I have built 36 decks in my lifetime, all of them made of wood. There are more than 36 happy people as their extended families enjoy them also. Therefore, building decks brings smiles.
MANY TYPES AND MATERIALS
Decks made of stone or concrete are called patios. Some made od steel or wrought iron are called more by their purpose than how used, e.g., stairways built to climb to a decking area and then decend on the other sid of tracks or roads, are usually made of steel for strength and have walkways to span over the road or tracks, with some seating supplied for resting.
Wooden decks are usually found in home residences or restarunts. For homes they may be a stopping point before an access point. Or they could be for a gathering place for family and friends, My wife mainly uses ours for plants and flowers, which make a cookout more fragrant and pleasing to the eye. We have over 500 square feet of decking covering 2 sides of our house, including a stairway for our dogs to access a play/run area on a grassed, fenced enclosure.
Then there are decks made of composite materials for longer, color fast, hidden fastener appearence.
FAVORITE PLACES TO FIND DECK MATERIALS
NOTE: this is in the USA.
- HOME DEPOT
- AKIN BUILDING SUPPLIES
- ACE HARDWARE
- TRUE VALUE HARDWARE
Some of these have deck building plans. Home Depot has plans and kits available.
After using a Home Depot kit, I change my deck designs to a cantlevered design for an airy look, less materials and sturdy construction. I get the most smiles with this design.
A few things I hve learned while building decks on different types of terrain:
- Make sure to check your building codes!
- If your design is different from the normal, have your city/county engineer check and approve/change design to assure if you need a permit, you can get one.
- Most designs call for concrete support piers to be installed. I have found that in my area with mostly a clay base, it is more effective to use a ‘floating’ support design. This requires a surface concrete block upon which the support posts are mounted and allows for concrtaction/expansion of the soil to lift or settle the deck at support points. I have had NO problems with this flexible design, whether attached to the respective building or not, though I have used it for 25 years or more.
- When storing your lumber while in the construction phase, make sure it is supported so it will not warp even when weather is bad. This is especially needed when using pressure treated lumber as it is usually still wet from the treatment and will warp as it dries. Placing both supports under the lumber and weights on top to keep it straight will save you from losing boards through warping and twisting.
- DO NOT stain the wood until it has weathered at least 3 months; one year is better. This way the treating solution will not affect the absorbition factor when applying to deck.
- Using exterior tourque screws is more costly than nails, but they stay in place, resisting movement which can occur with nails over time with movement of traffic on the deck.
- Lastly – ENJOY!
Warren G. Blaisure