Nothing is better than sitting out on your deck with family and friends on a summer’s day or evening and enjoying the great outdoors. Advances in today’s materials enable you to build your deck out of wood or no-hassle easy to take care of products. You can design the deck any way you like – big or small, one level or multiple, plain or fancy. Not only does a deck provide you with livable outdoor space, it adds value to your home.
Get Your Questions Answered
Before building a deck, it is important to ask the following questions:
- How do you expect to use your deck most often? Will you entertain or do you want a nice place for the family to relax quietly?
- Do you want to add a hot tub or other features to provide a number of uses? What about a grill? A fountain?
- What types of furniture will you use? Chairs, couches, an umbrella table, etc.? When thinking about deck furniture, consider the size and type of furniture.
- What will be the height of your deck? Remember that decks that are two feet off the ground or less do not require a rail. Decks over two feet high require rails to prevent people and pets from falling off the deck.
- Do you need stairways or ramps? Do you want multiple levels? How many and what length are they?
- Do you want to install benches?
- Do you want to have planters?
- Do you want to change the landscaping?
- Do you want decorative accessories such as post caps or contoured handrails and spindles?
- Do you want built-in lighting?
There are a number of different ideas to consider, individually and in combination, that can change the look and function of your deck and those decisions can impact the cost of your deck as well. For example, a standard 14′ x 16′ deck with no frills (no stain, no stairs, two feet from the ground, no stone or weed fabric, no planters or lighting, etc.) built with treated lumber would start around $4,000, cedar $5,200 (30% more than treated lumber) and composite $7,200 (80% more than treated lumber). What usually happens, however, is that the material costs become a lower percentage of the total project cost because custom accessories and other issues in the building process (such as excavating, landscaping or siding removal) contribute heavily to the total cost. The real issue often becomes the design the homeowner wants and the ongoing maintenance required to keep the deck in top shape
Material Maintenance Average Life Expectancy
Treated Wood Stain……..every 2 years……15-20 years
Cedar Stain………………..every 2 years……15-20 years
Composite Wash………….when needed…….20-25 Years
The Enjoyable Deck
Decks are a great way to get more enjoyment out of your home. And, down the road, if you decide you would like a sunroom, you already have a head start on its construction as many people will enclose both the top portion of a deck and the bottom portion, too, of the deck is built high enough off the ground. The best way to get the most out of your deck is to is to put thought into it before you build. You’ll get what you want, enjoy it more and save money.