Building a Deck

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A deck is an amazing addition to any home. Just imagine being able to lounge comfortably outside, a book in one hand and a cool drink in the other, on a beautiful wooden deck. Not only is it a great place to relax or entertain, it will add to the overall value of your home.

Building a deck is no easy task, though, and unless you have some level of the necessary skill and experience, it should be left to a professional. After all, you want your deck to be safe in addition to being fun and useful. This is especially true if the deck is going to be raised above ground level at all. Still, there are a lot of things you’ll need to think about and decide upon when it comes to your deck. This guide will take a look at some of your options and give you some advice.

Materials

The exact type of wood and coloring you wish to impart on your deck is entirely up to you and your contracted deck builder. However, we strongly recommend pressure treated decking, which has three primary advantages. First, it is much more cost effective over the long run than most other options. The initial cost of installation is reasonable, and it is low-maintenance. Still, if you would prefer the look of a more expensive wood, like cedar, that is certainly an acceptable option.

Second, pressure treated decking is a good deal more durable than even some of the more expensive options, such as the afore mentioned cedar, which is a softer wood that doesn’t stand up to the elements quite as well. Pressure treated wood can go for more than a decade without needing to be replaced.

Third, pressure treated wood has a greenish tint that fades into a slivery grey without varnish. At the same time, it is quite able to take on the color of the various varnishes and spays that are available to you.

Design

This is something you’re going to have to discuss, at length, with the builder of your deck. You have many design options available to you, but they will probably be formed somewhat by the layout of your house. For example, you probably don’t want a two-story deck on a one-story house. Some options you might consider are a wrap-around deck, multi-story deck, ground-level deck, raised deck, etc.

Deck Options

Here are a few more thing you might consider adding to your deck:
  • Pool

  • Hot tub

  • Lighting

  • Decorative railings

  • A screen around the deck

  • Deck awning

Cleaning and Sealing

To help your deck stay in good condition for a long time, you should clean and seal it. Start with cleaning, since you don’t want to seal in any debris or dirt. There many different cleaners you can use including: trisodium phosphate, chlorine bleach, sodium percarbonate, and oxalic acid. Ask someone at your local home improvement store what would be best for the wood your deck is made of.

Generally the cleaning process is the same, whatever cleaner you use. Apply it, let it soak it for a period of time (as stated on the product label), use a stiff brush to scrub the deck surface, and rinse.

Now you can apply a water repellant and deck sealer. Make sure you find a product that is made specifically for wood (rather than masonry or brick). You should also try to find something that offers protection against mildew and algae. Again, you can ask at your local home improvement store which product would be best for your deck.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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