Considering a new deck for your home is an exciting prospect, especially coming into summer. While the first things that spring to mind are probably the size, design and uses for your deck, these five important questions will help to set you off on the right foot.
Do you have the budget to build a deck?
If you’re considering a timber deck, be sure to factor in regular maintenance costs as well as the initial build, which can add up over the years. “Timber decking is really expensive to install,” says Wayne Critchley, a builder with over two decades of experience. “If you are going to do it, you really must ensure that you look after it.”
If you’re thinking about using a material that isn’t so costly to maintain, research alternatives such as fibre cement decking. In addition to its weatherproof benefits, it is also termite resistant which can save you a lot of money down the track.
Planning on entertaining? HardieDeck™ is a durable option perfect for summer parties.
Will a deck add value to your home?
Australians love to make the most of the climate by entertaining outdoors, so it’s no surprise a deck is likely to add value to your home. Whether big or small, the key is to build your deck as an extension of your home, creating a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor space. This gives potential buyers more options for entertaining and extends the living and dining areas.
HardieDeck can be stained with a tint, making it easy to blend the interior and exterior of your home.
Do you need council approval?
Prior to building a deck, check with your local council to make sure you have approval. Rules and regulations differ depending on where you live so it is best to check beforehand, irrespective of your deck’s size. To make the process easier, have plans ready detailing the height, location and design for your council to look over – they can then advise of any building standards and restrictions that may apply.
As well as being moisture resistant, HardieDeck is not prone to splintering, making it a family-friendly option.
Is it a DIY job or will you require a professional?
To determine whether your deck will be a DIY job or if it's better left to the professionals, consider your deck design, budget and timeline. A small patio might be a more achievable project than a larger deck, so be honest about your own capabilities – while it might be tempting to save money on builders, this can sometimes end up being costlier in the long run. Is there an event you would like it finished by, for example, Christmas or a wedding? If so, you might need professional help to reach your goal.
Can you commit to regular maintenance?
The amount of maintenance your deck will require depends on the materials you use. Timber calls for regular re-staining and repair work as it is prone to rotting and splintering from exposure to the elements. Critchley says renovators considering timber should take into account maintenance and how the material reacts to the weather. “If it doesn’t have a roof over it, you’ve really got to maintain it with lots of sealers,” he says, “I would recommend every three or four months.”
If you’re concerned about how much time you will need to spend maintaining your deck, take a look at alternative decking materials such as fibre cement and wood-plastic composite that require less upkeep.