When considering building a deck, there are many variables that need to be evaluated. Some considerations that need to be decided on include where the deck will be placed, and its use and the size that you would like to deck to be. These factors can determine the types of materials that you use, and the style in which you build your deck. For many first time do-it-yourself types, this a great way to have a rewarding project with great benefits and added value to your home.
Investigate local building codes and get the right permits
Before building any project, or adding to your home, it is important to investigate the permit requirements for your city, county or township. Many people make the mistake of building or adding on to their homes, only to find out that they have to take it down because of the lack of a permit. After you have educated yourself on the requirements for your local municipality, the next step is to investigate underground utilities. This is a vital step that can help protect wiring, gas lines and water lines that are running to your home.
Many utility companies can come out and do a free test to help you locate important underground items. This is especially true of natural gas lines and power lines, as these two usually service more than one residence per line.
Choose deck layout plans
After you have taken care of all the paperwork and safety issues, the next step is choosing your deck layout. For many, a deck is more than a functional addition to their home, it is an extension of their home. Try visualizing a BBQ or a friendly get together, and this could give you inspiration on the design on the deck that you will be creating. Another helpful tip is that while you are daydreaming about your social schedule on the new deck, carry some stakes around with you. While you are mentally mapping out the plan, you can place stakes in the ground to help mark the placement of certain points for the structure. This will also give you a good idea if the deck you have chosen will be a good fit for your yard.
Choose your decking materials; wood, composite, vinyl, etc
The next step is to investigate different types of materials to use. This can be a very difficult decision, and figuring out what is best for you can prove to be a challenge. Free decking samples and materials are a great way to see and feel some of the options that are available. For example, cedar decking is beautiful, has a nice color, and is durable, however, it will require regular maintenance and upkeep. Composite decking is essentially a maintenance-free product that offers lifetime guarantees. You may choose to use another type of material like a soft wood pine. For these choices, it is best to see what works best for the weather that you experience, and cost effectiveness.
Gather your decking tools
You also need to invest in some tools for this project, as deck pieces are not pre-cut based on specifications. Some of the items you will need include:
- Circular saw
- Hand saw
- Carpenters pencils
- Carpenters square
- Measuring tape
- Hammer — manual or compression
- Saw horses
- Miter box
- Safety glasses
These items will be used often during your project. Once you have chosen the type of decking material you are going to use, you can then investigate the proper fasteners for that material, along with the proper nails. These are important items to have in order for your deck to be long-lasting and durable.
Happy deck building!