Summer is right around the corner. You can already smell the kebabs on the barbie and feel that ice-cold beer in your hand as you relax on your beautiful timber deck… oh, wait… You don’t have one?

Well sit back, and let us convince you why adding a deck to your home is one of the best ideas you’ll have this summer.

A deck is like having a whole new room – sure it’s got no walls or roof, but that’s exactly what makes it so unique: outdoor living at its best. It also might seem obvious, but those walls and roof that you don’t have to build means this ‘room’ will cost you considerably less than any other room you could possibly dream up. Plus, it’s definitely something you can put on your DIY list. But, in saying that, even the simplest designs can cause a few headaches. Either way – DIY or hiring a professional – it’s good to know what to keep an eye out for when you make the decision to build.

Scope your space.

The first step when building something new is to allow yourself some space to dream. Let your imagination free and try to put yourself on your new deck: What’s there? A BBQ? An outdoor dining set? Chairs to lie back on and liaise with the sun? Where would these go and how much of the backyard are you willing to give up to have them there?

There’s no need to rush this process. Having a clear vision of where you’re heading is the surest way for the build to go as smooth as possible – whether DIY, or hiring professionals to do the job.

Choose good materials.

Decks exist outside so as that summer sun beats down day after day, and the wild thunderstorms soak everything from the ocean to the trees, there’s no doubt that your deck is going to take a beating. Not only do you want lasting materials, but the kind of materials you choose will also impact the look, and there’s nothing quite so satisfying as having a gorgeous looking deck.

Timber decking is no doubt the most obvious choice. Pressure-treated timber that is guaranteed to withstand rot, decay, and termite attack is a must if you’re going to bother building at all. When it comes to cutting costs, don’t think about cutting costs here.

Other popular options include hardwoods, composite decking (made of recycled plastic and wood fibre), or if you’re feeling green you may want to look into using completely recycled products.

Leveling.

Obviously, you want your deck to be level so the sausages don’t keep rolling off your plate – if you are going down the DIY route, make sure to take extra precautions to ensure that you end up with a flat surface. You’ll be kicking yourself if you mess up this fundamental aspect of laying deck. 

What we’re more talking about here though is how the level of your deck is in relation to the level of your house. Setting it at the same height as the interior floor provides an easy transition from indoor to outdoor space. This will make your deck really feel as though it another one of the living areas to enjoy within your home.

Of course, there’s also the backyard to think of. It is entirely possible to have a multi-layered deck to ensure ease of access from the interior as well as allowing a smooth transition to the backyard too. This will change depending on your purpose obviously. The important thing to think about is how smooth the transitions from one area to another will be.

Regulations

Sure, not the nicest word to think about, but it’s critical to include in your plans and your building. These are the current balustrade and railing height regulations as set by WorkPlace Health and Safety Australia:

– The top of any railing must be at least 1 metre from the ground.
–  Any opening must not allow a 125mm sphere (ie child’s head) to pass through. So the vertical components must not be more than 125mm apart.
– The gap between the balcony surface to the bottom rail must be no more than 100mm.
– For balconies with a fall height of more than 4m, there must not be any horizontal or near horizontal elements between 150mm and 760mm above the floor that facilitate climbing.

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.

Keeping your deck clean by sweeping or leaf-blowing regularly will ensure it keeps its aesthetic and longevity. Every year or so a power clean with chemicals that are compatible with your chosen materials will help prevent mould and mildew from building up. Regularly applying water-proofing to protect from those summer storms, and stain to protect from that scorching heat will mean there’s no reason why your deck can’t be used by your children and your children’s children!

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