Questions to Ask Yourself
A deck at home is a lifestyle improvement the whole family enjoys. Whether you’re designing a small deck for a small space, or an outdoor living space large enough for the biggest family gathering, ask yourself some questions to get even more enjoyment from your new space.
1. How will your new deck be used?
A quiet patio in the city? Swimming pool decking? Large outdoor holiday events with neighbors and friends?
A deck can be peaceful and quiet, hidden away from the world, or it can be the center of your family life. Consider how your deck will be used, and by whom: quiet candlelit dinners, or the whole gang over for a big barbeque? Plan the right space for the most effective use for you.
2. Where will the deck be located?
Do you want a sunny space or shade to keep things cool? Where does the sun rise and set, and where will the deck receive the most or least sunlight based on your preferences?
A deck built close to the main house is easier to wire for electricity, lighting, security, and that electric barbeque spit big enough to roast a side of beef.
A doorway directly from house to deck makes it easier to prep in the kitchen and serve on the deck.
A deck that provides sun and shade will get more use based on personal preference.
3. What is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your deck?
A traditional wooden deck requires materials and construction costs at the outset.
After construction, the wood deck requires a coat of stain and a coat of sealant every couple of years. Real wood is also subject to wood rot, mildew, and mold that can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly to fix.
Remember, a wood deck requires regular, sometimes costly maintenance over the years. Calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the lifetime of any deck you plan to install.
Consider using quality composite decking made from recycled, high-density plastics and wood fibers that would, otherwise, end up in our overstuffed landfills.
Composite decking is durable, attractive, low on the maintenance meter, easy to install, easy to enjoy, whether it’s an intimate balcony space overlooking the cityscape, or a huge deck surrounding the backyard pool oasis, add up the TCO of your deck to get the best return on your investment in your home.
4. Who’s going to install the deck?
The materials are one cost; turning those materials into an attractive deck that captures your vision is another critical decision.
A stick-built deck requires highly-skilled carpenters who can read your rough sketch of what you want your deck to look like. That kind of expertise is very pricey, so if construction costs are an important consideration, consider building your dream deck yourself.
Look for composite decking that employs a secure, easy-to-use clip system to hold your deck planking in place. Composite decking can also be cut to size using seamless endcaps to deliver that professional finish at a much lower cost.
5. Planks or tiles? It’s your choice.
If you’re designing a space with style and durable elegance in mind, consider exterior tiling made from durable, low-maintenance composite tiles in a variety of shades and finishes. These tiles are perfect for smaller spaces like balconies or patios.
If your dream deck expands into the back yard, planks made from durable, high-density recycled plastics and wood fibers may be simpler to install yourself, while creating more deck from fewer pieces, simplifying the building process.
It’s your choice when it comes to color, texture, and eye appeal so let your imagination go before you decide exactly what you want that new deck to look like.
6. What about railings, stairs, and other deck accents?
Plan your deck down to the smallest detail.
What kind of railings will you need? Is the deck elevated? With exterior stair access? Will those stairs stand up to the weather and wear of a busy family enjoying their outdoor living “room” during the year?
Take a moment to envision the finished deck, with railings in place for safety and security, stair treads that can stand up to heavy use, weather-resistant materials to cut down on maintenance cost and time – have a clear picture of your perfect deck before construction begins.
Planning ahead, developing your “deck-building” budget, weighing your options and “must-haves” before you begin, delivers the deck you’ve always wanted – the deck you’ll enjoy for years to come.
7. Does it pay to shop around?
Decking costs vary greatly. So does quality.
If you plan to design a deck using composite materials, shop around and don’t just consider cost per square foot. Sure, you can save a few dollars using a lower quality wood or composite, but will you still love it five years from now?
Quality, durability, easy installation, low maintenance, and 100% recyclable makes high-quality, composite decking, railings, stairways, home siding – even stylish planters – the simple, cost-effective solution to all your decking decisions.
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