Before undertaking a decking installation, there are several things that homeowners need to be aware of to ensure that their deck is legal, stable, meets their specific needs and will be a worthwhile project that adds value and enjoyment to the home. Here are some home deck considerations and tips to keep in mind when considering installing a new patio or deck.
Investigate Local Building Codes and Permit Requirements
Each province or township in Canada has its own set of regulations and restrictions concerning building codes and the need to obtain construction permits. Homeowners or their construction contractor will need to look into any specific code requirements and restrictions prior to moving forward with a decking installation, as they can vary tremendously between localities. Some building codes may have limitations concerning the size of the deck, materials used and locations that are acceptable, so it's essential to make this investigation a primary step before moving forward.
Decide Between Natural or Composite Decking Materials
One of the most important home decking considerations is for owners to determine which materials they'd prefer to use while keeping in mind what will complement their home's exterior and landscape. Today, there are many decking materials beyond wood, yet pressure treated lumber like pine remains the most popular currently due to its affordability and availability. However, hardwoods and weather-resistant woods like redwood, cypress, cedar and teak are gaining traction amid deck construction projects.
While most decks are still made of wood materials, more homeowners are realizing that the extra cost for composites or alternative decking materials may be worthwhile, as they typically require far less maintenance overall and have a longer lifespan. Composite decking is often made to look exactly like the most popular wood options and are considerably more Eco-friendly than wood. Other options for homeowners looking beyond traditional choices may find aluminum or plastic decking to be a viable alternative.
Design Decking to Meet the Family's Needs and Desires
South Calgary homeowners should have a clear idea of how the decking space will be utilized by deciding exactly why they want a deck and how often it will be used (summers only, year round, etc). Some of the most common reasons for adding a decking installation include:
- Creating a secondary outdoor living space.
- Entertaining guests and family.
- As a secondary dining space and/or an outdoor kitchen.
- Having a solid, level foundation for a spa or hot tub.
- Having a space for container gardening efforts.
These are all important factors when determining which materials to use in addition to the strategic placement of the decking installation.
Determining the Placement of Decking Installations
Canadian homeowners should give the climate in their region careful consideration when choosing a location for deck placement. Those in predominantly cooler climates may want to layout a deck where afternoon sun is plentiful while those in warmer areas may desire the opposite choice. However, it's often best to select a decking location that gets lots of shade during hours of primary use. For those amid a varietal climate, wrap around decks may offer the ideal solution. Other things to consider when choosing the placement of decking include:
- Lot Size
- Rain and Snow
- Privacy from Neighbours
- Proximity to the Home
- Access to Amenities (Pools, Grills, Spas, etc.)
- View (A Bonus When Possible!)
Before undertaking a decking installation project, homeowners will do themselves a huge service by contacting a local home improvement professional who understands the legalities in addition to how to ensure that projects will live up to their expectations and meet their needs.