Functional and Cost Effective Deck Planning

February 11, 2011


Professional deck builders see a wide variety of potential customers.  Some desire an intricate design combined with ornate accessories and features which coincide with the architecture of their home.  Yet others just need a basic layout constructed with simple, durable and low maintenance materials.  And there is an infinite range of desires within this spectrum.  No matter what the consumer requests, there’s always a common thread.  Everyone wishes to achieve functionality while obtaining the best structure for their money.  Therefore, here are a few tips to utilize that valued deck space to its fullest.Know your numbers.  Lumber, composite, PVC, and just about all building materials are sold in even increments.  A deck builder can usually obtain even numbered dimensional lumber from eight to twenty foot lengths without special ordering.  Composite and PVC deck products are more explicitly produced.  Synthetic decking is usually manufactured in twelve, sixteen, and twenty foot sections while railing components are generally offered in twelve and sixteen foot increments.  What this means for the deck builder and buyer alike is paying for the shortest possible lengths to fit their deck dimensions.  Planning your design around the material availability can save both deck builders and homeowners a substantial amount of money.  It can also help create a more practical space.

Visualize the deck’s footprint and how it will be utilized.  Decide where to place tables, chairs, a BBQ grill, planters, etc.  This helps ensure you don’t have any major regrets about the deck’s size or configuration.

Keep stairs towards the corners of the deck.  Stairs in the middle of a side withhold usable room in order to preserve trouble-free entries and exits.  They also break up guard rails and add extra railing posts.  Don’t just consider the cost of materials.  Experienced deck builders are sensible enough to figure in their labor for such additional work.  Also, keep staircases close and adjacent to the deck frame.  Longer staircases may require descents to turn a corner or switch back with a split level landing.  This concept not only saves valuable yard realty, it’s much safer in case of an inescapable fall.

These are just a handful of suggestions to assist builders and homeowners with conception.  No matter what the objective for a deck, screened porch, pergola or other construction project, thorough planning is sure to enhance the outcome and the tweak the aim.  Similar to much of life, diligent preparation is the key to success in quality construction.

Hope this helps,

Dan Milford

DW Elite Decks (Kansas City deck builder)

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