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Building a deck is a big project that requires a lot of planning. Before you begin, there are a lot of variables to consider. Are you permitted to build a deck in your county? Where will you build your deck? What size should your deck be? Once these questions have been answered, you can tackle your design plan.
The first step, before even considering building a deck, or getting too creative, is to verify deck requirements and restrictions. Contact your local building department or homeowners' association to see if decks are permitted. Once you know the regulations, apply for a permit. Once you have been approved, the next step is the location of your deck.
Common deck designs are typically connected directly to a house or separated which is called a free standing deck. Free standing decks can go anywhere in your yard, so if you enjoy being surrounded by nature or the garden, a free standing deck may be the choice for you. Another vital factor to consider is the access to the deck. Make sure that the deck is easily accessible. Do you want to have access from the back door? Is there a path that goes to the deck?
Once you have a general idea of where you want to build, determine size and function. If you are going to entertain, a bigger deck would suit you and your guests. However, if you are looking for a comfortable retreat, a smaller deck would be just fine. Also consider railing and door placement. Make sure your railings clear your windows, or if you have swinging doors, be sure they clear the railings.
Logistics are set, but what style of deck do you want? A deck with few architectural lines offers a contemporary look, but a deck with lots of grain lines is more traditional. For a more modern style, consider sleek metal balusters. When it comes to materials, you have many options. Using treated lumber is most sturdy, durable and cost efficient. Composite decking offers design flexibility, durability and less maintenance. This is a great option for extreme climates. Wood decks will need to be weather sealed and stained more often. Lighter colors should be used in areas with more direct sunlight, the darker the wood, the more heat is absorbed in the decking.
There you have it. A few things to consider before you start building your deck. Watch part 2 of Lowe's How to Build a Deck series at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vuGt2xg62Y
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