Adding a deck to your home is one of the most popular and impactful home projects you can take on. Deck construction is an opportunity to really add a lot of usable space to your home and yard. And it can add a lot of value and enjoyment to your home.
However, any home improvement project, whether they are large or small, can be intimidating. Yes, it’s exciting to think about the end result! But you may start to feel overwhelmed when the practical questions start popping up. How long will deck construction take? How much will it cost? And will I be happy with the results? Don’t let those worries stop you; having a few things thought out, even before your first discussion with your deck builder, will help the process go faster and more smoothly. And this planning will help you get the results you are hoping for.
But, a deck is a deck is a deck- simple, right? Adding a deck is great, and can really enhance your home, plain and simple. But having a clear idea of how you plan to use your deck, the challenges and features of your home and lot, and how you want your deck to look will give you a huge head start before you even start talking to your contractor. Getting a better sense of your goals will be really helpful in setting you both up for a successful project.
Related Article: Building a Deck is one of the 10 Home Improvement Projects for your Central Pennsylvania Home.
Planning Ahead for a Successful Deck Construction Project
First, you’ll want to start with a rough idea of the dimensions of the deck you want in order to get an accurate estimate from your contractor, for time, cost, and materials.
Then you can fill in the details by asking yourself a few questions.
How do you plan to use your deck?
Will you be using your deck at night and need to think about incorporating lighting into your deck plans? Will you want to turn it into an outdoor kitchen and dining area? Do you need extra outlets or wiring for outdoor entertainment components? Having a plan for lighting, some shade, or a spot for a grill or outdoor fireplace during deck construction planning is a good step. Think about your outdoor furniture choices and placement ahead of time to plan your space; that can make a huge difference in how happy you are with your deck. And many homeowners use decking as a way to tie a pool surround together with their home. Will you have space for deck chairs and an outdoor shower? Will you want to incorporate seating into the structure of your deck?
Let’s talk about your lot.
Do you have a steep slope or mature trees you need to work around? Do you have an amazing view you would like to enjoy from your deck? Are there things in your yard like a garden or play area that you would like to be able to easily access from your deck? The aspect of your property can have an impact on your deck plans too; an east or west facing deck may be shaded during either mornings or evenings, so if you plan on spending your mornings drinking coffee in the sunshine, make sure you plan for the direction of the sun during the day. In addition, a steep slope on your lot might mean that a deck with multiple levels might be a great option
How do you want your deck to look?
The style of your home, the surroundings and the materials you use will all factor into the overall look of your deck. Pull together a few inspiration photos for reference; a few minutes spent searching sites like Pinterest or Houzz can be a great resource. You’ll also want to think about your material choices, from traditional pressure treated wood to exotic woods to composite or plastic decking. Get an idea of what finish options you like the best. Stained wood, paint details, or colored composite materials can all be used to create a cohesive, attractive addition to your home. And that amazing view? Think about railing options that will allow you to enjoy your view without sacrificing safety for you and your guests.
What are your must-haves?
Finally, it’s great to have a list of priorities for your deck construction project. If you decide to to spend the time and money building your dream deck, it helps to make a list of your must-haves and your wants. Then if you need to make decisions to trim the scope of the project, you’ve already thought through what matters the most to you and your family. At this point, any compromises that need to be made will still allow you to reach your most important goals.
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