As a Deck Building Contractor, we know that your new deck will be a home for the barbecue, lounge chairs and memories of warm summer nights. If you are planning a new deck or your exisitng deck is in need of a facelift, we have got some deck design tips, and insider info to help your investment last.
The typical mistake in deck building and design design is merely connecting a deck to fit a pre-existing ledger board or swapping out an exact duplicate of a previous deck. This approach limits both your options and the creative process. New home deck builders often add ledger boards and decks as an afterthought and always after the house is complete. Often times the deck is not even attached properly to the house. As you can see in the picture, this deck design detached from the house because the ledger board was not securely fastened to the house.
If the deck in the picture had been built properly, and attached the way it shows in the diagram below, it wouldn’t have detached from the house. Imagine if you were having a party, with some friends and family, just how much weight could be on your deck. Many decks are attached with expansion bolts into the masonry (bricks). This type of anchoring is used by many new home builders, and can loosen over time.
Low decks that are less than 24″ above grade do not require railings. The ground under a low deck will generally be obscured and out of view but can become a home for small animals or insects. The deck should be allowed to breathe so closing it in completely is not advisable. A heavy wire mesh can be installed under the deck and buried into the ground to prevent animals from getting under. This mesh can then be hidden buy a skirt consisting of face boards similar to a fence, allowing ventilation to prevent mold and mildew.
Higher decks will appear more like a floating stage and will require railings will and stairs if access to the yard is required. Higher decks offer an opportunity to view of the surrounding area, and the space underneath the deck can a great place for storage or patio furniture in winter months.