Although the concept of a “deck” is believed to have come from shipbuilding, it has become a permanent fixture in the landscaping of homes, hotel rooms, vacation rentals, beachside bungalows, trailers, gardens, ponds, etc. By definition, it is a platform like structure that is extending from another structure and which may have railings or stairs attached to it.

The idea of building a deck usually begins when you are attracted to a deck that you have seen elsewhere or a deck that you liked from a movie, a home show, a store, etc. However, although many people would love to have a beautiful, exotic deck to stand on, many of them don’t know where to start. For simplicity, let us assume that we are developing the concept of a deck behind an already built home.

No two homes are alike. Even if they were built on the same plan, the design for the decks may vary because of elevation, terrain or slope. The first step for a homeowner is to visualize the deck. Think Big.

A deck can be constructed anywhere. The only parameter for dreaming is that it is a structure that you will enjoy for years to come. Let your imagination soar. You can build your own private oasis with beautiful railings and a swimming pool that overlooks the bay or a well-designed veranda that faces your orchid garden that surrounds a magnificent fountain.

Home shows around the nation can help people who wish to build a deck come up with a concept for it. The type of deck that is possible will depend on the following:

  • Area available
  • Height of the deck
  • Terrain – uneven, soggy, near water, hard clay, rocky, etc.
  • Shape of the available areaNumber and position of openings into the backyard and into the home
  • Place for potted plants
  • A gazebo attached to the deck
  • Balcony, railings and stairs to the ground
  • Flooring for the deck – wood, tiles, stonework, etc.
  • Trellis for growing plants
  • Need a swing for one or for the family
  • Place for a cooking grill
  • Area for table and chairs
  • Matching table and chairs made by same deck wood?
  • Singe level or multi level decks
  • Swimming pool
  • Sauna
  • Plans for the area under the deck

Read up on the types of deck installations, get average estimates for each type and add in the extra precautions necessary to have a long lasting and enjoyable addition to your home or office.

There are other considerations when we plan to build a deck:

  • Is the land suitable for a deck
  • Are there support structures that will strengthen the deck?
  • Are their restrictions on the size of the deck?
  • Any restrictions on the shape of the deck?
  • Is the terrain soft or damp?
  • Any danger such as termites, fungi, or other infestation?
  • Would part of the deck supports be under water?
  • Is the area susceptible to floods, gales or lightning?

Read up on the different types of wood available for deck installations. Some are expensive but last longer. Others may use preserved wood which may be allergic to children or other people in the home. If the soil tends to be damp, the wood used needs to be protected from rotting, fungi, etc.

The more informed you are on deck installations, the easier it will be to choose a good contractor. A knowledgeable and experienced contractor will explain the advantages and disadvantages of deck building at the site you have chosen. Ask for qualifications and information on previous work. Get referrals from friends and try to get an idea of the average cost for the type of deck you prefer to build.

Compare and contrast three or more different contractors and their work. If possible, talk to their customers and see how satisfied they are.

Unless you are a pro in deck building, it is best not to build one all by yourself. A consultation with a professional deck builder or contractor can put you in the right direction.