Building a Deck:
One of the first areas of the house which homeowners may attempt to build would be the deck. It is important to know that there are many ways to build a deck according to the material you may chose to work with, the style you would like to emulate and the size you would like your deck to be. The first, and most important, thing to consider would be the foundation and structure of the deck. The foundation can meet code requirements in more than one way! Remember, code only calls for the minimum requirements.
For example, consider 12”x12” footing, 4’ in the ground with a 6”x6” supporting post placed on top and buried: This structure will be up to code, but there is so much more to think about! In this example, you will have to consider the product you are using – wood rots very quickly when in contact with soil, in comparison to concrete. That is why, in such a situation as this, we would put a 10” or 12” tube on top of the footing and wrap that tub in plastic. This creates a much more solid and durable foundation to build your structure off of.
Think about it: You wouldn’t buy a car with minimal safety features, would you? So why would you invest in a deck which has minimal safety features because of the minimal durability of the material you’ve chosen to use.
Materials for Decks:
As an example of one of the many things you must keep in mind when it comes to building a deck, let's consider materials for a moment. Three of the most common materials used are as follows:
P.T. (Pressure Tested) – Pressure tested is cost effective and easy to work with! It does not require much maintenance, only a yearly protective coat which we can provide with our maintenance package upon request.
Cedar – Cedar is naturally more abiding than P.T. and it doesn’t split, check, crack or sliver. It will turn grey within a year’s time, and the fight to keep it red must be addressed annually as a result. Cedar is not as strong as spruce and that is why most structural work is done with P.T.
Composite is a man made material, composed of either a wood and plastic mix or solid plastic/vinyl. It requires the least maintenance of the three options and has the longest life. It will also maintain its colour for its entire life.
It is important to understand that this information is just barely scratching the surface of materials. There are many types of composite, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. Also, Cedar is not the only type of outdoor wood available to you.
Even better than Cedar, is Teak and other South American Woods are stronger and last longer. Even P.T. varies from the grade of wood to how its treated. And each of these options has their pros and cons as well.
Whether it’s a sitting area for your morning coffee or it’s your summer get away with a screened in gazebo…whether it is a built in BBQ or outdoor summer kitchen, there is a lot to consider. There are as many ways to go about building as there are types of decks to build. The structural integrity of your deck is the most important aspect of building because it determines longevity. So please remember that no matter the visual quality of the product, it is what you DON'T see that really matters!