In architecture, a deck is a flat surface capable of supporting weight, similar to a floor, but typically constructed outdoors, often elevated from the ground, and usually connected to a building. The term is a generalization from the deck of a ship.
Building a deck is one of the most common home improvement projects.
Adding a deck to your home and backyard requires significant planning to ensure your deck meets the codes and standards required within your area. While it involves a hefty amount of planning, the end result is worth it, giving you a beautiful structure that you can enjoy for years to come.
Deck planning involves more than just mapping out the aesthetics of the type and style of deck you want to build. We live in a climate that's warm several months out of the year; a deck may be the answer to extending the enjoyment you get from outdoor living. Decide how you'd like to use the deck. It’s important to be sure that your deck plan meets local building codes, as well as the code requirements for decks in your area. Before you even consider breaking ground on your new deck, you’ll need to check with your local homeowner’s association (HOA) to see if they have any specific requirements for decks, as well as connect with local building offices in your area to be sure your new structure meets standards.
Working with a licensed contractor can also make the process much easier. They can help to guide you through the process of submitting your building plan to the proper authorities, as well as lend their expertise to the construction of your new deck.
If you’re in the early stages of planning your deck project, check out this collection of articles to give you pointers for finding and choosing a deck contractor, understanding property lines and easements, and how to obtain the proper permits, as well as making sure your deck meets all codes and requirements.
Decide how you'd like to use the deck. Once you have a vision for its purpose and function, it'll be easier to design. Here are a few ways your deck could function in your yard:
Attached or Stand-a-lone deck -
Are you debating with yourself over building an attached vs. freestanding deck, trying to visualize how both will look next to your home?
The good news is you won’t be able to tell them apart while you’re standing on your deck. Both create a beautiful extension of your home and a place to enjoy spending time with friends and family. Today, these two types of decks are going head-to-head so you can discover the advantages and disadvantages of both. Plus, we’ll also share our two cents on what we believe is the better choice.
An attached deck, also known as a ledgered deck, is secured to your home using a ledger board, so it relies on both structural posts and your house framing for support.
For several safety reasons, attaching a deck ledger to a stone or brick veneer is not permitted by code in most municipalities. But many building departments are now accepting decks with ledger boards attached through the exterior and into the house’s framing – with specialized fasteners designed for this purpose.
Freestanding decks are the most common and are separate from your home, relying entirely on structural posts for stability.
Deck Footing Depth
One of the most critical aspects of building a freestanding deck (or any type for that matter) is making sure the footings are installed below frost level. Doing so will ensure your deck doesn’t shift during freeze-thaw cycles.
Freestanding Deck Height
Also, consider the height you’d like to build your deck. The lower it is to the ground, the less you’ll have to worry about it swaying. But that problem can be significantly reduced with taller decks using diagonal sway bracing.
Building an attached vs. freestanding deck will cost about the same for many homes with siding. Even though you have fewer structural posts to install when using a ledger, removing the siding, installing the ledger board, and attaching the flashing takes time.
Things get more labor attentive when you need to drill through the brick veneer to attach the ledger to your home’s rim joist with the BVLZ. It can cost approx. $1,500 – $2,500 more, depending on the deck’s size and design.
A freestanding vs. attached deck, what is the better choice?
Well, the best type of deck for your home will depend on various factors, including the design of your deck, the style of your house siding, the deck’s proposed height, and the need for space underneath. But an experienced deck builder will reliably be able to build either and have it last for decades. However, if you aren’t planning on installing a patio underneath, an attached deck has few major benefits. That, on top of the potential for water damage, is why we typically recommend building a freestanding deck.
Your budget will determine the size, design, and materials of your deck. Add in permits and labor if you're going to have it designed and built by a professional. Also consider the extras that you hope to have on your deck, such as flowerboxes, railings, built-in seating, and lighting. There is various different build option that can affect any one build. There is no cookie cutter deck build with a price per squire ft. It is all custom construction and it all of the build options has a cost to them.
Designing your Oklahoma deck involves understanding five important factors: use, function, shape, size, aesthetics and materials. The style of your deck may be dictated by the design of your house. A deck should complement your home rather than compete with its architecture. For example, a round or curved deck with intricately carved railings may look out of place on some homes but may look better on other styles. Follow the lines, proportions and architecture of your house, so it's a natural and seamless extension of your home.
Use – How you plan on using your deck is the number one feature when determining design. Your deck should function for current use, as well as future use. If you plan on adding an outdoor kitchen or firepit later, then you will need extra bracing beneath the deck for support. Outdoor kitchens or a spa can weigh several hundred pounds.
Size – A wonderful benefit of custom decks is their ability to be built in any shape or size. Small, medium, or large the size of your deck depends completely on your needs and budget. Many decks are built over existing concrete and can extend as far as you need.
Function – Is your deck strictly serving as an entertainment area or will it serve other functions? The main purpose of having a deck is to extend your outdoor living area to provide a comfortable place to entertain or just relax. If your deck also needs to serve other functions, like covering cracked concrete or leveling out a sloped yard, then that will need to be incorporated into the design.
Aesthetics – The beauty of your deck is a very important feature. It should be designed to complement your outdoor environment and add value to your home.
Deck Frames - The underside of any deck or its framing is most important -
It is what does all the heavy lifting. Using wood framing materials outside the frame is exposed to the weather and today more and more building code requirements are required to help the wooden framing member withstand the weather with the wind, humidity, precipitation and to help keep the wood from wood rot.
Deck framing materials are traditionally constructed of wood framing members but today we blur the lines with more metal framing members.
Deck Covering - The three main wood materials used to construct outdoor decks are cedar, redwood and pressure-treated wood. Redwood and cedar are normally rot and insect resistant. Each type needs to be re-stained every 3 – 5 years. Wood is not the only available decking material available. More materials are on the market to help you build a deck that needs less maintenance than wood. Choices for decking include wood, plastic, or metal:
Pressure – Treated wood is typically softwood lumber that is chemically treated to resist insect and weather damage. Built for durability and function, a beautiful outdoor deck can add value to your home. Perfect for grilling, relaxing or a spirited game of cards. But has a tendency to disfigure or warp. Mainly due to its chemically process.
Many homeowners are surprised when they are told they need to get a permit in order to build a deck. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s well worth the small investment of time and money to ensure your deck is built to code standards and in compliance with local regulations
For a residential deck, the code requires it be designed to support a minimum 40-psf live load.
The International Building Code (IBC) regulates deck additions attached to commercial buildings
When building a deck, you should know if your property has easements or property line limitations which may limit where you can build.
Some housing developments are a part of a Home Owners Associations (HOA) that requires you to receive permission from them before building a deck...
Foundation. The purpose of a foundation is to provide lateral stability, distribute the load to the ground, and create a level building surface.
What's a deck footing?
Deck footings are bases for the support posts and keep them in place throughout the years. Footings generally consist of a concrete base or pillar installed underground below the frost line to which a support post is inserted or attached to via a bracket. Deck footings must be installed below the frost line in a region to prevent swaying and movement throughout the freeze and thaw weather cycles of the year.
Why are deck footings important?
Deck footings help to spread the weight load of the deck from the top of the support posts to a more concentrated, solid setting in the soil. The more deck footings your deck frame has, the more evenly distributed your weight load will be.
How deep do footings for a deck need to be?
Footings for deck frames must be driven down into the ground below the frost line to avoid any movement or shifting throughout the seasonal changes.
Brings outdoor living to new heights and provides the framework for your outdoor room. Offered in a variety of sizes as well as custom shapes and sizes
We build all types of awnings, arbors, pergolas, porches, pavilions, sunrooms and screen rooms and more
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