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Designing A Deck

A deck is a popular home improvement that not only adds to the value of your home, but also provides an extra space for enjoying the outdoors. You'll want to carefully consider the design elements that go into your deck. You must think of a deck as a new addition to your house (like a room), one in which you are planning specific use of. Every inch of its design should be catered to the way in which you plan to use it. Below are some detailed considerations to help in the designing of your deck.

Location Of Your New Deck

The most common location of a deck is directly in front of the entrance to the kitchen. Of course this will differ depending on the design of your house. Either way, it is recommended that the perimeter of your deck be away from your windows to avoid looking out of the window at a rail. Depending on where you live, you may also want to build a deck in which you step down a step or two to in case a heavy snow storm attacks your deck. Having the deck flush with the entrance will cause the snow to lie against the door.

Additional considerations include the amount of wind you want to receive, the amount of sun you want to receive and the amount of noise you wish to receive. The location of your deck can control certain aspects of these factors. Also, you will want to pay attention to any water spigots, dryer vents, windows below the deck, and down spouts. You will be doing yourself a huge favor if you build your deck above these problem areas.


It is important to obtain documentation on your site/plot plan. In most cases, your realtor should have included a copy in your contract. If you don’t seem to have this information at hand, then your local zoning department will have a copy on file for you to obtain. This plan details the parameters in which you are allowed to build, as well as the overall size of your deck, height of any privacy screens, and the minimum distance from your deck to your lot lines. You will need to contact the local building department to find out whether you'll be required to have a building permit, and what kind of plans you'll have to submit. Keep in mind, not every township or county requires a permit.

Size Of Your Deck

When deciding on the size of your deck, be sure to use two foot increments because lumber is cut to 8', 10', 12', and 16' lengths. You will save yourself money by making the lengths exact, not to mention the scrap materials that you won’t be bothered with. It’s a good idea to drive 4-foot stakes at the approximate corners, and then tie string between them at about the height of the railings to give you a visual idea.

It is also important for you to consider how you will be using your deck and how much room you will need. Decks are commonly used for dining and entertaining. In fact, spas areas, screen rooms, gazebos and outdoor kitchen areas are becoming increasingly popular in modern designs. If you plan to use your deck for dining and entertaining then keep that in mind when you decide on the size of your deck.

Privacy Factor

Depending on how close your neighbors are to your house and also on the activities that you plan on holding on your deck, you may feel more comfortable with a privacy wall built on certain sides. Most deck builders can construct a privacy wall that not only keeps outside eyes out, but also doesn’t look like an unattractive enclosing fence.

Deck Entrances

It is very common for homeowners to want the deck entrance to be near the entrance into your back yard. This creates a practical way to enter the yard and get on the deck. Before building a staircase for your deck entrance, you should check with your township or county’s local building codes. The local building department regulates staircase construction quite heavily. There are important specifications on how the staircase is allowed to be attached to the deck frame, the size of the staircase and whether or not it will need a railing.

Shaded Areas

Many homeowners like to design a deck that receives its fair amount of sun and shade. However, in some areas your deck will be exposed to sun as long as the sun is out. One solution to this is to install a custom awning over your deck. Unfortunately, this option can be very expensive. Pergola or arbors are very popular choices because they can be built in a number of different styles, shapes and materials to enhance the design of your deck. These options will provide some shade to the area they cover, but if you want total shade then you may want to consider a roof covered deck or screen room.

Shape and Decking Patterns

A deck can be any shape you want, but keep in mind that the more complicated the design is, the more materials will be needed making the design more expensive and harder to build. Another way to add visual interest to your deck is by wrapping the deck around a corner, building a pergola or arbor, adding built-in benches, integrating a fence or screen on one side, or even adding an overhead screen.

Deck Railing & Seating

Depending on where you live, certain standards must be met regarding your deck rail. For example, in most areas, a guard railing around the perimeter of the deck is mandatory if your deck is higher that 18" off the ground. Generally the railing height is 36 inches unless your deck stands higher than 10 feet off the ground. In such cases, it is advised that your railing be 42"-48" tall. Railings come in all sorts of designs to enhance your deck.

In addition to the railing, you should consider what kind of seating will you need. Would you or your guests be more comfortable on built-in benches or patio furniture? Many homeowners enjoy integrating a place to sit into the rail of the deck. Built-in seating comes in handy if you plan to entertain groups of people on your deck. It is suggested that you use a composite plastic lumber for this seating because it will eliminate the splintering and warping that occurs over time with wood seating.

Looking For More Information About Decks?

Building a deck is a great investment. You'll want to make sure you are choosing the right deck builder for your project and your budget. We offer Free Decks & Railing Price Quotes from local, prescreened deck contractors.

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Designing a Deck

Designing a Deck
A deck is a popular home improvement that not only adds to the value of your home, but also provides an extra space for enjoying the outdoors. You'll want to carefully consider the design elements that go into your deck. You must think of a deck as a new addition to your house (like a room), one in which you are planning specific use of.

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Pressure Washing Your Deck

Pressure Washing Your Deck
The easiest, most effective way of cleaning dirty, grimy surfaces is with a pressure washer. They are specially designed to remove built-up mold, mildew, dirt and grime and to restore surfaces to like-new condition in a fraction of the time it would take by hand. Pressure washers come in a variety of styles, sizes and additional attachments that can be used for more than just cleaning your deck.

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Working With Deck Builders

Working With Deck Builders
Having a deck installed offers one perk that most home improvements don’t offer. Due to the fact that the addition is outside, you won’t have to interrupt your daily life to accommodate to the installation. You won’t have contractors and materials all over your house and you will not be losing electricity or water at any given point.

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