Having a deck that you can enjoy is going to make your property even better. Many people love simply lounging on their decks during nice spring or summer days.
It’s awesome to be able to invite friends over and make food on the grill. When you have a deck, it gives you a convenient place to sit and just enjoy yourself with some of your closest friends and family members.
If you don’t have a deck yet, then you might be looking into building one. There are many ways to go about doing this, but you want to be sure that you build a durable one.
Keep reading to learn how to build a deck that will last as long as your home. If you’re able to follow these tips, then you won’t have any trouble building a fantastic deck that will meet all of your expectations.
Figure Out the Size and the Layout
Figuring out the size and the layout is the first step when you’re building a deck. You have to determine how big the deck is going to be and how you’re going to lay things out so that you can draw up plans.
Consider what you want to do on your deck while also considering the aesthetic appeal. Often, the length of the house will be a determining factor of how big the deck needs to be.
You’ll need to figure out how far you want the deck to extend as well, though. If it helps, then you might want to try to imagine deck furniture and the other types of things that you’ll be placing on the deck.
Visualize what you want and then draw up proper plans. With this done, you’ll just need to determine what type of material you’re going to use to build the deck.
Consider Using Composite Decking Materials
You might think that using high-quality wood to build a deck is going to be the right way to go. It’s certainly possible to use wood to build a deck that will look very aesthetically pleasing.
However, composite decking materials will be a much better choice when your main concern is building something that will last. Materials such as this just do a better job of lasting for a long time.
Yes, you could use wood and then treat the wood to make it last for quite some time. Even so, it likely wouldn’t stand the test of time as well as composite decking materials.
Generally, you’ll be able to get decking materials such as this without spending an exorbitant sum of money, but it will cost more than most decking materials. For example, cedar is one of the most popular types of wood that people like to use, but composite decking materials will be more expensive than that.
When you consider how long composite decking materials will last, it’s easier to see the appeal. These materials should last many years longer than wood materials.
You should be able to get what you need to build a great deck that you’ll be able to enjoy for many decades. Just make a decision that makes sense for your property.
What’s the Best Type of Wood to Use?
What if you’re simply against using composite materials to build a deck? In this situation, you could still build a deck that will last for a long time.
You’re just going to want to make sure that you use high-quality wood. Cedar is the most popular option among people who are building decks out of wood in modern times.
The popularity of cedar also means that it’s going to be quite costly. It won’t cost quite as much as composite decking materials, though.
One of the best reasons to go with cedar is that you can leave it untreated and it’ll be fine. It’s thick and it’ll have a long life even if you don’t stain it.
If you’re trying to get the deck to last as long as your house, then it’ll be wise to stain cedar. Staining the cedar will give it even greater longevity.
Get a Permit If Necessary
Before you start actually building the deck, you should make sure whether you need a permit or not. Some places in North America require homeowners to get a permit to build a deck.
It’s also going to be crucial to make sure that you build your deck on property that you own. You could accidentally extend the deck too far and wind up being on someone’s property that isn’t your own.
Get all of your ducks in a row so that you don’t encounter problems later. This likely won’t be a problem at all, but you did need to do things above board to keep yourself safe.
Note that you will sometimes need to submit drawings or plans to get a deck-building permit. Get this handled and you’ll be ready to truly get started.
Cover the Joists While Building the Frame
Covering the joists while building the frame is going to allow you to avoid many potential problems. It’s not that having the decking materials get wet will be catastrophic, but standing water could be an issue.
You don’t want the water that falls through gaps in the decking to wind up becoming standing water. One idea is to go ahead and place a drip edge on top of the joists before you even lay the decking.
Something such as a thin sheet of metal could work just fine. So long as you’re paying attention to this potential issue, it should be possible to avoid having standing water become a significant problem.
Ensure That the Foundation Is Durable
The foundation of the deck is going to be one of the most important parts of this whole project. You need to have a sturdy foundation that will be able to survive in whatever environment you happen to live in.
People who live in areas that get really cold during the winter months might need to do things differently. You don’t want the ground below your posts to freeze because it could cause the deck to heave.
To prevent this from becoming an issue, it’s advised to dig four or five feet below ground level when building your base. This might not be necessary when you live in a warmer region, but it’s still something that you should keep in mind.
Digging deep and filling the hole with concrete can help you to have a very sturdy foundation. It’ll help to make it so that your deck won’t have issues with shifting or other such problems.
Are There Things That You Can Do to Protect the Deck Once it’s Built?
Now that you’ve built a deck using high-quality materials, you’re likely wondering what else you can do. If you don’t take care of a deck well, then it certainly won’t last as long as you want it to.
There are quite a few things that you should be doing to try to keep the deck safe. Knowing some of these tips and tricks will allow you to get the most out of your deck.
Regularly Reseal and Stain Your Deck
Perhaps the biggest secret to protecting your deck is resealing it and staining it when necessary. Eventually, your deck is going to start to look a bit worn, and you can turn things around by resealing it.
It’s recommended to reseal and stain your deck once every five years. You should be sure to do it at least this often if you want to protect the deck.
There are situations where it’d be smart to reseal the deck earlier, though. If you think that the deck is starting to look slightly worn, then it’d be better to go through with resealing it early.
You don’t have to wait around for the five-year mark to pass. Whenever you see that your deck is starting to show signs of age, it’s wise to reseal it and stain it so that it can stay looking nice.
Repair Cracks Immediately
Repairing cracks as soon as you see them will be another important thing to do. In all likelihood, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your deck.
Since you’ll be using the deck a lot, it should be fairly easy to spot when cracks start to form. Cracks should never be ignored because a small crack will turn into a larger one eventually.
Procrastination is the enemy when it comes to making your deck stand the test of time. Whenever you notice flaws in the deck, it’ll be prudent to fix things right away.
Try to take the time to inspect the deck every so often, too. It’s beneficial to look at the deck from various angles, and you might even want to check under the deck often to see that everything is holding up properly.
Keep Planters on Cement Blocks
You don’t want to spill a bunch of water on your deck unnecessarily. Your deck will surely be able to withstand a bit of water, but it’s still wise to protect the deck from moisture exposure that comes from things that you can control.
Many people keep plants on their deck to provide a bit of decoration. These planters should not be placed directly on the deck if you want to keep things as safe as possible.
It’ll be better to place the planters on top of cement blocks so that the moisture from watering the plants won’t seep down to the deck. It’s just a good way to keep standing water near the plants from becoming an issue.
Watering plants constantly could cause issues with your decking materials if you aren’t careful. If the planters are on cement blocks, then it won’t be an issue at all.
Be Careful About Grease From Your Grill
It’s very likely that you’re going to want to grill food on your deck. That’s one of the best parts of having a spacious deck, after all.
You simply need to be careful when you’re using the grill so that you don’t harm the deck. The deck isn’t so fragile that a bit of grill grease will cause it to be ruined, but it’s still better to play things safe.
Protect the deck from the grease by placing grease catchers in the right spots. This allows you to grill food and you’ll still be able to protect your deck properly.
If grease comes into contact with the deck regularly, then it could negatively impact spots on your deck. It’d take time for it to become a real issue, but being careful can still help your deck to age as well as it possibly can.
Be Careful When Shoveling the Deck
There will probably be times when you’ll need to shovel the deck. If you live in a cold part of the world, then your deck could wind up being covered by snow.
Shoveling the deck isn’t hard or anything, but you want to be careful while doing it. If you’re careless, then you could easily wind up scratching the deck.
Instead of shoveling haphazardly, you’re going to want to do things safely. Try to avoid scraping the snow off so that you don’t gouge the deck with your snow shovel.
Lightly shovel the snow and take care of the deck so that it will be able to keep looking nice. This makes it much more likely that you’ll be able to remain proud of how the deck looks in the future.
Building a deck that will last is about choosing materials that will let you make something great. You should consider going with composite decking materials since those will last the longest.
If you’d prefer to use wood, then you should use cedar since it can last a long time even if it remains untreated. Staining the wood will help to increase the longevity of the cedar.
The foundation of the deck is also very important. You want to make sure that you dig deep enough so that the deck won’t shift.
It’s also possible for the ground below the deck to freeze, and this is why going deeper makes a difference. You don’t want the deck to heave or experience other problems related to freezing.
Once the deck is built, you’ll want to work to maintain it. Take care of it by resealing it and staining it once every five years.
If you can take all of this advice into account, then you’ll have a great time enjoying your deck. Have fun, but keep in mind that you’ll need to work to protect the deck as the years go on.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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