Spring is a great time to slip out of your winter clothes and get outdoors. As the weather gets nicer and the evenings get warmer, now is the perfect time to enjoy your deck—if you have one! But if your home is not already blessed with a gorgeous deck or your current deck is starting to show its age, it may be time for an upgrade. Depending on its size, professionals like these TrustDALE deck builders can install a new deck in a matter of a few days to a week or more. But the best builders are in high demand, and the busy season is quickly approaching. So if you want to spend time on a new deck, now is the time to start to get your new deck in time for spring.
Planning a New Deck
Unless you are building just a very small deck on the scale of a glorified balcony, you will need to do some serious planning to get started. Even if you're just adding a small deck, you need to know what materials you will use and your deck's exact shape and size. But if you have the room and the budget, you can plan a more upscale deck.
A deck should be no larger than half the size of your interior space. A sprawling deck is a luxury, for sure, but overdoing it can end up looking awkward and reducing your home's value. You also need to decide how much of your outdoor space you want to dedicate to the deck. If you have a flat backyard that you use regularly, you want to preserve plenty of that space. But if your outdoor space is mostly sloped or otherwise unusable, building out a deck can create new usable space.
If you're building a second-story deck, you should also consider what will be below the deck. A deck is a great space for relaxing, hosting, or just enjoying the outdoors. But building a deck also creates a new outdoor living space below it. Some people even install a light fixture, fan, or swinging bench. The area below your deck can become a usable outdoor room, essentially doubling the space you gain with a deck.
Once you have a general plan for your new deck's size and layout, the next decision is what materials to use. There are a few different options for materials to build your deck.
The most traditional and common is pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood is usually pine that has been impregnated with chemicals under intense pressure. The chemicals help preserve the wood and make it more resistant to damage from rot and moisture. However, even with the treatment, pressure-treated wood is the least durable common decking material. It usually lasts about 15 years, though that can be stretched with consistent maintenance.
The next step up in both price and durability is either cedar or redwood. Both types of wood are more naturally resistant to insects, moisture, and rot than pressure-treated wood. They are stiff but lightweight, making them ideal for deck building. Although pressure-treated wood is the most common decking material, cedar and redwood are a close second. If you can afford it, cedar or redwood is an excellent decking material and can last up to 25 years with consistent maintenance.
If you're ready to increase your budget, you can look into exotic imported hardwoods. Hardwoods are, as their name implies, extremely hard and dense, making them more durable than any other natural wood. In most cases, hardwoods are too hard to penetrate with regular nails or tacks. Instead, builders predrill holes for fasteners.
If you can spend a little more than natural wood (with the exception of hardwoods), you should take a serious look at composites. Composites are made from a combination of plastic binders and waste wood (i.e., sawdust). Composites maintain the look of wood, but their plastic content makes them incredibly durable and resistant to wear. If you want to avoid deck maintenance, composites are for you. Composites need hardly any maintenance beyond cleaning them with water once or twice each year.
Choosing a material has a lot to do with how much maintenance you think you can commit to. A well-maintained deck can last much longer than one that is mostly neglected. But it can take time and some money to keep up with maintenance. In the end, you get back what you put in. If you put in some money and elbow grease—or pay someone else for their elbow grease—your deck will stay in good shape for the foreseeable lifespan of the materials and sometimes longer.
Treated wood, cedar, and redwood all require staining and painting once every one to two years, depending on the amount of use and wear your deck receives. Every few years, you may need to sand down the entire surface of your deck to buff away wear and reveal a fresh surface for staining or painting. If you have a wooden deck, you also need to be on the lookout for insect and mold damage.
Hardwoods require less frequent maintenance. Most are by nature somewhat repellant to bugs and mold. However, even a hardwood fence needs to be sanded and resealed every few years. Sanding hardwood can be a challenge because its strength and density don't lend themselves to easy buffing.
Choosing a Decking Company
Once you have chosen your design and material and considered how much maintenance you can commit to, it is time to start building. A simple internet search will come up with dozens of do-it-yourself articles and videos. They all claim to teach you to install your own deck. But deck building, even a small deck, is serious construction and should be left to the pros. A deck is, after all, a dangerous structure to get wrong. If a deck isn't built securely, you could risk collapse and severe injury, or even death. Also, a poorly installed deck is unlikely to live out the full life expectancy of the materials. The brief lifespan of a DIY deck can more than offset any potential savings.
If you want to get your new deck in time for summer, put down that DIY guide and call a professional. TrustDALE certified deck builders are ready with stellar reviews, excellent customer service, and competitive prices. Depending on the season and workload, these builders should be able to schedule your build relatively quickly so you get your new deck in time for spring. And when you use a TrustDALE certified business, you have the security of knowing that every TrustDALE business is backed by Dales 7-point investigative review and trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right™ Guarantee.