Planning the Perfect Deck
A beautiful, versatile redwood deck can
extend your lifestyle and add richness and pleasure to daily
living. Equally as important, a deck is a long-term investment
because it increases the resale value of your home. Here are
some basic planning, design and building tips for the deck of
Libraries, book stories and home centers
are good sources for deck ideas and plans. CRA also has information
on decks and other back yard projects.
Survey the yard and decide which problems the deck should solve.
Redwood decks can be built over steeply sloping ground, along
a side yard or even in front of a house as an entry. Consider
wind direction, the amount of sun or shade desired, the availability
of water and electrical outlets and other fixed conditions. Generally,
the southwest and southeast corners of a house offer the best
combination of sun and shade.
Be sure to check the local building codes and regulations to
determine what guidelines and restrictions you must follow. Consult
a building professional if the area is to be extensive or the
construction difficult. If you decide to do it yourself, you
may want to divide a large deck project into small manageable
projects, so your building experience, budget and outdoor living
can grow each year with your deck.
Be sure to choose quality materials. Redwood is a classic for
decks because it is great looking, resists weathering and is
easy to saw and use. The heartwood grades naturally resist insects
and decay. Redwood has no chemical additives and resists warping
and splitting better than other woods.
The rugged, knot-textured garden grades, which are more economical
than architectural grades, are ideal for outdoor structures.
Choose an all-heartwood grade such as Construction Heart or Deck
Heart for applications on or near the ground. The sapwood-streaked
grades, Construction Common and Deck Common, for example, are
good choices for above-ground uses such as deck boards.
A variety of joist hangers, patented connectors and deck fasteners
are available to help the do-it-yourselfer. When working with
redwood, always use top quality, hot dipped galvanized, stainless
steel or aluminum hardware. To avoid splitting, pre-drill holes
for nails or screws at the ends of the decking boards.
Redwood takes and holds finishes better than most other woods.
For long lasting good looks and performance, a quality water
repellent finish containing a mildewcide and an ultraviolet inhibitor
is recommended For best results, the finish should be applied
directly to the lumber before construction covering all sides,
edges and ends. A second application is recommended when the
deck is completed.
After the deck is finished, adding amenities completes the job
of individualizing your project and making it a true outdoor
living center. Popular add-ons in the '90's include relaxing
spas, shade shelters, privacy screens, built-in benches and planters.
If you like to entertain,, incorporate a grilling center and
service counter. Plant enthusiasts often create a work center
for potting activities and storing garden equipment and supplies.
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