Adding a deck or patio space to your back (or side or front!) yard can add value to your home and increase the time you spend outdoors, but deciding to build it is the easy part. Whether you plan to do it yourself or bring in a professional, there are a few things you should think about before you start in on your deck building project:
Start With Structure
Some decks don't require a permit to build, but that doesn't mean you should cut corners. If you aren't bringing in a contractor, do your homework. You can find tons of invaluable information, tips, and instructional how-to's online to get you through the basics like footing size, spacing, railing guides and proper staircase construction.
What's In A Name
Patio or deck, patio or deck? Some people have used these terms interchangeably, but a patio is not the same as a deck. What's the difference?
A patio is an outdoor space that's directly on the ground, often with a concrete foundation, but can also be made with stone, tile, pavers, brick, or other materials. In most cases, they don't feature a railing or cover. Concrete and like materials are durable, and able to withstand a wide range of weather conditions.
A deck, on the other hand, is usually constructed of wood or vinyl and is seen as more of an addition, which is built above ground level, featuring some type of support system to hold the structure up. Wood and vinyl are not as durable as concrete, but treating the material with sealants and weather resistant products will help keep them looking great for years.
What Is It Good For
For families who love spending time outdoors, a well-designed deck becomes an extension of their home. For relaxation and dining, consider positioning it so there's easy access to your kitchen or living area. It may seem like a small decision, but you'll notice the difference when it comes to setting the table.
Here Comes The Sun
At the height of summer, the sun’s rays can be harsh, and even the most staunch sun worshiper can get too much of a good thing. Whatever your deck design, make sure to incorporate some kind of shade feature. An umbrella, pergola, gazebo or trellis can provide shade, shelter and offer protection from the elements.
If there's a grill master in your family, whether they prefer charcoal or gas, put some serious consideration into grill placement when you're planning out your deck or patio space. Safety first! Make sure you set up your grill in an open area away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves, and brush. You may get a lot of use out of it, but try to avoid placing it in high traffic areas, and make sure there's plenty of ventilation.