The A-Z Of Deck Building
When you are building a deck, even if you are hiring a professional deck builder, you need to familiarize yourself with the deck building process. Part of the reason why clients and contractors often disagree with each other is because the clients were not familiar with all the work that will be involved to bring their project to fruition. Deck building can be a long process, and you need to be prepared for that. Here are the steps that need to be taken to build your deck.
Once you have gone through a rigorous process of selecting your preferred deck building contractor, they first thing that they will do is to assess the site that they will be working on. This is crucial for any major construction undertaking. They need to be familiar with the type of soil on your property, the gradient, the drainage system, the weather patterns in your locale, and your property size. This information will set the foundation of knowledge from which all the next steps will rely on.
Designing your deck
After your deck builder has familiarized him/herself with your site, they will sit with you to come up with the design for your deck. You need to inform them about the size and flexibility of your budget, your vision of what the deck should look like, the purpose of the deck and any customizations that they would need to include. The deck design will also be determined by the building materials that are readily available in your location (and your willingness to pay extra for hard to find materials).
Sourcing the required deck building permits.
Once you have agreed upon the final design blueprints for your deck, you and your contractor need to have the required building permits before construction can begin. Your design needs to be approved by your local municipality/council to ensure that it follows the necessary zoning laws and building codes. If your property is located within an area controlled by a home owners association (such as in a gated community), then they need to sign off on any major construction project. Depending on your location, you might also need to be approved by your local environmental protection agency. Usually your deck builder will handle the various permit approval processes.
Ground preparation and materials sourcing
Once you have the requisite building permits, you need to prepare your site for construction. This usually involves clearing the ground, carrying out the measurements for the deck and sourcing all the building materials and equipment. You also need to be aware of any utility lines (such as water pipes, gas lines and underground electric cables) that pass through your construction site and make arrangements to have them diverted.
Laying the foundation
The foundation is the most important step in the building process as your entire deck will be supported by it. Usually, the foundation has to be dug into the ground and concrete is used to ensure that it remains stable. As concrete is used, there is usually some time given (a few weeks, depending on the concrete mixture and the weather) to let it cure.
Erect the raised support platform
The defining feature for decks is that they are raised above ground. Once the foundation is set, you need to put in the support posts that will join the decking platform to the foundation on the ground. The preferred elevation of your deck (as per your design) determines the height of these posts. Once the posts are properly set up, you will use beams and joists to create the raised platform that will form your deck. The purpose of the beams and joists is to spread the overall weight of your deck.
Place the decking Material
The decking material serves as the floorboards for your deck. They need to be screwed down (or nailed) tightly to the supporting beams and joists. Once the decking material has been properly fastened, you then need to waterproof the entire structure (including the support posts, beams, and joists) to ensure that they are not ravaged by precipitation. You can also have them treated to avoid termite damage. You will then varnish or paint for aesthetic purposes. Finally, a sealant will be applied to improve the deck’s overall durability.
By the time you have finished working on the decking material, you already have a working deck. However, you may still require additional work depending on your design. If the deck is highly raised, then you need to construct a staircase for easy access. You can also include roofing if you want it to protect you from precipitation or intense sunlight. You can also add decorative elements to further customize your deck and make it reflect your personality.
Understanding the deck building process will help you have realistic expectations regarding the project duration. It will also help you better monitor the progress of your contractor.