Building A Deck: 8 Things To Consider
Spring is in the air and with it, a noticeable spring in your step, as this is the year that you plan on finally taking on what is considered (in some circles) to be a Canadian rite of passage…Building your own deck! I say GO FOR IT! Before you rush off to the nearest big box store to buy a whack of lumber though, consider these very important factors so you can avoid making some very classic decking mistakes:
- Consider a professional design - Whether you are building your deck yourself, or having it professionally built, do not undervalue the importance of a design that will add a “wow” factor to your project. I design for people all over North America.
- Understanding the sun – The sun can be a beast, so if you burn easily like me, make sure you incorporate an element of shade into your design.
- The BBQ – The barbeque is typically the worst placed item on a deck. Remember, the gas line needs to run to the ideal BBQ location, not the other way around.
- Consider Furniture First! – How often do you get the chance to go furniture shopping, and then build the room to match the furniture? There is an amazing selection of exterior furnishings these days. Choose the size and shape you like, then design “rooms” on the deck to incorporate it.
- Use Footings – Even if you are building a deck that does not require a permit, it is important to use 48” deep concrete footings that extend below the frost line. Always use a builders tube to keep frost from being able to heave the footing.
- Floating Deck Mistakes – A floating deck means that the structure of the deck does not connect to the house structure. This typically requires a line of footings close to the foundation wall for a support beam. Here’s the problem; footings are meant to sit on “undisturbed soil” which is compacted and will support the footing without sinking. When digging a footing 12” to 24” away from the foundation, the soil in that area is “disturbed soil” due to the excavation required to build the house. These footings must be enlarged, particularly at the base to avoid sinking.
- Do your Structure Homework – Again, if your deck does not require a permit, you still need to build it properly. It is easy to find online help in order to understand basic fundamentals like footing size and spacing, beam sizing, joist sizing and spacing, railing guidelines, and proper staircase construction.
- Decking Patterns – One of the easiest ways to spice up your deck is to have some fun with the decking. I personally hate the traditional method of fastening down a deck board, and if it doesn’t reach the end of the deck, just adding an extra piece on. After a few winters of expansion and contraction that “seam” between the boards looks terrible. Simply adding a “spine” in the deck creates an intentional seam, which looks great for years to come.
Content courtesy of http://www.hgtv.ca
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