Home Building Tip#3: Tips & Tricks for Building and Designing your Deck

How not to Turn Decking into a Catastrophe 

painted grey deck and balustradedeck with in-built seating

Image source: ofdesign.net

Extending your living space by adding a deck to your home is a great Australian tradition. The key to success is factoring in all the critical design issues, picking the right material for your budget, climate, lifestyle, and building a structure that will stand the test of time. Decks add value to your home, and create a familiar, often inviting and relaxing environment for you and yours.

Unfortunately, many home owners fail to make the right decisions when it comes to building a deck. There’s more to building a deck than just selecting a style or deciding on materials. If you want to increase the appeal of your home by adding a deck, we’ve compiled a list of must-know tips and tricks you should keep in mind to ensure that your project will be successful.


Before Building Begins: 5 Important Considerations

If you’re getting ready to build a new deck, it’s important to factor in a few essential elements that can determine whether or not your project will really be successful.


1.     Let Your Outdoor Lifestyle Dictate Size, Shape, and Features

Before you select materials or choose a deck style, think about what your day-to-day lifestyle is all about. If you want a space for you and yours to gather and spend some quality time together, choose a deck that can accommodate a small coffee table, chairs, and even ottomans. Are you the type who loves luxury? Measure your ideal luxury furniture options, and build the deck so there is room to accommodate everything. A deck can be the perfect pairing for an outdoor spa, kitchen, fire-pit or fountain.


2.    The Budget

Decks tend to be quite expensive, so you’ll want to spend some time researching your available options. Your budget will directly impact the type of materials you’ll use for the deck, and will also determine how big your deck will be.

Raised decks will also be more expensive than close to the ground timber decks. If your space requires a raised deck, leave room in the budget for additional expenses such as concrete footings, hand rails & treads.

 deck with fencing


3.    Consider the Bushfire Risk Area Requirements

If your property has been identified as a bushfire risk area, there are limitations on the use of materials used in deck construction. If you're located in NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service offers a map and planning information and a  reputable building expert can help you find the codes for your particular area.


hardwood deck with steel frameoiled hardwood deck 

            Steel Frame -  Hardwood Deck                           Oiled Hardwood Deck


4.    What Type of Maintenance Plan Fits Your Lifestyle?

Once you've chosen the type of material that is suitable for local codes and regulations, it’s time to consider maintenance requirements.

  • Waterproofing
  • Timber Alternatives
  • Painted or Oiled

Low maintenance decks usually involve a composite material, while natural woods will require more maintenance to guard from sun and water damage. Wood plastic materials are also an option, as is treated pine.


extend your outdoor living space with bifold doors and a deck

 Picture credit: http://www.decoist.com

5.    Will You Be Installing a Roof Above the Deck?

If exposed to excessive moisture or sun, your deck may start to weaken, affecting the longevity of your investment. If you are considering a roof for your deck, be sure to check with local council for codes and approval requirements.


Tips & Tricks When Having Your Deck Built

Night Time Use?

Will you be entertaining at night? If so, consider installing built-in floor lights for a well-lit entertaining area.

deck with inbuilt lighting for safety and aestheticslighting built in to decking stairs for safety

                    Image by Homedit.com                                                          Picture credit: http://www.ufpi.com


Don’t Choose the Cheapest Material

restored deck by rochester

Picture credit: Rochester Deck

If your budget can’t afford an expensive material, don’t choose the material based on price alone, especially if it’s timber. This can result in a brand new deck turning into a very ugly deck after just one season. Consider treatment options to keep all timber in top shape, or alternative materials such as treated pine or composite materials.


Let Treated Pine Decks Season

If you’ve chosen a treated pine deck, don’t apply the finish immediately. Instead, wait about a few weeks to let the pine season, otherwise the finish may chip in a few months.

When buying stain for your timber deck, always factor in the level of absorption of the timber. The higher the level of absorption, the darker the deck will be. If you’re aiming at a lighter colour, make sure you select a stain that’s one or two shades lighter to prevent it from turning darker.

treated pine deck and plantersstained treated pin decking 

Picture credit:houzz.com                                             Photo credit: http://rhsblog.co.uk

Turn Your Deck into an Extension of Your Home

bi-fold doors open onto deck - extend your space 

Break down the boundaries between indoor and outdoor areas so that the outdoor area flows from the main house as an extension to an outdoor living space. If possible, build a deck that’s the same height as your home’s floor to give the illusion of an extension. The height of the deck can be subject to Council Approval.

Use Pavers to Extend the Deck

paved deckingtiled balcony with glass balustrades  

  Image source:  Infinitydrain.com                                                             Tiled deck with glass handrails


Thanks to their versatility, pavers can add visual appeal and help you amp up the look of your deck. Adding pavers to your deck area can add dimension and personality to your outdoor living space.


Turn Your Deck into an Outdoor Paradise

add a spa bath to your outdoor deckextend your kitchen outdoors

   Picture from-http://www.popsugar.com                                         Image source:  Stegbar.com.au

With proper planning and design, an addition of a deck can add significant value to a home. Don't be afraid to dress it up with a Spa, BBQ area, ceiling fans, hanging chairs, vertical gardens, and more.

Adding Value to your Property

A well-presented outdoor living area whether timber, timber tiles or paving will generally add 10%-15% to the value of your home.  Today’s homeowner’s put outdoor spaces among the most important aspect of a new home, especially when the deck has been correctly built. 

 | Comments (3)

Comments (3)

  1. Kira Parkes:
    Jan 02, 2017 at 04:23 PM

    Useful article, thanks! Definitely, if you are building a deck, first research all the materials you plan to use, are they easy to care for, and are long lasting. Next, take advantage of free, online, design tools, some will even provide you with drawings that you can then bring to your builder. Keep the rest of your home in mind, and what will be the main function of this part of your home. And do not forget to think about the traffic flow so moving around the deck would not be cluttered. Read more: http://www.restumping-melbourne.com.au/designing-perfect-deck-summer/

  2. Jocelyn McDonald:
    May 11, 2018 at 02:21 PM

    My husband and I have been considering adding a deck to our home, but we aren't really sure where to start. I really appreciated how in your article you detailed many different things to consider before building a deck. I hadn't even thought about installing a roof above the deck, but since we live in an area with frequent rain I will definitely have to consider this when deciding how to design a future deck.

  3. Brian Babbidge:
    May 13, 2018 at 11:34 PM

    Hi Jocelyn,

    So happy we were able to be of assistance in the future building of your deck. We are based in Brisbane, but have many years experience within NSW (18 to be exact), so if you find you need some more insight before proceeding and live in either of these Australian states, we would be more than happy to help you further. Good luck! Stay in touch, we'd love to see the end result :) Brian

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