Since a new natural wood or composite deck will be a defining feature of your property, you’ve probably thought a lot about how it will impact and improve your outdoor living space. But, have you thought about the factors that will impact the location of your new deck?
When planning a natural wood or composite deck installation, some things to consider include maintenance, the elements that will work against your deck once it’s in place, and accessibility in relation to how you will be using your deck. Although the final site of your deck can sometimes be an afterthought, it’s one of the most important things to consider before getting started on your project.
It has been well established that UV rays and extreme weather conditions are some of a deck’s worst enemies. There are products available to help enhance your wood or composite deck’s defenses against these natural forces; along with this, many of the materials used to make composite decking come with layers of UV protection. Many lumber options have natural defenses that make them suitable for decking. Along with these defenses, the location you choose for your deck can add an additional level of protection.
Strategic location for wood and composite decks
One way to test a proposed site for your deck is to study how the sunlight falls on your property from day to day, and from season to season. Studying the patterns of shadows across your property can give you insight into how much of your deck’s surface is likely to be exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day. The less your deck’s surface is exposed to direct sunlight, the less it’s exposed to harmful UV rays. This can mean a lot in the long run, but, of course, must be measured against other factors.
General wisdom suggests that a north or east facing deck is likely to enjoy more breezes, which can dry rainfall, and lessen exposure to the sun. Sometimes a north facing deck can be subject to higher winds in the fall and spring months, which may limit its use. A north facing deck in more rainy regions can sometimes mean mold growth. Other factors related to your property that can impact a deck’s exposure include tall trees that block out sunlight and reduce wind. Since you know the details of your property, you are the best judge for your new deck’s location.
Accessibility and Privacy
Accessibility is a factor which may have less to do with the deck’s welfare and more to do with your convenience. Two things to take into account are the proximity of the deck to common traffic and activities, and how conducive the deck’s location is to your privacy.
To address the first consideration, most decks will be used as an extension of your kitchen, living room, or both. This is because many of the events and activities you’ll use your deck for will be based around meals, and as such, your deck’s location will be impacted by this.
Also, continuity and overall design can really add value to your property as a whole. Putting your deck in an area that complements the rest of your property is very important for the long-term financial value of your home.
When considering privacy, you might want to think about a more secluded location if you wish to use your deck as an area for a hot tub, or if you wish to consider noise levels as they affect your neighbors. Finding the balance between a convenient location and privacy for both you and your neighbors is ideal.
Another thing to consider when picking your deck’s location is the ground on which you’ll be building it. Uneven terrain may cause additional planning and structural preparations, depending on the slope. For slopping terrain, it may be best to consider a multi-level deck design.
Before starting your decking project, it’s also a good idea to consult local building codes, particularly when thinking about how the terrain will support a deck’s weight. A strong foundation is required for any successful decking project, especially when you are building on sloping, or uneven ground. Braced posts may be required to avoid swaying over time.
Professional installers and planners are great resources when thinking about structural concerns. Those with experience will be able to help you decide on the best location for your deck. Along with considering structural necessities, they will advise you on safety concerns.
Long-term maintenance and personal convenience issues are other important factors to consider when planning the location of your deck. Although in some cases your choices will be limited – depending on your property – there are often ways to overcome limitations.
If privacy is an issue, then panels or creeping vines on a wooden lattice can be added to make sure that you achieve it. As for maintenance, seek out professional advice to help overcome the problems that can be caused by excessive sun on the deck’s surface. For natural wood decking, there are UV protective coatings that you can purchase to add an extra level of defense to your deck’s surface.
When thinking about a location for your natural wood or composite deck, considering the benefits and potential drawbacks of a particular site is important. By doing so, you’ll be on your way to fully realizing the potential of an outdoor leisure space that a deck offers.