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Is it Time to Design a Deck? – Here are the Top Considerations for your Project

When you design a deck, you should understand that this it can be a complex operation if you don't understand the steps. You need to familiarize yourself with the process.

One good way of bringing yourself up to speed is to visit your local hardware store and tap the knowledge of experts. This step will give you a foundation of basic knowledge and design ideas.

You should also familiarize yourself with the specific challenges attributed to each type of deck design. Some of the most important things to consider before you build are as follows:

Here is a great deck that my neighbour designed.Determine what type of deck you intend to build. Are you going to construct a freestanding or attached deck? A freestanding deck is the easier choice for novice carpenters because this construction does not require the removal of house siding, which can be a hassle for even experienced carpenters.

A freestanding deck also has the added advantage of a free-floating foundation design, so you can use cement feet rather than having to bore a series of holes for planting your pillars into the cement.

Consider the material you intend to use. Will it be cedar or a different hard wood? Cedar is a great choice but it is not the only wood you can use to build a deck with. Do you want to use pressure treated lumber? Cedar has a natural weather resistant quality and because of its natural, chemical makeup, it is also good at resisting bug damage. Your choice of wood will affect the dimensions you required in construction.

You can also consider building your deck with composite material. If you purchase good quality composite planks it will look great and it won't rot or splinter. There is also a good variety of color available.

Review the local building codes. The dimensions of your deck could be subject to building codes, which vary from municipality to municipality, so you should make yourself aware of the building code applicable to your area. Make sure you are not building your deck over top of any easements. We have a pipes running in our back yard and when we expand our deck we have to ensure that we don't get with in three feet of the easement. This is the law in our area so again make sure you investigate the rules in your area.

Zoning laws affect the size and shape of your deck design, so be sure to check with your local building inspector or do a search at your town hall to note the laws for your area. A building inspector may also be a great source of deck design information.

Check with friends that have built a deck. Most people are happy to explain the good and bad of their project. Whether they built it themselves or someone built it for them you will something and might save yourself a mistake, money or a design you are not really happy with.

Design your deck. This is the fun part. You get to take all of your dreams and ideas and start planning your deck. You can use a piece of graph paper and a pencil or get more sophisticated and use deck design software. I think it is always a good idea to rough things out first with your initial ideas and then do a scaled drawing on paper or using a computer program.

Once you have come up with a satisfactory design that meets both building codes, your dreams and zoning laws, you can complete the final step before construction: taking out a building permit. A permit is obtained from your city hall. The permit places your construction on record. Upon completion of your work, an inspector is sent out. The inspector will either give your deck a passing grade or give you an order to make specific changes that bring it up to code.

Remember as you build your deck that any deviation from the approved plan must be resubmitted to the town hall for an amended permit. This can be a costly and time-consuming process that could result in your permit being denied, leaving you with an unfinished deck. So it really pays to plan well in the beginning and stick to the approved plan.

If you keep the above in mind and follow all of the proper procedures, you will end up with a lovely deck that will give you years of enjoyment.

For more information on designing your deck, please read these articles:

Tips for wood deck designs

Comparing deck building materials



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