the least expensive material to use and will last the longest but is not as nice and smooth a wood. The cost of Redwood and Cedar is about the same depending on where you live, but it is a fair amount more than PT. I do not recommend other types of wood for decks though composite decking materials are an alternative choice that has been engineered to avoid the problems of traditional wood (cracking and rotting). Vinyl is another great alternative choice instead of wood though both vinyl and composite material decks come at a premium cost, but they last many years longer then wood.

4. Location: The next thing to consider is the location. Though this may be an easy decision as access to your deck is essential therefore it often is accessed from the rear door. Alternatively you could also plan to add a patio door to a different room in your house and access the deck from it. Your backyard landscaping may also determine where you think you should place your deck and often will influence its design.

Deck Building Basics5. Extras: The final thing to consider in the design is what extras you might want build into or onto your deck. You might want to add a decorative style handrail or flower boxes, or perhaps built-in seating for your guests, or an overhead sunscreen. Whatever extras you choose will help you to personalize your deck.

6. Professional Help: Decking is a pretty big project to undertake if you are only a weekend handyman, especially if you have little construction experience, because a poorly built deck is very dangerous. I am not wanting to scare you as I believe you can do it if you take your time and get help from professionals or have good plans drawn for the structural parts. Be honest with yourself if you cannot handle the project, it needs to be in the hands of a professional.

Although building an outside deck can be a huge undertaking, it is a great place for many activities like sunbathing, barbecues with friends, a safe place for the children to play, or to incorporate a relaxing hot tub just to name a few. It also works extremely well in combination with a patio like we talked about last time.

Next time I will get into the actual ‘how to’s of building a backyard deck.

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3 Responses to “Backyard Deck Building Basics”

Hey, great post, really well written. You should post more about this.

Good information I am looking forward to the next one on how to buid a deck as that is what I need to know.

You are good at helping people think through things not just with the how to’s