Decking Design Considerations
April 9, 2011 2 Comments
Hiline Builders Inc.
is proud to announce our recent certification as a “Timbertech” brand decking “Elite Contractor”
Having over 30 years in the construction industry has enabled us to become one of the areas premier design firms for all of your residential construction needs.
With spring almost here many of us are contemplating home improvements to enhance outdoor living capabilities.
With so many options to choose from, getting past the conceptual design phase can be a daunting task.
Taking a step by step approach helps to simplify the process.
The first step is to determine what features you would like to incorporate. Some examples include- an outdoor kitchen, perhaps with a full range of appliances including a gas grill, sink, refrigerator, wine cooler, flat screen tv, etc. And maybe partial covering for those extreme heat days.
Some of the other features you may want to include to maximize functionality might be- night lighting, extra reinforcement to support the weight of a jacuzzi. Perhaps a bar complete with bar seating.
The list is endless but I think I’ve made my point.
In short- step 1, Determine the desired features and functionality.
It helps to work with a professional through the planning stages so your budget can be closely monitored as the scheme progresses.
This way you can be assured that the proposed project is within your means or you can make the necessary adjustments if needed.
The next step would be to make sure the design is consistent with the existing architecture and landscape.
You want the finished product to be aesthetically pleasing as well as accessible and easy to maintain. Multi-level decking can accentuate sloped landscapes.
You might consider locating the outdoor kitchen as close to the living area as possible.This makes those multiple trips to the grill for spicing and food rotation much easier. I often find myself watching my favorite sporting events in my favorite recliner while the food is cooking so I’m glad the grill is close to the door for minimal interruptions. Strategic paths of travel should also be considered.
Place stairs down to the lawn, pool, or lower level decking in strategic spots to maximize flow.
There are unlimited choices of deck and patio surfaces to suit your needs, including various finishes of concrete,(broomed, stamped, acid stained, etc.). Composite decking and exotic woods are also an option.
I recommend avoiding redwood decking altogether. My take on redwood is-
this is what was used in the old days when the choices were very limited.
As beautiful as a brand new redwood deck can be, rest assured it’s only a matter of time before it becomes grey and ugly and the decaying process begins. Especially if it’s located in direct sunlight or subject to extreme moisture.
Redwood decking requires constant maintenance to avoid deterioration and unsightliness and has a relatively short lifespan compared to more modern options.
I see redwood as better suited as majestic trees in our ever diminishing forests.
Some of the new composite materials like Timbertech come with a 25 year warranty. A life span far beyond the capacity of redwood.
Some of the things you want to avoid are making your deck area too large and disproportionate with the site. Take advantage of perimeter space where you can enhance your design with colorful plantings or other border features.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve removed existing decks that were very poorly planned with the travel from decks to pools and lawns being mazelike.
Avoid standing features that obstruct existing views and natural lighting to windows. Be sure to incorporate plenty of electrical outlets for small appliances. The last thing you want is extension cords running across your deck or hanging from the rafters. Especially at social gatherings where they can become a real hazard.
Make sure to allow for proper drainage! I can’t emphasize this enough. This includes roof drainage, proper slopes for rain water to flow off decks and patios, and diversion of drains for planters that are situated on decks.
Standing water on or near a deck is a structures worst enemy. Apply careful planning for lawn irrigation so as not to flow on to decks or walkways.
Stay tuned for our followup feature on some more specific design considerations for Timbertech brand decking. Feel free to check out their website at http://www.timbertech.com for deck plans, product selections, and a cool photo gallery to inspire creative ideas.
If you live in the Sacramento area and would like to see “hands on” samples of Timbertech products call us and we’ll bring them along with product literature to your home.
Hiline Builders Inc 916 962-2828 or shoot us an email
Enjoy the season!