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Design & Planning

Smart Tips to Consider Before Building Your Deck

June 10 2016
Decking Design & Planning

Thinking through every step of your project in advance saves time, materials, and money. Mull these key considerations at the beginning of your project to help ensure that your dream deck becomes a beautiful reality.   

Don’t Cut Corners 

Remember: structures are only as good as the materials used for their construction. It’s a false economy to try saving money on your project by settling for the cheapest materials available. Here’s another fond saying of old carpenters: “Do it right the first time, or don’t do it at all.”   

Be Smart About Materials 

While wood is the cheapest deck option available, it is decidedly not a low-maintenance material. With wood, you must be endlessly vigilant against mold, moss, mildew, algae, rot, insect infestation, and warping, all of which can mar the appearance of your deck, as well as compromise its structural integrity, and safety. To guard against some of those ills, you can expect to spend long hours and considerable cash regularly reapplying messy stains and water sealants. Is that really how you envision spending your weekends on your deck?  

 Capped composite materials, on the other hand, are low-maintenance, strong, tough, never require staining or sealing, resist fading and mildew, last for decades, and are backed by limited lifetime warranty. Even better, they come in a wide range of natural colors and sophisticated emulations of woodgrain patterns that provide the look of real wood without any of wood’s exhausting drawbacks. The more you look at the choices, the more you realize that it’s really no choice at all. Still not convinced? Take a look at TimberTech's  line of decking products.

Size It Up 

How large a deck do you need to support your outdoor lifestyle? For the answer, start by measuring that part of your yard where you want to build your deck, and mark it off with landscaping stakes and a string line. Now you can get a physical sense of the space, and how well it will accommodate how you intend to use it.  

Next, measure the remaining area of your yard, and make a list of those activities that you want to continue enjoying there. If your current deck design cuts too far into your kid’s volleyball area or your wife’s herb garden, then you might want to readjustment your design accordingly. Some of those activities might even transition nicely to your new deck, such as replacing that in-ground herb garden with a container garden that is reconfigurable on the fly and easily moved indoors in winter. The TimberTech deck designer allows you to take advantage of augmented reality to get an even better sense of how your dream deck can come together. 

Make a Place for Everything 

After you’ve marked off the area for your new deck, identify where you’ll place all of its essential elements—dining tables, lounge chairs and sofas, end tables, fire pits, pools, BBQ grills or outdoor kitchens. You need to provide seating for every family member, as well as accommodating any visitors you’ll typically entertain there. Consider which areas would most naturally flow into each other. For instance, you’ll want to place your smoky grill far enough away from the dinner table that it doesn’t bother guests, but close enough that the grill master can cross that distance with ease.  

If you already have some outdoor furniture pieces you like, arrange them as you would like to see them on your new deck, and note what needs to be added, upgraded, or replaced. Again, TimberTech’s Deck Designer tool can help you refine your plans.

Ask the Experts 

While you definitely want to do your homework, remember you’re also going to have to rely on your contractor to help you realize it. When you get an estimate from an appropriately licensed contractor, don’t just settle for getting a quote; pick their brains. Tell them what you like, what you want, what you can afford, and then they can help you get there. Certified contractors think about decks all day, so they can be an invaluable resource for you at all stages of your project, when it comes to what is—and is not—allowed under your local building codes.  

If you don’t put in the time to plan your deck, it could fall short of your expectations for it. But if you do plan carefully, one day soon you could be sitting on a new deck that is a genuine expression of your values. With your friends and family around you, in the heart of that perfect afternoon, you’ll be glad that you put in the time and energy to create an outdoor room that truly feels like home.