Homecraft 101: Tips For Building a Deck

Deck Out Your Backyard This Season

With winter finally over and the weather becoming nicer with each day, Canadians like to get outside and make the most of the sunshine.  If you’re lucky enough to have a home with a yard, you may be considering building a deck this season.  Here are a few tips for building a deck, and some things to consider for the project:

1. Plan first, then build.

Decide exactly what style of deck you want to install and make sure it’s going to work for your space. How many levels will it have, are you going to install a gazebo, hot tub, pergola, where do you want the stairs to be, etc.

Planning the project first helps prevent potential mistakes or problems down the road. Ask a professional for their opinion on your plan. Doing this every day, they know what works and doesn’t and can offer ideas you may not have thought about.  Also, make sure to find out if you need a building permit in your area before you start construction to avoid potential fines / having to remove what you built.

2. Cedar or Pressure treated

Pressure treated is substantially cheaper than cedar but doesn’t last as long or look quite as nice.  If you go pressure treated, let the wood completely dry for at least a few months before applying a stain or water repellant.

Tip: if you want the look of cedar but are on a budget, try framing the deck with pressure treated wood and then capping it with cedar and using cedar deck boards.  It gives it the cedar look but with some cost savings in the areas that you won’t be able to see.

3.  Deck blocks or concrete posts

Different climates, building codes, deck sizes / heights, and more all can affect whether to dig (calling the city first to come and mark any wires or gas pipes – very important) and place the main posts in concrete or sit them on concrete deck blocks using crushed stone that is packed down using a machine called a tamper. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one so make sure you do your research and plan accordingly.

4. Accessorize and Maximize

When it comes to utilizing the deck space, the only limitation is your imagination. Bench seats around part of the perimeter are easy to build and provide seating for larger gatherings when the amount of chairs won’t do. They can even be built as storage units to hold pillows, grilling utensils, and other yard tools while not in use. Another option could be a built in flower box. Just remember to drill small holes in the bottom so that the water can drain properly.

Gazebos are a great way to keep the bugs out and provide some much needed shade on those extremely hot and humid days. They come in all shapes, sizes, and materials and can range from under $100 to over $10,000. Just make sure that if you are planning to install one that you know the specifications ahead of time so it fits in well with the overall project.

Getting Grilled

Barbecues go from being as simple as a basic charcoal grill to as complex as having built in appliances, cooking stations with multiple grilling surfaces, storage compartments, etc. Budget how much you want to spend on your grill and shop accordingly. You can save a few dollars when hunting by purchasing last year’s model or buying at the end of the season when stores want to get rid of their summer stock.

Whether you’re planning to build a tiny walk out or a massive outdoor entertaining mecca, make sure you consult with a professional that knows the proper way to build and what rules and regulations must be followed for your area. If you are having a contractor build your deck, ask for references and check to see if past clients are happy with the work that was done. Building right the first time saves both money and a lot of potential stress down the road. Summer is here so get outside and enjoy that brand new, shiny living space you just created!

 

Toronto-based Realtor and Active Investor Mitch Parker understands a home is a lot more than just an address; it’s a lifestyle. As an expert on buying, selling and investing in Real Estate, he helps both End Users and Investors, whether new or seasoned, realize their ultimate goals.

Living in a city he loves, Mitch realizes the importance of being heavily involved in the community. Mitch has worked with organizations that are close to his heart including Habitat for Humanity and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Mitch also lends an active voice to the city’s associations of Business Improvement Areas understanding the importance of aiding in the creation of a thriving and competitive Toronto. 

When he’s not thinking Real Estate, Mitch’s passions include fitness, cars and exploring the city. 

For more information, please visit: www.mitchparker.ca and follow him on Twitter: @MitchParkerRE

Feature image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net