Planning a New Deck

It’s important to properly plan building your deck. Although it’s one of the easier “big projects” you could take on as a homeowner, even a simple deck requires careful planning if you want the final product to look good. Before running out and buying some lumber, sit down and ask yourself a few key questions. How will you use the desk? How big should it be? Do you want it elevated?

To begin planning, all you need is some paper, a pencil and a measuring tape. Begin by assessing the area where you want the deck to go. Measure the size you desire with your tape measure and note the precise measurements. Take note of any special items to plan for such as stairs, or ground problems such as trees, stumps, or bushes which need to be removed or relocated. Then draw out a basic sketch of the deck. Also include any framing and railing measurements which need to be included. The most important thing here is to have accurate measurements. If you intend to elevate the deck, you’ll need to also plan for the supports and framing.

If you keep the design simple, you can take on a deck project without professional help, although be sure building codes don’t require this. Ensure you check into whether a permit is required to add the deck on, and any local codes, or you could end up with major future problems.

Your deck can be a basic simple platform to hold your table, chairs and BBQ, or you can get very creative with it. Just use your imagination and don’t get beyond what you feel capable of doing yourself. It will be a great sense of satisfaction to know you built it yourself, and you can be sure you are putting quality workmanship into it.

You’ll also want to plan the type of wood you’re going to use. Common types of wood are redwood, cedar, southern pine, and treated lumber. There are also a number of hybrid materials which are made of recycled plastics or wood by-products. Just be sure whatever you use is certified as appropriate for use in a deck, especially due to the effect of weather and pests. Plan ahead to have the right type of cleaners and sealants to protect whatever type of wood you choose. Regular maintenance is important if you want your deck to stay looking nice for many years to come, which is important not only for your personal enjoyment, but for the home’s resale value.