Do you need to up the ‘wow’ factor of your backyard? Need more outdoor entertaining space? Do you have a difficult sloped yard that needs a fix? Or have you just been dreaming of a beautiful outdoor deck? Either way, decks are stunning, functional additions to any outdoor space. In fact, your budget and imagination are the only limits when it comes to creating your new deck.

Not sure where to start? The design of your deck depends heavily on its intended function and use. Just as there are different types of decks, there are also different ways to utilize your new deck. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do I like to entertain or just relax outdoors? If you like entertaining family and friends, then incorporating that function into your design is essential. You will need adequate space to comfortably accommodate people, as well as space for an outdoor grill or kitchen. A large area for deck chairs, or built-in seating, will give your guests room to mingle and eat. If relaxing is more your style, then a larger deck may be too much for you. Comfy and cozy may serve you better, provided it can comfortably fit your outdoor furniture and other items you need.
  2. What is my budget? – Most homeowners have a budget they need to follow, after all, you don’t want to overspend your home. A $50,000 deck may not be reasonable for a $50,000 house. This is where our outdoor experts step in. Not only are we extremely knowledgeable on materials, and other factors that will affect the cost of your deck, but we work hard to make sure your deck is designed to fit comfortably within your budget.
  3. How much maintenance do I want to put into my new deck? – Most decks require some type of maintenance, whether it be re- staining or just an occasional cleaning. How much maintenance you are willing to put into it, is up to you. Natural wood decks do require staining and sealing every year or so while plastic decks require no such effort. However, each type of material has its pros and cons. We will be happy to go over your options and help you choose the deck material that will serve you best for many, happy years.

Types of Decks

Decks can be designed in any size, or shape that you desire. However, there are certain styles that you should consider before beginning the planning phase.

Attached

Attached decks are connected to your house, or other outdoor structure by use of a ledger board. This allows the deck to be built with no additional support beams or footings directly next to the house. While still requiring support beams, these types of decks require less bracing, because some of their support comes from the house itself. However, not all homes accommodate a ledger board attachment, due to the shape or surface material of the home at the connection points. Attached decks can be slightly less expensive due to fewer materials required.

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Unattached (or Floating)

Floating decks have the advantage of being built anywhere on your property. Their multi-purpose use allows them to accommodate any outdoor need such as a swimming pool surround, or gazebo floor. They are fully self-supported through beams and footings, and can be built over any type of terrain, smooth or uneven. Proper installation is crucial for unattached decks, as they can shift over time. Therefore, the depth of the footing and beams must be carefully calculated by one of our installation professionals.

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Multi-Level

Multi-level decks are not only gorgeous additions to your home, but have many excellent advantages:

  1. Dimension – The aesthetic beauty of a deck can’t be denied. Having a multi-tiered deck adds dimension and interest, by adding balance, to your outdoor environment. It also gives your home a ‘wow’ factor.  Does your yard have a beautiful view such as a greenbelt, lake or golf-course? Having different deck levels allows you to get a perfect long-distance view from every level of the house or yard.
  2. Privacy – With so many deck levels, you have your choice of a private, cozy area to sit back and watch the sun set. Many homeowners have even installed outdoor showers on their tiered decks. Perfect for the tired swimmer, or nature lover.
  3. Sloped yard fix – Does your yard slope? If so, multi-level decks are a great way to conquer that problem. Many homeowners are faced with the challenge of a hilly terrain making entertaining difficult. Leveling out your lawn can be an expensive endeavor which makes a tiered deck a great solution to extra outdoor living space. It even gives you additional entertaining space for a smaller yard.
  4. Different purposes for each level – This is probably the best feature of a multi-level deck, and allows for a different function for each tier. Relax and soak in the sun on one level, while grilling up some steaks on another tier with a grill or outdoor kitchen. Your deck can also be designed with safety rails and a gate that will keep small children safe while you cook your outdoor meal. Dreaming of a hot tub? One level of your deck can be fitted with your hot tub and wine refrigerator, giving you the perfect space to soak and relax!
multi-layer decks
Multi layer decks

Ideas to help you decide

Ideas

Wraparound

Does your home sit on a beautiful lot? Then a wraparound deck is for you! Built tight to your homes exterior, your deck can be designed to just extend your porch, or provide full entertaining space around several sides of your home. Great for homes that have a generous roof overhang, it can be designed as a narrow walkway, or complete outdoor living area. No overhang? No worries! There are many ways to cover your deck, or if you choose, leave it uncovered to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

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Raised or Grade Level

Raised decks are typically, at least 18 inches off the ground, and oftentimes require a safety railing. Your homes exterior will dictate what type of deck will work best for your property. If your home has a sloping yard, or thick foundation, then a deck that extends far above the ground may better serve your needs. Raised decks can also be built to meet the threshold of a second story living room or kitchen. A distinct advantage of raised decks is their ability to be built over uneven terrain.

Grade level decks are built close to the ground and can be attached or freestanding. Because of their low stature, no guard rails are needed.

Raised Decks
Raised Decks

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Outdoor Kitchens

Pergolas

Materials

Natural Wood

  • Cedar - Cedar is a rich, beautiful wood that is the top of the line when it comes to decking materials. It is naturally impervious to moisture absorption, which keeps it from cracking and warping. It is virtually insect resistant, and can be stained in many different colors. To ensure its longevity and maintain its rich color, it does need to be re-stained and resealed every couple of years. This can be a hassle, however, for homeowners who prefer a low-maintenance deck. It is also a ‘soft’ wood and can show nicks and cuts from years of hard use. A cedar deck’s lifespan can range between 10 – 20 years depending on your climate and commitment to upkeep.
  • Redwood – Redwood is a gorgeous material that has an incredible lifespan of up to 30 years, depending on climate and upkeep. Its heartwood is naturally resistant to insects, and has an extremely low shrinkage rate. Like cedar, it must be re-stained and treated every other year, unless you prefer its natural color which will eventually turn black, then gray. Depending on what part of the country you live in, redwood can be in short supply which can make it an expensive choice. However, if you live on the west coast (California in particular), redwood is readily available and is cost-effective.
  • Pressure Treated – This type of wood has been treated with preservatives (typically a copper derivative) to lengthen its lifespan, as well as keep it free from insect rot and decay. Like cedar or redwood, it can be stained for a clean, natural look. However, treated wood is not fully protected from weather elements and is prone to warping and twisting. If using pressure treated wood for your deck, it is important to choose ‘top-of-the-line’ wood to reduce the chance of warping.
  • Tropical Hardwoods – Gorgeous, tropical hardwoods (such as Ipe) derive from mother nature at her best. Hardy, dense and extremely durable, tropical woods can add a rich element to your deck. They are resistant to insect damage and have a very long lifespan compared to other woods. They are, however, expensive, heavy, and can become very hot during the warmer months. Dense in structure, they do not accept stains very well.

Man-made

  • Composite – This man-made material is constructed of recycled wood fibers and plastic, such as grocery bags, plastic milk cartons, etc. It is extremely durable, and completely resistant to rot and insect damage. A major bonus, is its incredibly long life-span (up to 40 years depending on the brand), and can be recycled at the end of its time. Composite decks require minimal maintenance (no need to re-stain), and are resistant to color fading over time. While this may sound too good to be true, it does have some dis-advantages. It can easily stain and is prone to scratches. It also does not provide the genuine look and feel of real wood. More expensive than its real wood counter-parts, composite decking is on the high end of the price scale.
  • Plastic – Plastic decks are made form 100% plastic, therefore making them splinter-free. Very little maintenance is required, only an occasional power-wash to keep stains and dirt at bay.  Technology has come a long way, and plastic deck materials now come in a variety of colors and grains. However, they still do not look, feel or sound like wood and can become extremely hot in the summer. They also require a complex system of fasteners to install the deck correctly. This can add more cost to the install.
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Covering Your Deck

If you savor the shade, then protecting yourself and your deck from the sun is extremely important. There are two great options available to ensure the endurance of your deck as well as providing extra comfort during unfavorable weather.

  • Pergolas
  • Pavilions

All in all, a deck is a great choice for adding outdoor living space, and serving many important functions for your home. With the great selection of materials, designs, and stains, your deck can be personalized to suit your home and only your home. Unique, practical and functional, an outdoor deck is the way to go!

 

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