London’s Local Hardware & Building Supply Specialists

How to Plan a Deck: Thinking Through Design & Layout

Article courtesy of TIMBERTECH

Considering adding a deck to your home? A deck gives you a beautiful, functional outdoor living space where you can enjoy the great outdoors without leaving behind all the comforts of home. To learn how to plan a deck, you’ll need to think through several factors, from cost considerations right down to installation.

To plan for your deck project, start by thinking through these important factors.


Step 1: Decide if You’ll DIY or Work With a Contractor

DIY - DIY-ing your deck will save you on labor costs, but it also may influence certain factors of your build based on your skillset and time constraints.
Work With a Contractor - Working with a contractor will add to your overall deck costs but a contractor’s skillset and equipment better ensures your deck will meet your needs and aesthetic preferences — and is built up to code. Plus, you’ll avoid doing the work yourself.

Step 2: Consider Cost Factors

The cost to build a deck will depend primarily on the following factors:

Labor - Typically the greatest portion of your deck building cost.

Design - The more complex your design (think a herringbone pattern or unique inlay), the more you will pay in labor costs.

Substructure - If you already have a substructure that’s in good shape, you can save some money by just replacing the boards on top.

Materials - Price will vary depending on whether you choose capped composite or capped polymer decking, plus which collection you pick within a given product line.

Additional Costs: Will Your Deck Require Pre-Work?
Pre-work refers to any work that needs to happen prior to your deck build to ensure the success of your project. These measures can affect the cost of your build, as well as the time it takes to complete.
Examples include:
•    An existing substructure that needs to be torn down.
•    Landscaping work to clear or level the area your deck will be built.
•    Addressing any jobsite access restraints.

Step 3: Determine Deck Shape & Size

To think through the right size and shape for your build, you’ll need to consider several factors, including:

Deck Function - How do you primarily plan to use your deck? A low, sprawling deck will suit large gatherings, but might not give you the cozy feel you want for a quiet retreat.   
Home Architectural Style - Your deck should complement your home exterior both in size and shape. To keep it simple, a classic rectangle is a good choice for any style of home.  
Yard Layout - Space available in your yard as well as existing features such as landscaping or a patio, pool, or a slope will all affect your deck size and shape.

Step 4: Decide on Deck Material

When considering your deck material options, you’ll want to think through not only the upfront price, but also long-term costs for maintenance and repairs or replacements.  
Your primary deck material choices include:

Traditional Wood - Includes pressure-treated lumber, softwoods like cedar, and hardwoods, like Ipe.
CHOOSE FOR: Regular maintenance (seriously). All traditional wood options will require costly, rigorous maintenance every year or two after installation, increasing your workload.
Composite/Vinyl - A blend of recycled wood and high-performance polymers, protected with a fully engineered cap and made from majority recycled material.
An enduringly beautiful deck with minimal upkeep.

Step 5: Acquire Your Residential Building Permit

Once you have a basic idea of your deck plan, the next step for how to plan a deck? Acquiring a building permit.
While every municipality is different, acquiring a permit usually requires submitting a drawing for approval to your local building codes department and then undergoing an inspection process. 
If you choose to work with a contractor, they will guide you through the permit acquisition process or secure the building permit for you.

Copp’s Buildall Outdoor Design Centre can work with you on all of these factors.  


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