Decks add living space and value to your Southshore home. Before building a deck (or hiring a contractor), there are dos and don'ts. If you want more eating space, you need a deck large enough for a four-foot table and chairs. Plan your space around lounge chairs and a fire pit if you want to relax.
DIY Deck Plans offers step-by-step instructions on measuring and staking out your space. Lowe's has a video tutorial on initial planning dos and don'ts. This Old House suggests picking the right material for your budget and lifestyle, whether you do it yourself or hire a pro.
Looking for home deck services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
We're there again. Overloaded decks. Deck requests seem to be pouring in (pun intended). Extra work is always welcome, but keeping up can be overwhelming. Create beautiful decks faster to finish as many builds as possible. Faster isn't always better, but it is for high-quality new deck builds. Here are ten dos and don'ts for a successful deck build that will have customers recommending you.
15 Do's and Don'ts for a Deck Build
A deck is perfect for backyard barbecues and intimate dinners under the stars. Even if you're sipping coffee before work, space offers solitude. Here are some dos and don'ts for installing a deck as a DIY project.
Do talk to your customer:
Spend extra time with the homeowner to get an accurate deck description. Before starting, make plans and get approval. Any miscommunication can cause you to start over, putting you behind schedule and frustrating your client. Specify how long the job will take. Customers who "thought" the work would be done early can become anxious. Good communication before and during construction can prevent many issues.
Do Your Homework
As soon as it is feasible to do so, submit applications for any necessary building permits. There is nothing more aggravating than being forced to wait for a permit before beginning a project. It is frustrating for both the customer and the crew because the customer is upset and the crew is frustrated because they have nothing to do but sit and wait.
Do Educate your client.
There are many decking materials available. Redwood, Cedar, and pressure-treated pine are popular decking woods. Cost depends on available lumber. Composite decking is popular. This material is expensive but durable and low-maintenance. It's important to consider the deck's traffic and sun exposure. This helps you and your client choose the best materials.
Don’t forget to use a building calculator to help you estimate materials.
Do not make the mistake that many builders make and underestimate the amount of materials you will need once you have obtained your building permit and begun construction. It is extremely frustrating to have to stop working because you have used up all of the necessary supplies for the job. Utilize a deck calculator of sufficient quality to assist you in determining the quantity of lumber, fasteners, and railings that will be required to finish the project.
Do consider the weather when digging footers:
It's a mistake that a lot of contractors make, and it can be an expensive mistake as well, but it's really an important topic to think about if you're going to be building in an area that has a lot of temperature variation. Because the ground freezes and thaws with the changing of the seasons, it is imperative that the footings for your deck be dug and poured below the frost line. Because of this, they will remain stable throughout the year, and as a result, your deck will be safer and more secure.
Don’t use any boards with warping, mildew or excessive insect holes:
They are susceptible to rotting as well as splitting. It is extremely aggravating to be required to return or exchange imperfect pieces of wood because doing so slows down production; however, it is even more aggravating to be subjected to callbacks.
Don’t skimp on the deck fasteners:
When it comes to the durability of the deck as well as your reputation as a builder, choosing the wrong fasteners to use can make all the difference.
Do take time to plan the location and construction of the stairs.
Keep in mind that you are not confined to using a single flight of stairs at any given time. Your project will be taken to an entirely new level if you instal a set of stairs on each side of a large deck. These stairs will make it easier for people to access the deck. Although it requires more effort, the end result will nett a higher dollar amount.
Don’t forget to check building codes for railings when building a second story or multi-level deck:
It's possible that a partial railing will do the trick, especially if it's a low-grade deck.
Do encourage your customer to enhance their new deck with accents like built-in benches, accent lighting and plant holders:
Even though they might not like the additional cost at first, they will be much happier once it is completed, and they will be more likely to recommend your services because of your expertise.
Do Consider what type of material will work best.
There are many different kinds of lumber available; pick the one that best suits your needs. Cypress, cedar, pressure-treated wood, and wood-plastic composite decking are some of the most frequently used materials for deck construction. Investigate what is offered to ascertain the regularity with which the material must be stained, sealed, and maintained. Compare the prices to get a better idea of which of the available choices is the most cost-effective one.
Do Research what building permits are needed.
A building permit is going to be necessary in most cases for the installation of a deck. Check with the organisation in charge of building inspections in your area to find out which ones are necessary for the materials and methods of construction. You run the risk of receiving a monetary penalty if you construct your deck without first obtaining the required building permits.
Do Include materials for stairs and handrails.
Lumber The actual deck is the most important component of the do-it-yourself project; however, you also need to build stairs and handrails. Components such as galvanised metal hangers, pre-cut stair hangers, treads, risers, and metal stair brackets will be required for their construction. After you have determined what kinds of parts will be required, consult with an expert in lumber to find out how much of it will be required.
Don’t forget your guests’ comforts and needs.
You want to be able to access your deck in a hassle-free and risk-free manner. The height, width, and capacity for bearing weight should all be appropriately accounted for in the design of the structure. Take into consideration the installation of a ramp in order to accommodate any members of your family or circle of friends who experience physical limitations.
Don’t Cut corners on the proper and right amount of bolts.
The failure to use bolts of the required and appropriate size can lead to the collapse of your deck. Two of the most common materials used in the construction of decks are galvanised through a hot-dip process and stainless steel. Talk things over with an expert to make sure you have all of the nuts and bolts you need to finish your project.
Don’t Neglect to include spacers between the wood planks.
The wood may contract and expand over the course of time due to the effects of the environment and general wear and tear. It's possible that this repeated cycle will cause shifts in the lumber. Make sure that there is a gap of at least one eighth of an inch between each of the planks by using spacers. This will help prevent any unwanted movement.
How to Choose the Right Decking Materials
When you know you have to replace your deck, you typically just know. The finishing that was applied to the surface of the decking materials is beginning to show signs of wear. In more severe instances, parts of the boards may completely rot through or break apart as a result of the condition. In the worst possible scenarios, the frame might start to deteriorate, which would eventually lead to dangerous deck collapses.
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The typical cost of repairs can be in the low thousands of dollars, which is something to keep in mind if you find yourself in a position where your existing deck could use some TLC. The price of building an entirely new deck can range anywhere from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the decking materials you choose to use, the size of the deck, and the local labour costs.
Whether you build the deck yourself or hire a professional, the time it takes to finish should be around a week or less on average. This is true whether you build the deck yourself or hire a professional. Deck repair can be completed in as little as a day if the damage is not extensive. However, the schedules of the contractors can be unpredictable.
In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the various decking materials and go over some of the fundamental benefits and drawbacks of each. However, first things first: you need to decide whether or not to replace or repair that deck.
Should you Repair your Deck?
First, check if the frame is corroded. Deck collapse from structural damage. Sometimes corrosion is obvious, like when deck frame rot is visible. If you're not a woodworker, you may need a professional's help. Guardrail and stair connections will be examined.
Decks with structural support but worn boards and railings can be repaired easily. Replace the damaged boards and railings. Some decks just need refinishing.
Newer materials may be heavier. In these cases, the deck needs reinforcements. Additional support costs could rival a new deck.
Older decks built before 2004 often contained the carcinogenic preservative chromate copper arsenate. Professional deck refinishing can seal off the chemical.
Types of Decking Materials
Decking materials are available in a diverse selection on the market today, each of which comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The following is a helpful rundown of the most common kinds of decking materials, with the goal of assisting you in making a decision regarding which one is best for you.
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This is constructed out of natural wood, but it has been chemically treated so that it is resistant to rot, mould, and insects. It is not only inexpensive but also simple to acquire. However, with the passage of time, it may crack, warp, and split. In addition to this, regular maintenance, such as power washing once per year and restaining every few years or so, is required.
People who are concerned about natural living and the environment might want to steer clear of decking materials that have been treated with chemicals. Despite this, it is the least expensive type of material that can be used for decking.
People who wish to steer clear of the chemicals that are used in the treatment of pressure-treated lumber should consider making an investment in natural woods. Redwood and red cedar are two examples of types of wood that have natural resistance to rot and insects due to the presence of oils and tannins in the wood. Tigerwood and ipe are two examples of tropical hardwoods that share resistant properties with other tropical hardwoods.
When searching for these kinds of decking materials, it is important to do your research because not all types of wood are created equal. In addition, natural woods such as redwood need to have an annual power washing and a new stain applied every few years just like pressure-treated lumber does. It is important to do your research because different types of wood have varying upkeep requirements. Prices can vary widely depending on the quality and variety of the wood being purchased.
The composition of this decking material includes both wood fibre and plastic. It is an option that is exceptionally long-lasting and does not warp, rot, or split as easily as natural wood can. It is not necessary to refinish it, but applying paint or stain can give it an updated appearance if you choose to.
Moving away from natural woods can result in a loss of natural texture and colour, which may be unappealing to some individuals. However, the appearance of this material is more synthetic than that of natural woods. Additionally, over time it may develop mould and deteriorate. You can expect prices that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum when compared to those of other decking materials.
PVC and polythene are two of the most common types of material used in the construction of this kind of deck. There is also something known as plastic lumber, which is constructed entirely out of plastic that has been recycled in its entirety. Plastic is more long-lasting than other materials, particularly due to the fact that it does not rot or decay.
Additionally, it has a low weight. However, this style is moving even further away from the natural beauty of hardwood, which may be a negative for those who prefer the aesthetic of the more traditional look. It also has the potential to be slippery and may sag. Prices tend to fall somewhere in the middle of the range, much like composites.
When it comes to long-term use and durability, aluminium is among the best materials for decking. It does not rot, insects are unable to consume it, it is resistant to mould growth, it will not crack or warp, and the finishes on it last for an extremely long time. However, it is the most expensive type of decking material, which is a drawback. And the clinical appearance of a metal deck is something that might not appeal to everyone.
As can be seen, every kind of decking material comes with a specific set of benefits as well as drawbacks. Therefore, the decking material that is best for you will be determined by your financial constraints, your level of comfort with deck maintenance, the requirements of your backyard entertainment, and your aesthetic preference.
Also, keep in mind that if the cost of repairing or upgrading a deck is going to be close to the cost of installing a brand new deck, it might be better to just get a brand new deck that will likely last longer.
FAQs About Building decks
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.
Yes, you can build a deck directly on the ground, but with some conditions. A deck on the ground must be built with ground-contact wood, and the substructure needs to be adapted for minimal height. Even though technically a ground level deck is elevated up to 24”, here we will discuss decks built less than 8” high.
Large decks that are attached to the house should always have footings because they act to spread the heavy load of the deck from the surface of a support post over a large surface of the soil so the ground can adequately support it.
Starting with your perimeter, mark the location of each deck post to locate the fitting position. In general, posts should be spaced no more than 8 feet apart. Some builders position them every 4 feet for a completely rigid frame. The maximum distance between footings is determined by the size of your joist material.
Deck posts must be a minimum of 4×4 according to the IRC but many jurisdictions require a 6×6 post as a standard. To avoid code violations, many deck builders choose the 6×6 even if the 4×4 is acceptable.