Building a deck takes time and effort, but the benefits are definitely worth it. Putting in a deck is a great way to increase the value of your home and give yourself more living space, as it extends your home out into the garden. While building a deck is not a job for amateurs, it is possible to do it yourself if you have the time and dedication.
Tell yourself the truth about your immediate and long-term plans for your deck. Sometimes it's ideal to start with a smaller deck and plan for expansion in a later phase of building. The issue of cost is perennially pressing. It is advisable to design for an addition to an existing deck rather than a complete rebuild.
Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of decking services Melbourne services.
Entertaining? BBQs? Although a larger deck that can accommodate more guests provides for a more exciting party, it is also more difficult to maintain and may not fit in your yard. No need to buy an outside dining table if you don't have a big family or frequently host parties.
The dimensions of your deck will be determined by the size of your yard and the structure itself. It takes more effort and expertise to grade or instal posts in a yard with a slope. The cost of materials for a raised deck's rails and support framework can easily double that of an on-grade deck (which is just one step above the ground).
The layout and style of your deck might need to change if trees are in the way. Building around a large tree will take more time but will result in a more natural seating area than if you were to remove the tree, which can be costly.
Deck Building Topics For Durable Deck Construction
Deck Permits and setbacks
Before beginning construction on a deck, it is important to ensure that you are in full compliance with all local, state, and federal statutes and regulations. Determine the exact location of your property line to ensure that your construction meets all necessary setback specifications. Depending on how strict the restrictions are in your city or state, you may need a permission, and in order to get one, you may need to show some designs.
So that you don't waste time drawing up drawings and filing for a permit that would be promptly denied, it is important to first learn what the local setback limits and permit requirements are. The first thing you should do is make a call to the town hall or local government office in your area to enquire about any limits or requirements.
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Deck Foundations, our top tips for durability
Knowing what can cause your deck to move can help you design and construct appropriately. If you live in a chilly area, frost heave should be your first priority. As a result, if you happen to reside in a region that has lengthy, cold winters, you should dig your foundation down to a depth of four or five feet. This will keep the ground from freezing and making your post unsafe.
Deck support in concrete with galvanized post support
You can use a shovel to create a large hole, or you can hire a gas-powered or manual posthole digger. Dig down past the frost line to the suggested depth.
If you have any difficulties with the clay, you may have to change your plans. Given that clay expands and contracts in response to changes in moisture, a deck constructed on clay may shift if the weather suddenly shifts from wet to dry.
If you dig down to the bedrock, your deck won't budge. Don't confuse a big rock with the ground beneath it; nevertheless, if it's below the freezing point, it could be useful.
Screw pile foundations for Decks
Without getting too technical, these are just posts that are driven deep enough into the earth and left as the building's foundation. It's quite efficient, but you have to be careful with positioning and make sure everything is even. However, if they are not positioned in the exact square, there is not much room for modification because the top is not as large as that of a Sonotube.
Deck screw piles can be obtained at hardware stores, and many of these products feature a slot that accommodates a 2x4 for use as a fulcrum while spinning the pile. Although these work well, you should usually hire a screw-pile contractor who can utilise equipment to push the piles into the ground if there are many rocks in the area.
Floating Deck Blocks - Advantages & Disadvantages
Even if they shift, this is the safest approach to proceed. Deck blocks are more likely to shift because they rest directly on the ground, although this shouldn't be an issue provided the ground is stable. It may be moved around without damaging the house because it is detached.
To protect against frost heave, we dig down four or five feet in the winter. When placed beneath and all around the deck block, rigid foam insulation boards (foam or stone wool) can help slow the progress of frost heave. The use of 3/4" clean crushed stone will also protect against frost heave; nevertheless, the absence of particles is essential for proper water drainage.
If you have a basement and live in a cold area, you should carefully grade the ground under your deck and the deck itself away from your home.
The Choice for Deck Surfaces
It's true that today's pressure-treated wood is considerably less hazardous than it was in the past, but it's still no match for the safety of untreated wood. The only method to increase the lifespan of decks is to use durability measures on all types of wood.
White wood from tiny mills in Eastern Canada is more reasonably priced than imported red cedar because it lacks the natural anti-rot properties of red cedar. Hemlock (Eastern fir) and Douglas fir will both keep for quite some time if kept dry.
The most widely used untreated natural decking material is cedar, typically 1.25 inches thick. A natural finish will keep it looking good for a while, but staining will make it last even longer and protect it from the sun's ageing effects.
These deck boards are made from recycled plastic and wood scraps, giving the impression of real wood without the maintenance (we say that loosely because you would definitely be able to tell them apart in a police lineup). Those who live in wetter climates and whose decks are slippery due to tree shade or water accumulation may appreciate that they are often profiled to create a non-slip surface.
Decks are the sole suitable application for composite decking. No foundational components were uncovered. It costs more than cedar, but it lasts far longer.
Consequently, you should take certain measures of durability (which we'll get to) to ensure that the underlying structure does not deteriorate while the decking is still in use. Think of using galvanised support beams. After ten years, even coated deck screws will inevitably corrode.
Power washing it every few years will keep it free of stains and mildew. This material is superior to wood when used in damp environments, such as docks and garden sheds.
Although tropical hardwoods like Ipe and Teak have a long lifespan and are much sought after, the demand for them is causing irreparable damage to the world's rain forests, which are essential to all forms of life. Given our abundance of trees, we ask that you please utilise Canadian or American wood. Exotic wood with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal of approval comes from responsibly tended forests.
Ten Tips For Building Better Decks
Here is where we're expecting to draw upon the expertise of every deck designer on the planet. We can improve the quality of our creations by learning from our mistakes and exchanging ideas.
When Building the Deck Frame, Cover your Joists
Wood can be occasionally damp without being a problem as long as it can dry out again. Specifically, you should avoid any areas with standing water. We recommend installing a drip edge over the joists before laying down the decking. If you place a thin metal sheet or an elastomeric membrane over the decking, water won't be able to collect on the joists.
Because of this, water will be able to flow freely around the deck's edges. When making your choice, keep in mind that this fabric and shade may be partially visible between the boards.
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Gaps between Deck Boards are Necessary
The boards need to have gaps between them for two reasons: better drainage and to stop debris from collecting. Water can flow through a hole that is too small, but eventually it will become plugged with dirt and start to hold water. Make sure the openings are big enough that you can sweep the rubbish through them. Getting to a thickness equivalent to a deck screw's head should be good enough.
There are certain contractors who, based on the notion that the boards will shrink over time, instal them closer together for the sake of appearances (tighter joints). While this is sometimes the case, it is not always the case. Wet wood may remain the same size or shrink somewhat when worked with, but dry wood may grow larger when subjected to consistent rainfall.
Don't sink the screws too far into the decking.
Small reservoirs will be built for the water to collect in before it is percolated into the ground. If you want your board to be as watertight as possible, you shouldn't rely on the screw to pull it tight; instead, you should put weight on it if necessary and leave the screws flush with the top surface.
Under-mounted deck fasteners
There's a little more work involved with this one. It appears that many people who choose for this strategy do so because they prefer the sleek appearance that screws give to boards. Water seepage through screw holes is therefore prevented. This is a trickier situation. To do this, a metal bracket is attached to the joist through screws. The next step is to insert a screw into the underside of the board and pull down while simultaneously pulling up on the screw.
It could take longer, but it'll be well worth it in the end. Unless you're using 2x4s or 2x6s for your deck, the boards won't have enough thickness for the screws to properly grip. If you strip the wood when driving the screws in, they won't hold. Don't put yourself in that position.
On Your Deck Structure use Double joists at the joints.
There will always be a teeny tiny gap between any two deck boards that meet. Because of this gap, water can easily seep in between the boards and pool on top of the joists below. One solution is to create a foundation with double joists and empty space between them. Because of the necessity to foresee the locations of the deck's joints in the design process, this method also necessitates a few extra joists; however, it may increase the deck's longevity.
Older decks typically show the first signs of wear at the deck's joints. This is due to a greater potential for water absorption at the cut ends of the wood.
Careful preparation and ordering of decking in the right lengths will reduce waste from cutting, and the use of longer lengths of decking will reduce the need for double joists.
Always use Diamond lath around your Deck to keep out visitors
In order to prevent unwanted wildlife from making your deck their new home, screw diamond lath to the back of the deck joists and bury it. This should dissuade most animals from trying to dig under your deck. In this case, the impact on quality of life is more important than longevity.
Top Tip for Successfully Staining Decks
In the fall or spring, when the weather is typically more stable, you can check the drying period of the stain. Place the recommended drying temperature and time on the can. Check that the temperature won't drop below the ideal range when drying. We've utilised this cleaning, lightening, and staining procedure for refurbishing a deck using recycled timber; check out the video for details.
Choose Your Deck's Wood Grain Carefully
Instead of creating a cup that will retain water, the grain of the wood will ideally resist it if you work with the growth rings pointing up in a convex (rather than concave) direction. The most crucial aspect of extending deck life is draining the water.
As a result, most attempts to complete the task fail. Prevent water, air, and carpenter ants from entering by either constructing a deck that is not attached to the structure at all (using Sonotubes near the wall connection) or by taking the necessary precautions.
After the deck is cut at the joint, a metal drip cap is placed beneath the original weather barrier to direct water away from the rim joist that was previously screwed in. If you want to stop water from seeping below the joist and down the wall, you can use squares of self-sealing elastomeric membrane.
Last but not least in our Top Ten Tips for Deck Construction
Your deck should have a 2 percent moderate slope away from nearby buildings to ensure water flows away and into the proper drain. Decking will conform to whatever slope is established by the underlying structure.
Adding a deck is a fantastic way to improve the look of your home, raise its resale value, and offer yourself some extra room to relax. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can do it yourself. The size of your yard and the deck's physical structure will dictate the deck's exact measurements. Finding out what factors can cause your deck to shift will aid in its design and construction. For those who reside in colder climates, frost heave prevention must take precedence.
Four to five feet of foundation excavation is recommended. Avoid having to abandon your station due to the earth freezing over. As a result of their insecure placement on the floor, deck blocks are more prone to movement. For the winter, we dig down four or five feet to prevent damage from frost heave. Decks can only last longer if all types of wood are treated with durability measures.
If possible, we'd like you to use wood sourced from the United States or Canada. Exotic wood that has been certified as being from FSC-approved forests has been sourced in a responsible manner. Decks need spaces between the boards so water can drain and debris doesn't accumulate. Double up the joists on your deck's framing so that there are no gaps. The seams between deck boards are often the first places to exhibit wear on an older deck.
This is because the freshly sliced ends of a piece of wood have a higher capacity to absorb water. You can't use 1x lumber for a deck since it isn't thick enough for screws. Cutting waste can be minimised by planning ahead and obtaining decking in the correct lengths, and double joists can be used fewer often when larger lengths of decking are employed. To prevent animals from digging under your deck, attach diamond lath to the back of the joists and bury it.
- Tell yourself the truth about your immediate and long-term plans for your deck.
- The dimensions of your deck will be determined by the size of your yard and the structure itself.
- So that you don't waste time drawing up drawings and filing for a permit that would be promptly denied, it is important to first learn what the local setback limits and permit requirements are.
- Dig down past the frost line to the suggested depth.
- Deck blocks are more likely to shift because they rest directly on the ground, although this shouldn't be an issue provided the ground is stable.
- When placed beneath and all around the deck block, rigid foam insulation boards (foam or stone wool) can help slow the progress of frost heave.
- If you have a basement and live in a cold area, you should carefully grade the ground under your deck and the deck itself away from your home.
- The only method to increase the lifespan of decks is to use durability measures on all types of wood.
- If you place a thin metal sheet or an elastomeric membrane over the decking, water won't be able to collect on the joists.
- Because of this, water will be able to flow freely around the deck's edges.
- Don't sink the screws too far into the decking.
- One solution is to create a foundation with double joists and empty space between them.
- Careful preparation and ordering of decking in the right lengths will reduce waste from cutting, and the use of longer lengths of decking will reduce the need for double joists.
- The most crucial aspect of extending deck life is draining the water.
FAQs About Building decks
Building your own deck is a great way of transforming an outdoor area into a space perfect for entertaining. Believe it or not, it is not as hard as it seems – you can even do it yourself. All you need is timber supply, some materials and the right tools for the job.
A layer of crushed gravel, with or without plastic or weed barrier cloth, is the best choice for using under a deck. It sheds moisture instead of absorbing it, keeps the area under the deck drier, and won't decay.
Most decks use 16" on center spacing for joists. Most decking is not strong enough to support wider spans than 16". Some builders reduce joist spacing to 12" on center to strengthen the deck frame or to increase maximum allowable joist spans.
A deck allows you to relax and entertain outside, but without proper drainage, it's possible for water to pool underneath. This can create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, mold and bacteria. If you have water standing under your deck after the rain, choose a drainage system that works for you.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher a deck stands off the ground, the deeper the foundations need to be. All decking materials should ideally be pressure treated to avoid rot. But at the very least, make sure that the posts that will hold up your deck are treated.