DIY, Home Improvement

Want to Build a Deck This Year? Here Are a Few Things to Plan Now

Do your plans for this year include building a deck? If so, there are several details to address to create the space you’ve always wanted.

You may have planned to tackle this project over the summer (when the weather is warmer), but there are some things you can do now. Here are a few things to plan in the short-term to ensure your deck will increase your home’s value and curb appeal.

Consider All the Features You May Need

To get the most out of your new space after it is built, you want to consider all options up front. You need to ask yourself what you will primarily use your deck for, and how it needs to incorporate into your existing home and yard. If you want to entertain guests during the evening, then you want to ensure there is plenty of lighting. Additional features will vary depending on whether you want it to be a cooking or lounge area.

Find a Great Deck Builder

An important part of this project is finding a deck builder or backyard contractor. Look for independent reviews and recommendations for builders in your area. Make sure that a builder not only offers fair prices but that their customers were happy with their deck and enjoyed working with them. For any deck builder you meet with, ask to see their proof of license and insurance.

It is possible to build a deck yourself. However, you’ll need to make sure you have the proper tools, training, insurance, and understanding of all applicable codes and municipal requirements.

Make Sure You Have the Proper Size

A good rule of thumb to follow is that the deck should be no bigger than 25 percent the size of your home. This ensures a better visual balance. There are exceptions to the rule, and it ultimately comes down to how you want to use the space, as this must first meet your unique needs.

Think about how many people may be on your deck at one time. You should also consider whether you want to include a grilling station, any built-in benches, some shade or weather protection, or a hot tub on the deck. Good deck building starts with planning for the future.

Use the Right Materials

You want your new deck to last for years. That means you need to use materials that are durable, safe and easy to maintain. Find a deck builder or contractor that is familiar with all of the best decking products that are available in your area, which may include newer options such as vinyl/PVC and composite materials. Several species of wood, or even a mixture of pavers or stone, may also be right for your unique needs.

Know Your Budget

A significant part of any home improvement project is knowing your budget. Budget plays a large role in determining size, materials, accessories, etc. Communicate openly with your deck builder about your initial budget. Be prepared to discuss and revise this target number as you work together to refine the design, plans, and details. It’s important for all parties to be on the same page before the building process begins. You do not want an arbitrary number to get in the way of creating exactly what you need.

Incorporate the Deck into the Garden

For maximum curb appeal, it’s important to plan the design of the deck to flow smoothly with the existing landscaping, yard, and garden (if you have one). Think about if you want to see the yard or garden, or if you need to incorporate additional deck privacy into your new project.

Building a deck is an exciting undertaking. It is also a process that requires close attention to detail. If you are interested in building a deck this year, plan out a few of these things now, and don’t hesitate to ask your builder or materials supplier plenty of questions. Doing so will help you create the space you have always wanted.

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Matthew Breyer is the owner of Breyer Construction & Landscape, a family-owned residential remodeling company in southeastern Pennsylvania that specializes in designing and building custom outdoor living areas and other home improvements.

Matt wears many hats in this role, including Lead-Designer where he works directly with clients as well as supporting the rest of the BCL design team as they work to understand our client’s dreams, needs, and concerns — and create a unique solution to ensure the finished project exceeds expectations. When not working, Matt enjoys spending time with his family, as well as serving as president of the North American Deck and Railing Association.

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