Outdoor decks are considered essential for entertaining and just relaxing by yourself. Before you build or reconstruct your deck, there are several good questions you should ask:
First, how will you use your deck most often? Will you entertain or do you want a nice place for the family to relax quietly?
Second, do you want to add a hot tub, for example, or other features to expand how the deck can be used?
Third, do you know what types of furniture will you use on the deck? Here you want to consider:
♦ The size and type of furniture
♦ The size of the grill you may want to use
♦ Fountains, plants, or other ornaments
You will need to calculate the height and size of your deck. Smaller decks (two feet or less) typically do not require a railing, but those over two feet tall require rails for safety purposes. What will be the height of your deck?
Other questions to ask include:
Do you want a bump out for grills or other reasons? Do you need stairways or ramps? How many and what length are they? What about a deck that has multiple levels? How about built-in lighting?
There are many designs that you can consider when designing your deck. 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.) constructed 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). Remember that adding custom accessories increases the cost of your deck. Excavating, landscaping, or siding removal will all contribute to the total cost. The real issue often becomes the look the homeowner wants along with the ongoing maintenance.
Investing in an outdoor deck will add to the value of your home, but you may also want to think about how long you may own your home before you determine what materials you want to use. Some materials are easier to care for and last longer. For example, the average life of a treated wood stain deck is between 15 and 20 years, but requires re-staining every two years; using cedar stain is about the same; and decks made out of composite materials are cleaned as needed and may last between 20 and 25 years.
Decks are a great way to get more enjoyment out of your home. If designed and constructed properly, you convert the deck into a sunroom. The best way to get the most out of your deck is to put thought into it before you build. In this way you will get what you want, enjoy it more and save money.