So summer is fast approaching and you are looking outside at your old worn out deck or yard thinking this might be the year to build a new amazing deck for your home. Sounds like a fun project but you must do some serious planning and make some big choices to do a project like this.
Some questions you will need to ask before starting the project:
Should I make the new deck exactly the same size and shape as the old one or do I have a reason to change it? Keeping it the same can save some money especially if your existing framing can be reused. It is best to have a professional take a look and see if the framing should be rebuilt for safety reason. You don’t want to resurface an old deck with bad support underneath.
Do I want to build this myself or hire a contractor to do the work? You may save some money by doing it yourself but if you do not have a construction background it may a dangerous to build it yourself especially if it is high off the ground. Some decks need to be engineered for safety and inspected so nobody gets hurt. Many decks do collapse due to bad construction or age of wood.
What type of materials are best for the deck you want to build?
I talk to customers all the time about the pros and cons of wood versus composite decking. If you build a wood deck that is exposed to the weather which most are you will have a lot of future maintenance that does cost money and time over the years. Cedar is the most popular choice of wood to build decks in the Northwest but they do have other exotic woods you can choose from. If you build a wood deck that cost $5000 you should expect to spend at least 10% or $500 per year to maintain and protect it on average. You might go 2-3 years between maintenance but longer than that and you may get some expensive repair bills.
If you choose a composite deck the up front cost is pretty high. Typically it is about double the cost of a cedar deck to buy the materials. The advantage of the composite deck would be much less maintenance or the years. Typically you can just clean your deck one or twice per year and call it good. It may take years to recover the cost of the materials but it is great for the person that does not want to worry about staining and maintenance.
You can choose many types of handrails for your deck and they can get quite expensive. Some of the fancy wire rails can be about as expensive as the entire deck. Some of the wood options work great but again can be more money to maintain over the years.
Spend some time doing your research before you start a new deck project or call a professional and get some good advice. It can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.