Decks are an affordable way of adding living space to any home. It makes it relaxing and convenient to enjoy sitting outside night or day. It also increases your home’s overall value. However, building and maintaining a deck can be challenging.

A Homeowner’s Guide To Building And Maintaining A Deck

Building And Maintaining A Deck

Creating the deck of your dreams requires proper planning and research. This is especially true if you’re confused with the different decking materials, designs, colors, and other things like premium stain for outdoor wood. In this article, we’re giving you every homeowner’s guide to building and maintaining your dream deck.

How To Build A Deck

Building a deck isn’t a simple project. If you want to build the best deck for your property, here are the steps to get started:

  • Plan Your Deck

It’s crucial to know what you want your deck to look like. For this reason, you need to prioritize planning your deck. 

You don’t need a drafting professional or an architect when planning. Sometimes, a hand-drawn sketch is enough as long as you know your budget and your unique preferences for a deck. However, if you’re unsure about what to consider with your deck, you can always ask for help from professionals who have experience in helping homeowners plan a deck.  

  • Keep Deck Permits And Setbacks In Mind

To enjoy your deck without any worries, you must always stay on the right side of the law. So, determine where your property line is to ensure that you meet the necessary setbacks.

Depending on where you reside, you may need permits. That’s why you should learn the permit requirements and local setbacks so you won’t waste your time creating plans and applying for permits that might be rejected. To avoid this, contact the local authority to know the rules and regulations or limitations when building your deck.

  • Choose The Best Materials For Your Deck

The best deck materials may vary depending on your budget and personal preference. The common kinds of deck materials include the following:

  • Composite – It wears like plastic and looks like wood. However, a composite material provides a durable solution for deck building. It’s easy to maintain but often comes at an expensive price tag.
  • Wood – From tropical hardwoods, cedar, and redwood to pressure-treated woods, you have countless options when it comes to wood. Unlike other deck materials, wood may require a bit of maintenance. To maintain your wood deck’s beauty, it should be re-stained and cleaned twice or thrice a year.
  • Plastic – While composite is made of a combination of wood and plastic materials, there’s a range of plastic options in the market. The best thing about plastic materials is that they last longer and require fairly minimal maintenance. In terms of price, plastic materials are more expensive than composite.
  • Aluminum – Decks made from aluminum are the most durable. They can withstand harsh weather elements. The only disadvantage of using aluminum for decks is its price.

Choose your deck material according to how well it resists warping, rust, and decay. You should also opt for the most durable and functional to ensure the safety and longevity of your deck.

  • Decide Whether To Hire A Contractor

As mentioned, building a deck isn’t a simple task. Often, it requires the expertise and skills of professionals. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t do this project yourself. If you have the skills and tools needed to build a deck, you can always go for the DIY route.

If you can’t decide on whether or not to leave the job to the pros, here are the things you need to consider:

  • Quality – There’s nothing wrong with flexing your construction skills or learning a new skill. Taking on projects like this can be fun, but professionals can guarantee quality workmanship. Since expert deck builders are knowledgeable, they’re more efficient in what they do and follow the building codes.
  • Cost – Most homeowners prefer the DIY route when building a deck because they think buying materials by themselves will allow them to save more. Although it’s possible, you may need extra money to purchase the equipment and tools to get the project done. For this reason, it’s more cost-effective to work with a contractor to build your deck. Professionals know the best suppliers of quality materials and have the tools for the job.
  • Time – Professional deck builders can construct your deck better and faster. Taking the DIY approach may take longer to finish your deck, especially if you’re still figuring out the proper steps. So, if you want to build your deck quickly, your best bet is to hire a local deck contractor.

Tips To Maintain Your Deck

As some parts of your home, decks are also subject to wear and tear. Due to this, deck maintenance is crucial to prevent potential issues, like discoloration caused by algae, moss, and other dirt particles. To enjoy the most of your deck, below are the maintenance tips you should know when building And maintaining a deck:

  • Clean Your Deck

Before applying the sealant to your deck, clean it thoroughly to remove dirt build-up. Remove debris clogging your deck boards to avoid possible rot. You can remove them using a power washer or a garden hose.

When cleaning your deck, you can use water with non-chlorine cleaning products. Use these to eliminate stains and discoloration. However, be aware of using bleach to remove mildew as it may leave your deck surface washed out and drab.

Make sure to read the warnings and directions provided on the cleaning solution’s label. Usually, deck cleaning solutions can be brushed onto your deck using a broom. They can even be sprayed using a power washer.

Generally, the more powerful the cleaning solution is, the less scrubbing you’ll need. You can scrub using a push broom or a basic scrub brush. After scrubbing your deck, rinse it thoroughly. You can use a high-powered jet, but too much pressure may damage your deck surface.

  • Replace Rotten Planks

Natural wood decks may cup, rot, and split if they’re exposed to too much moisture or not maintained properly. If you notice some areas require repairs, fix and replace them immediately.

You can follow a tutorial online to replace rotten planks or hire a professional to ensure safety. Although hiring a professional can mean an extra expense, it can ensure that your deck will be repaired according to your local’s building code.

  • Avoid Using A High-Powered Pressure Washer

Pressure or power washers are ideal for saving time when cleaning your deck. However, if you use it carelessly, you may end up damaging your deck. To avoid this, keep your washer at low pressure and use a sweeping motion to prevent damage. If your deck is made of composite materials, never opt for a power washer, as it can easily damage the material.

  • Sand And Apply Stain Or Sealant

One way to maintain your deck is to sand it and apply a stain or sealant regularly. This will not only prolong your deck’s lifespan, but it can also repel water that may damage your deck.

Before applying a stain or sealant, consider sanding your deck to eliminate splinters. When choosing a stain or sealant, opt for clear versions because they can withstand foot traffic effectively and last longer than other types. Use synthetic sealants instead of oil-based products if possible because they can make decks prone to mildew.

  • Never Use Paint

Some homeowners prefer using paint as a stain or sealant for their decks. Even if paint can make your deck look appealing, it’s never a good idea. The reason behind it is that your paint can make your deck look distressed and old in the long run. Also, once you decide to reseal your deck, you have to get rid of the paint, which can be a time-consuming process.

  • Schedule Deep Cleaning Yearly

Another deck maintenance tip to remember is to schedule deep cleaning yearly. Hiring deck cleaning professionals can efficiently and quickly restore your deck. Even if you provide regular maintenance for your deck, it’s still useful to have it professionally cleaned once in a while to save your precious and get it extra clean.

  • Do Regular Inspections

To maintain your deck effectively, you need to do inspections regularly to check for any breakage. You may do inspections by checking your deck’s surface. Ensure that there are no loose or cracked boards.

If you notice that boards are lifting up, the screws are probably loose. The solution for this is to tighten the screws properly. You should also check the joints and support posts to ensure that there’s no water damage and your deck is in good shape.

Bottom Line

Regardless of your preferred deck for your home, always keep the above guidelines in mind to know the steps when building And maintaining a deck. A carefully-built and well-maintained deck won’t only add valuable living space to your property but also boost your home’s value. Just ensure to use the best materials and have an annual maintenance schedule so that your deck will last for years.

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About the Author: McKenna Tucker