(BPT) - So, you’ve decided this is the year you’ll add the deck of your dreams to your home. Now that you’re ready to put all hands on deck, it’s time to consider all of your options. The experts at Decks.com offer these tips to get started:
Plan ahead – A typical deck project can take six months (or more) from inspiration to installation. To get things going, put together a timeline and checklist. Helpful how-to articles and resources for planning can be easily found online. Be sure to factor in time for permitting to ensure your deck is built to code standards and is in compliance with local regulations.
Get inspired – There are countless possibilities when it comes to the layout and design of a new deck — from simple, yet refined, ground-level styles to more complex and elaborate multi-level decks. There is no shortage of inspiration to help you determine your likes and dislikes, and even uncover creative ideas you may not have considered. Decks.com, for instance, features hundreds of images and deck plans for every type of housing configuration and setting.
Design your dream – Ultimately, a deck should be designed around how you plan to use it — e.g., relaxing, entertaining, etc. Beyond function, consider views, sun/shade and entrances, and exits from the home and into the yard. All these factors will have an impact on your deck’s size, shape and scale.
Be mindful about materials – It’s important to choose quality materials that will withstand wear and tear. With the price of wood on the rise, many homeowners are opting for high-performing, low-maintenance composite decking. Resistant to fading, staining, scratching and mold, wood-alternative decking never needs to be sanded, stripped or stained, resulting in less hassle and more time for outdoor enjoyment.
Think beyond the boards – Often overlooked, substructure and railing can have tremendous impacts on the performance, appearance and cost of a deck. For optimal structural integrity, be sure to protect wooden joists and beams with waterproof flashing tape. And don’t forget about railing, which adds both safety and style to a deck. Available in a wide array of styles, shapes and materials, deck railing helps to frame and personalize an outdoor space.
Understand costs and value – To ensure your dream remains within reach, keep costs in mind throughout the planning process. Several factors will affect material and labor costs, including the size and shape, along with any extras you may want to incorporate. To help homeowners with budgeting, Decks.com offers handy calculators that estimate material needs and costs based on input regarding size, substructure and products being considered.
Account for add-ons – When planning your deck, have fun exploring the many options that are available for customizing your design. You’ll need to decide early on if you want to incorporate integrated features like built-in benches, planter boxes and storage. You’ll also want to budget accordingly for extras such as a pergola, fire pit or lighting, which can add comfort, character and convenience to your outdoor retreat.