When it comes to your deck, size mat­ters

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - By Mike Holmes

THE ul­ti­mate deck isn’t just about the deck it­self. It’s about de­sign, where you’re putting the deck, pri­vacy, ma­te­rial and what’s go­ing on the deck.

I like a nice, low deck. Some­thing that just ties into the land­scap­ing. Less stairs, less wor­ries about safety — makes sense.

We should def­i­nitely be us­ing pres­sure-treated wood for the struc­ture, which you can clad over with some­thing like cedar. It’s an in­ex­pen­sive way of get­ting the look you want, as well as us­ing a prod­uct that lasts a long time.

You have a cou­ple of choices for the cladding. Per­son­ally, I like cedar. Un­for­tu­nately, it is very ex­pen­sive. And if you use cedar you have to seal it ev­ery two years, as a min­i­mum, to keep that won­der­ful cedar look and smell. Other­wise, it’s go­ing to turn grey like any other piece of wood.

You can also use com­pos­ite wood, Trex, or a man-made prod­uct for the cladding, which works very well — lasts a long time. You can even buy a com­pos­ite that looks like cedar. That works for me.

In­stal­la­tion is go­ing to be key. I’ve seen a lot of these prod­ucts use plas­tic clips to screw it down — that’s an ab­so­lute no-no. The plas­tic tends to break. I would like to see a stain­less steel clip. It will last longer.

Now, do you make a small deck or do you make a big deck? We al­ways say it: Go big or go home. There’s no sense in do­ing it small if you’re go­ing to do it right the first time. You make it big. Size does mat­ter!

You can also have dif­fer­ent tiers. Let’s say the main area is 0.6 me­tres off the ground, you can cre­ate an­other sec­tion that’s about 0.3 me­tres down, rel­a­tively 35 cm to 40 cm, so you get that proper step­ping height. And tier that down and make that an­other area.

To me the ul­ti­mate is three tiers. One tier is the party/en­ter­tain­ing area — it’s the big area. The sec­ond area tiered-down would be the din­ing area. Your third area could be the re­lax­ation area that has chairs or a couch.

And plan it. I re­mem­ber do­ing my garage and it took me three months to plan just how it was go­ing to look — never mind what the in­side was go­ing to be. So this is your op­por­tu­nity to make the ul­ti­mate deck by tak­ing your time and think­ing about it.

What do we like to do on a deck? We like to en­ter­tain. So you’ve got to have a bar­be­cue area. And also, doesn’t that mean you should have a bar area? For the big guys out there — the men of the world — we want a bar. And this is some­thing you can in­cor­po­rate.

You can get a tem­po­rary bar that you take in and out for the sea­son. You can put it away for the win­ter, in the garage or shed. Or you can have a built-in bar, and kitchen area with a bar­be­cue — now that’s the ul­ti­mate!

By adding a bar, you get a seat­ing area with bar stools — a nice U-shape or L-shape area that has a bar­be­cue, sink, bar and fridge.

Also, you must have the re­lax­ing area. It’s not just about the din­ing. It’s about … the ham­mock! Find a place for a ham­mock, be­cause that’s the area you’re go­ing to need af­ter you’ve eaten and had a few drinks at the bar area.

Next, think about pri­vacy. Hav­ing pri­vacy walls are great but what hap­pens if you have 20 people over and it starts to rain? Add a nice cov­ered area. That serves a few pur­poses: It pro­tects you from the rain, pro­vides shade and pri­vacy, and it gives you a place to in­stall light­ing, so your deck can be lit from the top down, which looks great at night.

And let’s not for­get some ac­ces­sories.

All of the light­ing on my deck is LED be­cause they don’t use a lot of en­ergy — just 12-volts — and they last. If you want to add a fire pit it should be propane or gas. You will need to check your lo­cal build­ing code to see whether you’re al­lowed to have a wood-burn­ing fire pit. In most cases, you are not.

And don’t for­get to check whether or you need per­mits. That will be based on your deck height; whether it’s at­tached to the house; the util­i­ties you will need to run, like plumb­ing, gas and elec­tric­ity; and how close to the property line you have to go. Cover all your bases and you will have a home run.

Re­mem­ber: Take your time, plan it right and build it right, so you don’t have to call me to fix it. Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more in­for­ma­tion

visit makeitright.ca.


Build­ing the ul­ti­mate deck comes down to de­sign, lo­ca­tion, pri­vacy, ma­te­rial and what it will be used for.

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