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