So You Want to Build a Deck

by Tony Bissell - Date: 2007-01-08 - Word Count: 560 Share This!

First, let's envision how this new construction could affect your life. Close your eyes and imagine entertaining your friends and family on a brand-new deck. It's a comfortable summer evening with a light breeze. Some of your friends are seated; others are standing, enjoying each other's conversation. Refreshments crowd the table. The barbecue grill is working overtime at the deck's edge to keep up with the requests for burgers. The children are romping on the garden lawn. You and your loved one have now become the envy of every neighbor.

So, where do you begin? If you have the tools and building experience it's a project you may want to take on yourself. Be warned, however, that building a deck is not a weekend project. It will probably take weeks to complete.

If you don't have a background in construction or contracting of some sort, consider hiring someone who does -- a deck designer, architect or independent contractor. Before construction gets under way, be aware that there may be property covenants and zoning ordinances with which you will need to comply. Be sure and get a building permit before you start.

Once the necessary paperwork is in place and you have assembled your construction team, you'll need to come up with a good design. There are several computer modeling programs available that can help you plan your deck. Most are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. These programs allow you to try different design options to help you and your contractor to visualize the final look before breaking ground. Some provide helpful hints and can give you a very close estimate of the materials and costs involved. The internet is also a great source for helpful ideas, and there are even free design programs available online.

Your design needs to be both functional and inviting. Remember, your deck will probably become a popular spot for cookouts, parties, sunbathing, relaxing and maybe even a wedding reception or two. Think about privacy and noise issues, as well as the layout itself. Safety should also be a key issue. Make sure there are railings in place.

When planning the layout of your deck, be sure to include areas for seating, storage and cooking. It's better to plan big than to find out later there isn't enough space to comfortably accommodate all of your furniture and guests.

Decking materials and hardware need to be selected carefully. Pressure-treated pine is the least expensive option. Better choices would be white or red cedar. If your budget allows, alternative composite materials return the best investment. They are dimensionally stable, low-maintenance and good-looking. Do not use nails to hold the decking down because they eventually will work loose. Instead, use rust-proof screws designed specifically for decking. Pre-drill and countersink the screw holes to prevent splitting and save time.

Now that you've finished your deck, you'll need to think about furnishing it. You've invested time and money in a new deck, so why not showcase it to its best advantage with comfortable cedar or teak furniture? Sturdy Adirondack chairs, side tables and benches will make a cozy retreat. They provide plenty of room for party dishes, individual food plates and drinks. Wood furniture is also easy to care for, lightweight and cool. A cedar glider or porch swing would be the perfect finishing touch for enjoying the autumn evenings with your loved ones on your brand-new deck.

Related Tags: deck, parties, decking, cedar, teak, deck designer, covenents, ordinances, adirondack, cozy retreat, cookouts

Author Tony Bissell invites you to visit his website to find a great selection of Cedar, Oak and Teak outdoor furniture. Relax and enjoy the outdoors seated in your own American Classic - The Adirondack Chair.

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