How to Plan your Deck

Plan-DeckingOver the years, Team Member’s at Friedman’s Home Improvement have noticed a theme happening each Spring. In 2011, we’ve noticed that with so many home makeover TV shows going on, this Spring, there’s a Patio Dream Theme. To honor the patio dream theme in this week’s blog, Friedman’s will instruct you on how to plan your deck.

What you’ll need:

100’ Measuring Tape
Graph Paper
4’ Wood Stakes
Mason’s String
25’ Measuring Tape

Deck Design Considerations:
1. Collect ideas from Sunset magazine, Home and Gardens magazine or HGTV, or any number of idea sources, and store them all together as your melting pot of ideas.
2. Plan out how you’ll use your deck. Do you want to entertain large or small groups? Will it be covered, covered, or partially covered? Will it be sitting up high and require protective railing? What materials would you like to use, and will they work well with swimming pools, hot tubs, koi ponds, propane-fueled barbeques, or outdoor fireplaces?
3. Before you decide on a location, first check local zoning ordinances. They will limit the overall size of your deck, height of any privacy screens, and the minimum distance from your deck to your lot lines. Neighborhood or subdivision covenants may restrict the appearance of the structure, and you’ll have to get approval for your design.
4. Where will the deck be located? What orientation do you want your deck facing? Sunny south side? Shady north side? Up against the house or away from the house, closer to the garden?
5. What size should you make your deck? It should fit within the legal limits, but also be the appropriate size to be proportioned well to your yard and house.

Planning Your Deck:
1. What shapes and decking patterns do you desire?
Decking may be laid in a variety of patterns, including diagonal, checkerboard, and herringbone. The pattern you choose will determine the configuration of the supporting joists and beams.
2. What are your plans for steps and stairs? Step and stair construction is closely regulated by building codes. As a rule, steps and stairs should be at least 36″ wide–60″ if you want two people to be able to pass each other comfortably. The rise (vertical distance between steps) should be no more than 7-1/2″ and the width of a tread at least 10″. The slope should not be too steep–a 7″ riser with a 10-1/2″ tread is a common combination. Building codes will also govern how the stair is supported and attached, and whether or not you need a railing.
3. How do you want your deck to look? What’s the elevation or height? Will you include railing? Will you have enough structural components like vertical posts, horizontal beams, joists, decking and railing to make your deck safe?
4. What materials are you allowed to use and how much will you need?

Once you do all your deck planning first, drawing out your detailed deck plans will be much easier.

For help with deck building project ideas, power tools, decking materials and supplies, seek out one of our friendly Team Member’s at Friedman’s Home Improvement. Either visit us at Friedman’s online or at one of our Santa Rosa, Sonoma, or Ukiah stores, where you’ll get the lowest price and local advice

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