Building a safe, attractive deck requires a commitment of time and money. You will feel both were well spent, though, once you have a comfortable outdoor space in which to relax and entertain. Learn more about planning, costs and materials for building a deck with these resources:
Building a Deck | Ideas, Free Deck Plans, Plus Building Codes and Costs
In this previous Mr. Handyman post , we talk about the abundance of free deck plans online that you can use for inspiration or to actually build your deck. Decks.com still reigns as one of the most popular sources for plans, even defining the many different styles you have to choose from:
Contemporary - Sleek, sparse and modern, this style uses basic shapes and clean lines, with material options including composite and PVC. Stainless steel cable rails and glass also are common in this style.
Colonial - Classic architecture and symmetrical design meet white, moulded railings with decorative post caps in this style. Gardeners love it, as they can incorporate planter boxes throughout.
Traditional-Cedar and redwood are the materials often used, with octagon layouts and chamfered corners a common sight in this style, which suits cottage-style homes.
Mountain-Heavy timber framing and rustic log railings match well the surrounding nature of a log cabin-style home. This style of deck allows for the view to be showcased.
Coastal-Composite and PVC also are common materials for this style, as it gets used often for decks overlooking the sea and can stand up to the wet conditions. Glass and cable rails also put the emphasis on the view.
Once you decide on a style and plan, Decks.com also will send it to you along with a materials (framing, decking, and railing) list and a cost estimation, which you can provide to your professional handyman when getting an estimate for the job.
This Building a Deck post also offers additional tools for estimating cost and goes into building codes for decks.
Wooden Decks: Ideas, Designs and Plans to Build the Perfect Deck
To get additional direction and inspiration for your deck project, check out this Mr. Handyman post. In it, we point you toward the best images from dream deck galleries on the Better Homes and Gardens and This Old House websites, allowing you to save time. While in inspiration mode, also check out this new gallery from Sunset magazine: 26 Great Ideas for Decks.
We also offer tips on how to brainstorm ideas with your family, so that the deck, once done, truly serves everyone's needs.
Deck Materials: Pros and Cons of Wood vs. Composite Decking
This Mr. Handyman Mr. Handyman post helps you decide between the real stuff and one of its faux counterparts. Wood has many selling points, such as its natural look and the variety of pressure-treated grades, allowing you to find a wood that fits your budget. On the other hand, composite lumber resists moisture-causing rotting and warping.
We also explore important points to consider such as maintenance and longevity. Wood requires regular pressure washing and resealing , but you can simply hose off composite lumber. A non-pressure-treated wood deck lasts 15 to 20 years, with pressure-treated grades often coming with a limited lifetime warranty. Composite woods typically come with a limited 20-year warranty.