Considering a deck for your home? Homes across the United States feature this amazing outdoor feature for a good reason. Decks are a place to gather. They can be a place to extend your living space. They can even be a place to cook outdoors. Decks have a greater versatility too. They can be connected to your home, floating, next to a pool, or even act as an entry/exit point. No matter what you envision doing with the deck, you’ll want to know some of the crucial components needed to put it together. In this article, we explore just that, along with the biggest question homeowners have, whether to choose vinyl/ composite decking or wood.
Parts of a Deck
Whether you’re constructing a deck on your own or having a professional do it for you, knowing the parts of a deck can also help you understand the building process. Each of the components found on a deck is necessary to create a strong structure capable of withstanding heavy winds, the change of seasons, and tons of foot traffic. Below we go through the crucial components you’ll find with any decking system, regardless of the materials you use.
To give your deck the best foundation possible, you’ll need to consider the footing. Most decks feature poured concrete footings as anchors. They could also be poured directly into the ground with wood attached. Determine how deep a footing will need to be placed; it will depend on building codes and your region.
After the footings have been placed, the posts can be attached. Posts are the support beams that lift the deck off the ground. Depending on How high up you want your deck will determine how high these posts need to be. You’ll want to consider certain factors like airflow and accessibility. If you don’t give yourself enough room, it could make the decks underneath unavailable. This could become a problem if you need to perform maintenance.
You can think of Joyce as a framework. Similarly to how a home builder will create a wall, the joists are quite similar. This component of your deck will support the deck boards. Most deck builders will opt for pressure-treated framing for hardwood decking. This is because joists run vertically. Boards placed vertically won’t have to worry about water pooling or excessive wood rot.
Get a picture of any deck in your mind. Have it? The most visible horizontal section is the deck boards. Deck boards are what you walk on. When your deck builder installs the boards, it’s important that natural wood acclimates to its surroundings. Failure to do so could cause warping and inconsistent gaps between each board. Composite decking doesn’t have to worry about this as it does not expand or contract.
How many stairs will you include? This is completely up to the homeowner how many they would like to include. Many codes indicate that having at least one stair is necessary due to the potential for fire hazards and the need for escape. Stairs will need to be as tall as the deck and can be configured in several ways. You can choose a narrow staircase simply to access the deck, or you can choose more elaborate designs such as wraparound steps, steps that gradually get bigger as they get closer to the floor, etc.
Railings are critical to the safety of your deck and those that use it. We recommend choosing your railings carefully. You could opt for simple wood railings that match your wooden deck, or you can upgrade to a vinyl option. It’s important that the railing be secured properly with proper hardware.
A Drainage System
If you’re using wood as the main component for your deck, a drainage system will be crucial. It is also good to install a drainage system to prevent rainwater from pooling next to your home. The design of most decks allows for water to flow between the slats of the deck boards. But where will the water go from there? Your contractor can designate a drainage system that works best for your unique situation.
Fasteners and Other Hardware
To put everything together, you’ll need to have the correct hardware and fasteners available. Many professional deck installers opt for hidden fasteners. Because there are no screw heads, they give the deck a beautiful look that is uncompromised by drilling into the deck boards and posts. Essentially, hidden fasteners give you a high-end look whether you’re using composite or wood.
Composite Versus Wood Debate
All the materials listed above will be needed to create a deck, regardless of the size or shape. But there is one highly debatable part of deck installation you’ll need to consider. This is whether or not to choose wood or composite deck materials. Each has its own advantage and is well worth looking into.
Wood is the cheapest option for decking materials. Though when the price of wood was extremely high, it was nearly the same price as composite. On normal days, wood is the more inexpensive choice. But it’s not without compromises. Wood needs to be treated periodically to maintain its look and prevent wood rut. That means you’ll need to stain or paint it periodically. Would also have the disadvantage of splintering or cracking.
Composite decks don’t require any of this. They are minimal maintenance, don’t require painting, and there are no splinters. The greatest downside of composite decking is that it costs more. But the trade-off is composite decking will last for a very long time. Composite decking is typically constructed with a metal frame such as aluminum. This is incredibly sturdy, resistant to rust, and looks fantastic.
No matter which you choose, vinyl or composite, decks are a wonderful addition to any home. They add value and usability and in general, make a home’s backyard feel more inviting. Remember, if you want a well-built deck for your home, consider a professional Deck Builder Near Me. Make sure they are licensed, insured, and have proof of the work they do. Don’t be scared to ask for references.
We hope you found this blog post on The Critical Components of Decking and How to Choose The Perfect Deck useful. Be sure to check out our post on Home Improvement: How a Deck Can Be Your Stress Reliever for more great tips!
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