So we wanted to help you out. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting the deck of your dreams.
This is a logical and important step. Tell your deck builder your budget before he begins the design process. He’ll work within your parameters. However, given the private nature of this decision, it is not necessary to share your budget with anyone else.
- Treated 6x6 posts buried in the ground
- 2x12 for all beams
- #1-grade pressure treated lumber framing
- 4x4 posts
- 2x10s for all beams
- Low quality lumber for framing
- Deck screws with hidden fasteners
- Covering wood framing with fascia trim
- Obtaining permits
- Picture framing the deck door
This is tricky. You can pick the one with the cheapest price, the one with the best design, or the company that offers the best incentives.
Our advice: Go with your gut. Choose a licensed, and insured professional that makes you comfortable. Then, ask for references.
This decision always comes down to a combination of practicality, looks, and cost. The design you pick will be decided by what you value most. Your deck builder should be willing to work with you to tweak the design until it is perfect.
Wait until you have a final design that you love before committing to a deck builder and giving a deposit. Most will ask you for an upfront deposit, usually around 30% of the total construction costs. Depending on the size of your project, the contractor may ask for another 30% before beginning work.
Be careful of any contractor that asks for a larger deposit up front or wants to be paid in full before completing the work and having it approved by the inspector.
Compare the Maintenance Options
- Wood decking requires pressure washing and staining and will rot and decay over time.
- Composite decking at best requires a lot of maintenance, and at worst can fail completely.
- Capped composite decking is new and questions remain about long-term durability and moisture absorption. All composite decking, like Trex and capped composite, has wood in it. Over time as moisture absorbs into the decking, that wood will rot away, compromising the integrity of the decking or railing.
- Vinyl decking tends to expand and contract with the changing temperatures and has some issues with oxidization or chalking from exposure to UV rays.
Compare the Materials
- Pressure treated decking in Southern Pine can save you some money. It’s proven, natural option that has been used to build decks for decades.
- Ipe (Brazilian Walnut)
- Cumuru (Brazilian Teak)
Pro's Recommendation for Materials
- Vinyl decking