For many of us, our outdoor space serves as a private oasis where we relax, draw inspiration, and retreat from the chaos of our busy lives. When planning the construction of a new deck, there are many things to think about; choosing the right material, creating a solid foundation, a good design, proper board spacing, and right finishing for your needs are among the top decisions. Above all else, through this journey, enjoy the creative process and steps along the way that will lead to a perfect ‘green’ space.
Wood Decking Material
Pressure treated lumber remains the most popular choice among those looking at wood decking materials. It is easily affordable, available in a multitude of locations, and easy to fasten with nails and screws. The downside is that it is not very dimensionally stable, so the chances of the material splitting and warping are high. Redwood and cedar are also popular choices. Enjoyed for the richness of their colors, these materials also contain elements designed to protect them against decay and harmful insects, which can destroy your deck and plants growing on it.
Creating a Solid Foundation
A solid foundation from the ground up is key to the construction of your deck. The placement of footings is fundamental to a strong structure; their size and shape will be determined by span charts. It is essential that you or the professionals you hire comprehend where your footings go and how to build up from it.
Solid and Aesthetic Design
This is the part where the homeowner gets to be creative. Depending on the how the deck should serve your lifestyle, there are a variety of ways that you can go about designing a practical, stable, and aesthetically pleasing deck for your yard. If adding planting space to your deck is a must, then it is also important to make sure that proper drainage systems are put in place to protect the life of the plants. Also, decide whether or not you require shade in your new outdoor space. There is a multitude of permanent or temporary options out there for those looking for a break from the sun. Finally, make sure that your new oasis is in line with the code requirements of your neighborhood. Safety is key to enjoying your space for many years to come.
Proper Board Spacing
When setting proper board spacing for your deck, you want to ideally have a 1/8-inch gap (diameter of an 8d nail) between the boards after the decking has dried to its equilibrium moisture content. Make sure you don’t leave wider gaps between treated lumber deck or porch boards that are still wet during construction. You might find that as the wood dries, excessive deck board gaps end up causing a tripping hazard.
Choosing the Best Finish
Water and other elements can wreak havoc on an unprotected deck. To adequately protect your outdoor space from the elements, choosing the right finish, which will penetrate the wood’s surface to slow down its ability to absorb moisture, is essential. Water-based finishes carry a commitment to the environment with fewer ingredients that cause damage, while oil-based finishes help decks wear gracefully over time. It’s best to consult a professional to decide what is best for you and the life of your outdoor deck