With spring rapidly approaching, our hearts and minds are turning to thoughts of warmer, longer days. You may be eagerly awaiting the chance to hang out on your deck with friends and family on lazy summer afternoons and evenings. Or, you may be wishing you could spend time on your deck, but you know it needs some work first. Perhaps you don’t even have a deck yet.
Spring and summer will be here before you know it, so now is the time to plan any deck work you need to be ready for the excellent weather that’s coming. The expert builders at Dupont Construction are here to help with outdoor deck designs and full deck replacement.
How Do I Know if I Need a Deck Replacement?
Your deck pretty much takes the biggest beating out of any part of your house. It’s exposed to the elements year-round like your roof and siding are, but it also has people, pets, furniture, and grills on it. Foot traffic, pet accidents, and grease from the BBQ all take a toll on your beautiful outdoor space.
The North American Deck and Railing Association estimates that more than 40 million American decks are at least 20 years old. This age puts many of them in a danger zone. Depending on your deck’s age, materials, and quality of installation, it may be time to consider replacing it. Here are five things to check as you decide whether or not it is time for a new deck.
- Are the footings sound? If they are heaving above the grade, they are too shallow, and you need to replace them with deeper ones. Shallow footings lead to a warped and unstable deck.
- Is the lumber treated or untreated? If the original deck materials have a tell-tale green tinge, then they were treated with preservatives and are likely to last longer. The wood may also have a CCA label or a stamp that says .40 treated. Either of these markings indicates that you have treated wood. If not, it’s probably time to replace.
- Is there rot in any of the decking material? Check the beams, joists, and deck boards for soft places that indicate the wood is rotting. In particular, check any spots where the wood comes into contact with the ground. Use a screwdriver to see if you can push through any areas of the wood. Any bad areas need replacing, and if it is a widespread problem, you may need an entire deck replacement.
- Do the railings shake when you hold onto them? Loose handrails and railings are a significant safety hazard, especially for young children and the elderly. If yours feel wobbly, it’s possible that other parts of the deck are unsound as well. It may be time to look at a new structure.
- Does it serve your purposes? If your deck is ill-equipped for the entertainment you enjoy, or if the configuration doesn’t work with your space, you may want to start fresh with a brand new design that will provide you with exactly what you want.
Hundreds of injuries occur every year due to failing decks. Before grilling weather arrives, have the pros at Dupont give your deck a check-up to see if it needs any repairs or maintenance. And if you do need a whole new structure, we can handle that too.
Starting from Scratch? Here Are Some Top Outdoor Deck Design Ideas to Consider
- Add some curves. No rule says decks need to be square or rectangular. If you have a very angular outdoor space, you might enjoy the look of a curved deck to add some visual variety. You can configure today’s composite decking materials any way you like.
- Work around your plant life. Do you have a stately tree growing right where you want a deck? Build the tree into your design and build around it. This plan can provide shade and a gorgeous natural element to your outdoor space. Do you have planters you love? Be sure to craft a deck design that allows room for those as well.
- Enclose it. If you can’t get enough of being outside on your deck, consider enclosing it to make a four-season room, or screen porch. This option gives your versatility and extra living space all year long.
- Go multi-level. For sloped yards or vast expanses, a tiered deck can be a great choice. Different levels use space efficiently to accommodate large groups, and if you have a vast area to cover, tiers help create visual interest. It is rather dull to look at a gigantic, flat deck. But multiple levels in the same space look fantastic.
- Add a retaining wall. For a ground-level deck, think about adding a retaining wall on one or two sides to make it look like a living area. A wall provides structure, privacy, and some protection from the weather. It can also be a place to add vertical planters for some added color and greenery.
- Honor the grill. If you enjoy grilling regularly but don’t want to give up valuable deck space, consider a grill bump-out in your deck design. This unique space gives you room to cook without being in the way of guests. Providing your grill with its own space also makes your deck safer as it keeps the cooking space out of the high-traffic areas, so there is less likelihood of a little one running into the BBQ and getting injured.
- Go for a floating deck. Adding a deck space at ground level away from the main house is a fun idea. Detached deck spaces can go around trees or be tucked into a corner of the yard to take advantage of a shady area. Low-level floating decks look great and can be an affordable way to add an exciting element to your yard.
Dupont Construction is a family-owned business with 2 decades of experience. Our work is our word, and we are honored to serve local homeowners in redesigning and replacing their decks so they can enjoy their outdoor spaces safely all year long. Give us a call for a free estimate.