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Not all decks are built the same. Read these tips before making a decision.

Perhaps you’re thinking of putting a deck in your backyard or maybe you just need to renew or restore the deck you already have. You probably have a lot of questions as to what to expect, such as, where do you begin? Here are some valuable deck building tips to keep in mind:

1. What materials should you use?

what materials should you use on your deckPeople have been building decks with real wood for decades. However, not all types of wood are the same. Most contractors use #1 pressure-treated pine, which is the most common. Pressure treated comes in different grades ranging from #2 Home Depot grade, all the way to premium C select wood. The treatment of the wood is the same for all grades. What makes the difference is the amount of wood nuts you will find. The less nuts, the higher the price. This makes it a matter of aesthetics more than structure.

Now if your budget allows for it, you can also use exotic wood such as mahogany, Ipe, redwood or cedar. However, the maintenance requirements on these woods are a lot more expensive and delicate which will require a professional to build it and to also maintain it properly. At DeckMaster, we have specialized in all types of exotic lumber for more than a decade, meaning we have the experience to maintain all types of wood decks.

The last option is choosing a composite material to build your deck. Composite is becoming more and more popular every year and is becoming the revolutionary way to go. They make your deck last longer while needing less maintenance over time. Keep in mind though that you will be paying 30-40% more than wood because you are paying for regular maintenance upfront. The only reason you would choose composite is if you don’t want to worry about scheduling interval maintenance visits every couple of years or if you like that contemporary appearance. Also, composite decking is a a good fit around pool areas since they are more resistant to chemicals and chlorine.

At DeckMaster we perform a complete analysis of your specific project to compare the overall cost between different materials. This way we can project whether going with wood or composite makes more sense in the short or long term. We specialize in building and maintaining all types of wood as well as all major brands of composite decking such as Trex, Timber Tech, Fiberon, Evergrain, Azek, Zuri, Wolf and many more.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of conflicting information online and it is hard to know who to believe. Most of the information you will find is based on what the manufacturer will tell you and is not based on actual contractor experience or testing in the field. At DeckMaster, we have performed many years of research and testing to determine which products perform better over time. We also thrive to use green building practices and earth friendly products using recycled materials while still providing the best warranty in the industry. We have done many years worth of extensive research and homework so that you don’t have to.

2. Deck Maintenance

We like to say, think backwards. First consider the long term and short term costs associated with future maintenance requirements before choosing the materials to build your new deck. maintaining your deckAs stated above, remember that while real wood can last nearly as long as composite deck materials, they will require more repairs, cleaning, sealing and staining, and even resurfacing if not cared for professionally. Also keep in mind rain, humidity, UV exposure, or snow fall factors for how your deck will be maintained. Wood type also plays a big role as to what kind of maintenance will be required. Most people don’t realize that depending on the way they build their deck and the type of materials they choose will greatly impact how much money they spend over time.

At DeckMaster we perform a free overall evaluation whether you want to build a brand new deck or restore your existing one. We help you choose the best approach, deck design and materials to receive the best value for your money. Since DeckMaster specializes in deck building, repairs and maintenance all in one place, that has given us the extra knowledge required to do it right from the beginning and to reverse any damages or bad decisions made if the deck is preexisting. Please note that while it may be tempting to do it yourself, we have found that the majority of issues with decks are poor maintenance due to unprofessional solutions or DIYers. This has contributed to the bad reputation regarding wood decks. This information is inaccurate and can’t be farther from the truth.

At DeckMaster we know that a wood deck can last as long as a composite deck if professionally serviced. We use a revolutionary low-pressure cleaning system that will restore most decks without the damaging effect of high power washing while at the same time providing three times better results and longer durability of your deck. We have several packages to choose from depending on the type of wood you have as well as the look desired. The options are limitless.

Before making a decision, trust the experts at DeckMaster and receive your free evaluation and analysis of your specific project to make a wiser decision and avoid future headaches and wasting your investment.

3. Spice it up. Consider size and extra levels

adding extra levels to your deck imageOne thing to consider here is geometry. Decks come in all different sizes – they don’t have to be the traditional rectangle deck. Look at circular designs or even look at extra levels. This will give personality and separate yourself from the crowd by making a unique design by just doing a few modifications for a fraction of the cost.

Also larger size decks will have room to spread out and have get-togethers without having to spend a lot more money if done right. In addition, larger size decks will cost less per square foot since smaller size decks require the same overheads as a large deck such as administrative costs, plan design, pulling permits, inspections, amount of support posts in some cases, amount of visits, county/city requirements, etc.

4. Deck Accessories

deck accessories gaithersburg marylandDon’t limit yourself to the basics. If you want to give your deck more personality and create that unique appearance and draw some attention, consider spending a little bit more on accessories. They can range from a wide variety such as pergolas, benches, privacy skirts, privacy walls, metal balusters, light fixtures, bump out grill areas, under deck systems to keep the space underneath the deck dry, etc. Also it is more cost effective to do it all at once.

5. Create Shade

deck hammock deckmasterIn the hot summer months, you’ll be wishing you had thought of shading options. Whether with a nearby tree, a trellis or pergola, or a screened in porch, find a way to keep your deck cool. The shade will also prolong the life of the deck by 50% due to less exposure to the damaging UV rays and the natural elements.

Also consider a way to keep it warm in the winter months by building a sunroom or a four season porch. This will also create that extra living space you’ve probably been thinking about for a long time.

Don’t have the budget for it? No problem. You can do it in stages and have your deck built first. However, just make sure to leave the foundation ready to turn your deck into a future porch or sunroom by adding extra support beams and making it code compliant.

6. Summary

  • Plan ahead by determining how long you will live at the house to choose the right materials and warranty desired.
  • deck building tipsConsider the short and long term cost of future maintenance requirements to determine what type of materials to use.
  • Decide on what plants and furniture you might want out on the deck before you build it to the proper size and design.
  • Build a strong foundation if you are planning on converting your deck into a future porch or sunroom.
  • Take advantage of existing trees to incorporate your deck around it to provide shade and or prolong the life of it.
  • Think ahead as to how you can hide support beams and keep the deck feeling as open as possible.
  • Get rid of railings when you don’t need them or if they’re not required by code.
  • Consider accessories that otherwise will be more expensive to build in the future such as pergolas, lights, benches, or under deck system.
  • Think about a sound system, ambient lights or any other luxuries to make it a more relaxing place to hangout! This is a must to do before since it is incorporated in current deck structure.
  • Consider a beautiful paver patio on areas where there is not enough clearance to build a deck. Also pavers require less maintenance and does not require any building permits in most cases.

Here at DeckMaster we work hard to bring to life your dream deck. Whether you need a deck rebuilt, restored, or completely built new from scratch, you can trust us to get it done! We are the only company that provides deck building, repair and maintenance all in one place. This gives us the leverage and experience to better understand the best choice of materials to use as well as the way to build or restore your deck. In addition, you will be dealing with one company and one warranty instead of two or three different people messing with your beautiful and costly investment. Trust the experts at DeckMaster and request a free quote and evaluation.