What to Know About Adding a Deck
Good weather should be enjoyed to its fullest extent. To do that you have to actually go outside. But if your home lacks an enticing outdoor living space, there’s little incentive to venture out.
Outdoor living is seeing a bit of an explosion lately: Adding a deck is one of the most requested home projects today, and demand is steadily rising. In a recent Houzz landscaping survey, more than 80 percent of people undertaking a landscaping project said they were adding a deck or a patio.
New durable outdoor materials, furniture and accessories plus unique shade options and smart tech that let’s us watch movies and have full kitchens have no doubt fueled the interest. So if you’re hoping to make the most of good weather in your area, a new deck has likely crossed your mind. Here’s what you’ll need to know about finally adding a deck!
First thing to consider:
You’ll want to decide whether your property is good for a deck or patio — or a combination of both.
Deck. A deck is a platform with decking boards, usually made of either wood or a composite material. A deck is ideal for sloped yards where you want a flat area. It’s also good for homes that sit high above the ground or atop a basement, because they can be built as high as you need. If your home sits higher than about 14 inches off the ground, a platform deck is probably for you.
Patio. A patio is on flat ground and is usually made of concrete, pavers, flagstone, wood or another hardscaping material. Doing a patio on a sloped lot is costlier and much more difficult, because retaining walls must be built to create a level surface. If your door opens right at the ground level, then a patio is the option for you. Many people choose to build a deck that steps down to a patio.
What do you want your deck to do?
Typically, people want a deck that’s multipurpose, with areas for eating, cooking and hanging out. But, as with most things, the sky is the limit. So depending on your budget, consider things like an outdoor TV, a fireplace, a fire pit, a hot tub, a kitchen, a water feature and more.
Figuring out what you want your deck to do will also help determine its size, safety measures and traffic flow. Do you host a lot of parties, or is it just you and a partner? Do you have a lot of kids? The last thing you want or need is a deck that’s too small or too large for your needs.
Also consider privacy on your deck. If you don’t want to feel like you’re on a stage performing for your neighbors, you’ll want to think about adding an arbor, a pergola, latticework or something else to create privacy.
How will you access the deck?
If you currently have a door that leads outside to where you’ll want your deck, then congratulations — you’re in good shape. But if you’re adding a deck to a portion of your house that doesn’t have a door, then you’ll have to add an opening, which can increase costs drastically depending on whether you’re planning for a door in a load-bearing wall or not.
If you’re using your deck for dining (which you should), you’ll want it located as close to your kitchen as possible. “You don’t want to have to climb a bunch of stairs just to go back in for some salt,” says Clemens Jellema, who runs Fine Decks and has been building decks for 20 years.
Consider how it will look.
When adding a deck, it’s best to consider the style and architecture of your house so that the addition either blends in with or at least complements your home. A trained professional will be best suited to make recommendations on deck style, materials, color and more.
How long it will it take?
An average deck that’s between 300 and 500 square feet will take about one to two weeks to build. If you’re adding a porch, pavilion or gazebo, it will take at least another week. A simple townhouse deck without many corners that’s 100 to 300 square feet could take as little as three to four days. But it all depends on where you live. Some states, like earthquake-heavy California, may require that everything be done by a structural engineer for approval. Some places issue permits in a couple of hours; others can take up to two months. Other factors include whether you’re in a flood zone, whether you’ll need to cut down trees and whether you have a septic tank or well on your property. A good deck professional will be able to look at your site plan and determine these factors.
There are a few other things to consider when deciding on adding a deck to your property or not. Give us a call today and we can discuss your project!