Building Your Dream Deck

With the summer season quickly approaching, it won’t be long before we quit our winter hibernation and venture outdoors. This summer if you’re looking for an easy way to enhance your outdoor living space to enjoy great company, sunshine, and evening dinners, look no further than a deck addition to your home.

A deck is a great way to add to your outdoor living space where you can entertain and relax. We’ve outlined some tips to get you thinking about adding the type of addition that is sure to add value to any home.

Make the Most of Your Space

No space is too big or too small for a deck. Should you be using your space for dining, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when designing your deck is to allow 12 feet in width. This will allow a set of table and chairs to fit comfortably, creating a perfect experience for any guest.

Materials Matter

Like any investment, planning to build a deck requires some decisions to be made. Think about how much you plan on using your deck. Is this a key feature of your home or just a great place to relax in the warmer months? Knowing how you plan to use it, for what, and how often will help to gear your decision making process so that your deck will best reflect your needs.

  • Pressure Treated Wood: When creating a wood deck, you’ll want to use pressure treated wood, which protects your wood from being eaten by insects and bacteria in your backyard. Untreated wood can be destroyed within a few years.
  • Cedar: Not only does cedar have a great “outdoor” smell, it doesn’t readily absorb moisture— and, since moisture is what creates twisting and splitting, cedar decking tends to lie flat and straight. You have the choice to apply a stain or leave it natural however, we recommend that cedar be stained annually to prevent drying and the appearance of grey coloring.
  • Composite: This is a material that you can have a lot of fun with as it comes in an endless amount of colors. Some important tips to be mindful of when choosing your deck color is the effect of sun on different colors. Dark colours tend to attract the sun, making the deck uncomfortably hot on those beautiful summer days. In addition, with a white deck, the risk of staining from trees and other factors presents itself. Be mindful of the uses of your deck and the positioning of the space in your outdoor area when choosing colors.

If near-zero maintenance is your goal, buy composite decking. Most is made from recycled plastic and wood chips or sawdust. It’s more expensive than cedar, but once it’s down, it won’t rot, splinter or twist.

Railing Rules

Building a deck is an exciting time, but there are rules to remember and consider when in the process. The Ontario Building Code states that a platform 24 inches or higher is required to be protected by a guard (railing) that has a minimum height of 36 Inches. If the deck is 5 ft 11 Inches above the ground, than the minimum guard (railing) height increases to 42 inches.

Not crazy about having a railing? Try incorporating different tiers that have less than 24 inches between the levels. This will allow you to have a smaller railing, still ensuring safety but perhaps meeting more of your visual expectations.

Keep in mind that a building permit is required if your deck is more than 24 inches above the existing grade.  You should check with your local building department to determine if a permit is required for decks that are less than 24 inches from the existing grade.

Building a deck doesn’t have to be an expensive or difficult addition to your home. Keep these tips in mind when planning your deck, to make your summer space a place anyone can enjoy!

Are you thinking of building a deck this spring? What types of materials have you considered? Are you building it yourself or are you hiring a contractor? We look forward to discussing this with you in the comments below.