Deck Building Materials and Ideas

If you are looking for a way to increase your living space and enjoy the weather during the warmer seasons in Minnesota, a deck is a great addition to your property. Not only is it a great space for eating family meals on a summer evening, a sunny spot for container gardening, and a nice place to relax at the end of a long day, it can also increase the value of your property or cover up a problematic area in your yard.

As with many landscaping ideas, the possibilities of deck design are seemingly endless, and there are also a variety of materials to choose:

Design Decisions

Deck designs can vary from a small and simple platform off the back of a house to a multi-level structure that extends out over a water feature. Before you select or settle on a design, you need to decide how you will be using the deck so you can get the most from your addition. Far too often, homeowners rush to build a deck and don’t use it as much as they thought they would because it doesn’t meet their needs or even fit with the house. Before selecting a design, consider the following:

High or Low: Some decks are an extension of the main level of a home while others are built a few stories up, such as off of a master bedroom. A lot of these decisions are based on comfort. If you are uncomfortable with heights, you probably won’t use a deck if it’s built off of the second story of your home.

Children and Pets: If you have small children or pets in your home, you should think about their safety when thinking about the design of your deck. Although all decks should be safe, especially if built off of the ground, be sure to include railings and other safety features to prevent accidents.

Functionality: How often do you plan on using your deck and what is its main purpose? Do you plan to use it as an outdoor dining space on nice weather days or do you want it to be a quiet, outdoor lounge space? Do you want it to be sunny or shady?

Budget and Maintenance: Decks are meant to be spaces to enjoy, but they do require some maintenance from time to time. The design you choose will determine how much maintenance is required. Additionally, the cost is always a factor so have a budget set before you fall in love with a design that’s way out of your price range.

Design Ideas

When it comes to selecting a design, the possibilities may feel a little overwhelming, but if you stick to your deciding factors (as discussed above), you should be able to some up with some solid ideas. If you live in a historic home built during the Victorian Era, you may want to select a design that is simple and doesn’t take away from the beautiful architecture.

If you live in a home that has a breathtaking view of nature, such as a lake or a forest, you may want to consider a more elaborate design with multiple levels so you can enjoy the view from different levels. Again, the design of your deck will greatly depend on your needs and wants.

Deck Building Materials

For years, it seemed that the majority of residential decks were made with pressure-treated wood that have been stained or treated to protect from outdoor elements and everyday wear and tear. While various kinds of lumber have been “tried and true,” there are other types of deck building materials to consider:

  • Composite material made from recycled plastic or resin
  • Trex is a brand of composite made from wood fiber and reclaimed plastics
  • Travertine, which is a limestone

Treated lumber is the least expensive decking material, but it may come with the most upkeep while Trex is significantly more expensive than treated lumber, but is extremely durable and requires less maintenance. Whichever building material you choose, you will want to make sure that you understand the durability, the life expectancy, and how it holds up during all types of weather. Remember, moisture can be hard on decking, but so can direct sunlight.

Your deck design should reflect your daily activities and fulfill your needs, whether you need a quiet getaway spot or space for the kids to play on a nice summer day. Taking the time to create a design, with the help of a contractor, will help you get the most enjoyment from your deck and bring joy for many generations to come.