A custom deck can be a beautiful addition to any home. Decks give you structural access to the outdoors while enhancing the aesthetics of your property. Enjoying a beautiful evening on the deck is one of the most pleasurable moments in life. Also, decks have one of the highest returns on investment of any home improvement project. Whether you use your deck for grilling, sunbathing, entertaining, or relaxing, a deck is a fabulous addition to any home.
Before you are ready to build your deck, there are a few questions to ask yourself.
1. What is your budget?
This almost goes without saying, but knowing exactly how much you can afford to spend on your deck project will provide clarity and direction. You’ll be better able to decide which special features you’ll be able to incorporate and how much you’re willing to pay for materials. A professional deck builder can give you ballpark figures and refine them as needs arise, suggesting lower-cost materials if needed. There may be costs that you haven’t considered, such as wiring for electricity, railings, or landscaping. Frequent communication with your contractor is vital to staying within your budget.
2. How will you use your deck?
Giving some thought to this question at the beginning of your project will save you time and ensure you are happy with the finished project. Once you know what you plan on doing in your space, a custom builder can create a cohesive and organized plan that incorporates all the features and accessories you want.
Entertaining – If you plan to host large gatherings, you may want to provide built-in seating. There are many options to include built-in benches and seating areas with your deck. This will save space and the necessity for more outdoor furniture. You can incorporate features into your decks, such as a fire pit, bar, or other entertainment areas.
Family dinners – If you hope to eat meals outside as a family, a sheltered deck with screening allows you to dine out more months of the year without having to worry about bugs while you eat. You may want to discuss grilling and outdoor oven options if you plan on cooking outside.
Private Relaxation Time – If providing a place to unwind is a priority for your family, you may want to consider building multiple levels to your deck to provide space for different family members to relax in privacy. A hot tub can quickly elevate an ordinary deck into an oasis of relaxation. A custom builder can help you to design a private and peaceful deck that you’ll be sure to love.
3. How will you access your deck?
Once you know what you’ll be using your deck for and which features you’d like to incorporate, you can think about how you’ll be accessing your deck. An attached deck is a better investment but can take longer and be more expensive to build than a free-standing deck. A free-standing deck is a deck that is not attached to your home. Depending on your home and lot, you may be able to access an attached deck from several levels. For example, from a patio or finished basement below and above, from a first or second story. If you plan to use your deck for meals or entertaining, having an access point in the kitchen is a must. Your builder can help you plan access points and the flow of your deck.
4. How much maintenance are you willing to do?
When you pick the material to build your deck, you’ll want to be honest about the level of maintenance you’re willing to commit to. One of the best things you can do to ensure your deck looks and functions great is to pick the right decking material from the start. Deck materials fall into pressure-treated wood, untreated wood, and composites/PVC. Each material varies in terms of cost, maintenance, and longevity. Pressure-treated wood can help you obtain the look of a beautiful wood deck for many years. However, it still needs to be stained or painted occasionally. Composite materials or vinyl/PVC have many advantages- longevity, a wide range of styles, and little to no maintenance. Your custom builder can help you decide which material is best suited for your project.
5. What style will look best with your home?
Just as homes have distinct styles, so also do decks. You want your deck to be a continuation of your home, so you’ll want to pick a style that fits the house’s aesthetic. Is your home traditional or modern? An experienced builder can design a deck that fits the personality of your home. Curve lines, sleek straight edges, color, building materials…many things can add to your deck’s overall look and feel.
Building a deck is an exciting project, but one with many things to think through. It’s important to pick a custom builder you trust with a reputation for quality work and excellent communication. There are many factors to consider. How you want to use your deck, how much you can spend, and how much time and money you are willing to invest in the maintenance of the deck are just a few of the conversations that you and your contractor should have before starting construction on a new deck. Doing so will ensure your deck fits your family’s lifestyle and provides you with years of enjoyment.