Building a new custom deck is the perfect way to expand your living space to the outdoors. When designing your deck, be sure to consider how you’ll use the area, how much space you’ll need for furniture, and what level of upkeep you can manage. Your lifestyle and maintenance preferences can help determine the best layout, features and materials for your deck. A pro can help you design a deck that complements the style and scale of your home, provides enough space to move around comfortably, and meets your budget.
Materials and Features
The supporting structure of a deck is commonly built with pressure treated lumber, which provides reliable performance in outdoor environments. Deck surfaces, stairs and railings may also be made from this budget-friendly, low-maintenance material.
To take your project up a notch from enjoyable to elegant, upgrade to natural wood or composite decking materials. Rich and beautiful redwood is an exceptionally durable material, standing up to years of exposure with minimal protection. Similarly, cedar is naturally resistant to rot, lasting longer and often requiring less care than other softwoods. For a virtually maintenance-free option, vinyl and composite materials help keep your deck looking fresh indefinitely.
To customize your deck and create an ideal space, consider adding a custom railing system, built-in seating, storage or planters, or a screened enclosure, pergola or patio cover. A local pro can help you choose the perfect material and finish options to create a beautiful deck that provides an incredible outdoor space and stands up to the elements.
For some projects, the cost per square foot goes down as the scale of the job goes up, but when it comes to a structural job like building a deck, expenses may increase all around. A more substantial foundation, larger beams and additional posts needed to support a bigger structure can price the job in a higher bracket. Careful planning with your pro will help ensure you get a deck that provides the space and features you need at a price that fits your budget.
Deck construction requires careful planning to ensure structural integrity and safety. In addition, many cities require a permit for deck building. An experienced pro can ensure your deck’s foundation is solid, its structure is sound, and that stairs and deck railings are secure. When you hire a pro, you can rest assured they will have the knowledge and equipment to build a deck that is beautiful, functional and safe.
The framing or support system of a deck is typically built with pressure treated lumber, which is more economical and less vulnerable to rot and insect damage than many natural wood options. When it comes to decking, stairs and railings, a variety of materials can be used, including pressure treated wood. Upgrading to certain wood species, such as redwood, cedar and ipe, can provide natural beauty as well as weather and pest resistance. For low maintenance deck options, solid vinyl and composite decking, made with recycled plastic and wood fibers, provide a durable and lasting surface.
Your deck should be sized to comfortably fit your furniture and allow for foot traffic, without being large enough to detract from the design of your house or yard. Consider how you intend to use the area and how much space you’ll need to enjoy it comfortably. Also, keep in mind that local codes or HOA rules may limit the size of decks. Pros often recommend allowing two feet of space to walk around furniture without exceeding 20% of the square footage of your home, or the size of the largest room. Careful planning can help you avoid building a huge deck that is out of scale with the rest of your home, or one that is too small for your family’s needs.
Proper maintenance is key to the longevity of your new deck. With good care and prompt repair of any damage, most decks can last 20 years or more. The materials you choose for your deck and its level of exposure to the elements can affect how long the structure and surface will last.