How to Build an Outdoor Patio or Deck

Outdoor patios and decks are the ultimate summer projects. Imagine coming home from work and kicking back on a beautiful outdoor patio. This type of project isn’t as difficult as you might think, and probably less expensive than you anticipated.

With the technology takeover, it can be hard to stay present and enjoy your surroundings. Soaking in time outside can bring peace in a hectic and fast-paced lifestyle. By building your own backyard patio, you can take time for yourself and relax. Plus, decks and patios add value to your home which is a nice added benefit.

Beautiful Deck

Planning a Patio Project

Before you tackle this project, you need to have a plan in place. There are many different options, which makes the planning stage not only an important part of the project, but the most enjoyable.

When planning your deck, think of all the potential activities that will happen. These types of activities could include sunbathing, cookouts and barbecues, entertaining guests, parties, and simply relaxing. Plan out how much space will be required for your deck, so you can use it to its full potential.

Placing certain items is also crucial to consider. For instance, if you need to place a hot tub, barbecue, activities, and furniture, you’ll want to ensure there is enough space. Thinking about all the details for your future patio or deck will save you a lot of money. In addition, you can always add to your deck later if your budget won’t allow it at the time.

Couple Planning Project

The Aesthetic of your Dreams

Consider the different possible shapes that would accommodate various areas and that would enhance the beauty of both your deck and your home. Keep in mind, special shapes do require more work and are more expensive. However, it might be worth it in the end.

DIY or Hire a Contractor?

Once you have made your decision, you will need to pay attention to some details. First, you will decide whether to build it yourself, or hire a contractor. The next step is to find out what permits and requirements you will need to build a deck on your home. For example, most places require termite protection.

If you are going to hire a contractor, they will likely obtain all the necessary permits and already know the requirements of the process. If your contractor advises you not to bother with the expense of obtaining a permit, this is a red flag – it would be best to consult a different contractor. The headache you will have down the road from not having obtained the proper permits are not worth the money you’d save in the present.

Deck Construction

Deciding on Materials

The next step is choosing the materials for your deck. Some deck materials include treated lumber, redwood, cedar, and many other varieties of wood. One major factor to consider is the region in which you live. Certain climates impact the decision you will want to make on materials. Also, it is crucial to choose a material that will last long. If you buy cheap materials, then you will not get the results you want. You get what you pay for, which is why choosing a high-quality wood for your deck is optimal.

Tackling the Project

If you are going to build your deck yourself, you will still need permits. First check local building codes, regulations and zoning restrictions – these may restrict your options. There are also a lot of how to guides out there that can help you with each stage of the process.

Next, decide where you want to locate your new deck: off the kitchen, living room or family room makes a big difference, indoors and out. Decks on the north and east side of your house will get less sun and more cooling breezes. Take time to study sun and shadow patterns, see how they vary with the seasons before settling on a site. Terrain will dictate whether you should build a grade-level deck, which stands on its own just a few inches above the ground, or a higher raised deck. Also, don’t forget about stairs.

When contemplating how big your deck should be, follow these steps: Measure your patio furniture and add enough room for pulling out chairs and walking around. A minimum of 5 feet by 6 feet allows two people to sit and relax beside a table but is cramped if anyone else comes along. If money is a problem, start small and add on as your family and budget grows.

Building a deck yourself will give you an enormous sense of pride and even more enjoyment knowing you built it. However, it requires skills you may not have. It is not advisable to build your own deck if you are not familiar with building and carpentry.

Building Deck

Timeline for a Deck Construction

The amount of time it takes to construct a deck depends on how big and elaborate the project is. For most decks, you can expect to spend a weekend digging and pouring footings, another weekend for erecting posts, beams and joists, and a third weekend for installing stairs, decking and railings.








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