Wooden Decking: Reviewing Materials, Design Ideas & Cost
A deck is a great place to entertain or just relax after a long day. Because there are so many options, choosing the right decking design can be a nightmare. However, picking the right one will simply be the icing on top of your home improvement project.
Building a wooden deck has proven to be the popular option for many DIY-savvy homeowners. Depending on the type of wood you choose to build a wooden deck with, their price can run anywhere from affordable to downright pricey. We will break down the cost implications a bit later in this article, but this is an important point to keep in mind.
You can also choose from a wide range of ideas when building wooden decking. For example, you could go the traditional route and go for an all-wood deck, or you could mix and match it by adding a cable railing to your wooden deck.
Whatever ideas you come up with, it is important to note what local regulations say about building wooden decks. Generally, you have to add a railing if you are building wooden deck that is 30 inches or more above ground. Also, your railings must be at least 36 inches high. Furthermore, any balustrades should not be more than four inches apart when you build wooden decks.
All this information will be useful as you build wooden deck. With that in mind, what is the best decking option for you?
Wood vs. Composite – The Best Decking Material
A deck – made out of any material – is a long-term investment for any homeowner. Untreated wood decks can last anywhere between 10 to 30 years, while treated wood and composite decks can last for 50 years. Therefore, it is important to understand how to choose the best materials before building a wooden deck.
It is important to note that both wood and composite materials are available in high and low-quality options. Therefore, price is not the only consideration that should affect your choice. Let’s review both materials to help you pick the right option.
Most people prefer wooden decking because of its warm, natural appearance. However, the type of lumber you select when building wooden decking is also critical to its durability and the level of maintenance it will need.
The most common choice of lumber is pressure-treated wood. This is usually fir that has been soaked in insecticides and anti-rot agents. Because of this process, the wood is brown-green in color. However, you could always stain it for a more pleasant look. Fir pressure-treated lumber is the cheapest option when building wooden decks, but that is only because it is prone to cracking, splitting, and warping.
If you are not up for the maintenance that goes into this first option, then you can choose weather-resistant lumber like redwood or cedar. Apart from a beautiful look and feel, these woods are also resistant to cracking, warping, and other weather damage.
However, the most expensive type of lumber is ipe. That is because it is naturally impervious to rot, making it more long-lasting than even cedar and redwood. Ipe is commonly imported from South America.
Do you want the look of wooden decking without the high level of maintenance required? If so, composite decking is the right choice for you. Composite materials are made out of a mix of wood fibers and recycled plastics. These decks certainly do not have a ‘natural’ look, but you can choose from a wide variety of colors to come pretty close to the real thing.
Composite decking has become more and more popular because it does not need a lot of maintenance. For instance, you will never have to sand, refinish, or stain it. It also comes with a standard 20-year warranty.
However, one of the main downsides to composite decking is its price. Depending on the quality and warranty, composite materials can cost twice as much as natural wooden decks.
With that in mind, it seems clear that the best choice for most people would be to build a wooden deck. Here’s all you need to know about this popular choice:
Wooden Deck Styles
If you are thinking of building a wooden deck, there are a number of different styles that you can choose from. These include:
Wooden Decks Ideas
The Internet has become a rich source of inspiration for those aspiring to build a deck. You can find thousands of designs, styles and ideas online. That said, these wooden deck ideas should hopefully get you started on the right foot:
• Use galvanized wire mesh instead of balusters to build your own deck railings.
- Use classic design motifs such as Craftsman or Chippendale to style up a DIY wood deck or railing design.
- If your wooden deck is less than 30 inches above grade, define its edge with built-in benches instead of a typical railing.
Building a Wooden Deck on the Ground
Building a wooden deck on the ground is not as difficult as you would think. Whether you want it on your patio or are going for backyard wooden decks, you can easily make it a fun DIY project for the family.
However, check in with your local authority for permits or regulations before starting any building work. It might also be a great idea to inform your homeowner’s association to see if you will need any special permission.
Apart from lumber, you will not require a lot of materials. These include:
- Concrete forms
- Wooden stakes or OZ Post
- Spray paint
For tools, you will need the following:
- Tape measure
- Quick clamps
- Post hole digger
- Power auger
- Power planer
- Power drill
After all this is assembled, follow these simple steps to build your backyard deck:
- Plan your dimensions
- Measure the dimensions of your backyard
- Tie a string to a wooden stake and center the placement of your wooden deck.
- Measure and adjust these stakes continuously until the strings form a level, square representation of the deck’s dimensions.
- Mark the ground
- Use spray paint to mark the ground.
- Mark points that represent the deck’s midpoint and four corners.
- These markings will show you where to place the deck’s concrete support posts.
- Break ground and pour concrete
- Remove your stakes temporarily and use a power auger to bore 15-inch holes at the marked areas.
- Use a posthole digger to remove any extra dirt.
- Mix a batch of concrete.
- Shovel it into the holes you have just made, using a spare wooden stake to scrape off the excess.
- Embed a J-bolt into each hole before the concrete sets.
- Let the concrete cure for 48 hours.
- Build the decking frame.
- Install your choice of wooden decking material to finish.
Build Wooden Deck Stairs
Follow this easy, step-by-step guide to build wooden deck stairs:
- Calculate the preferred rise (overall vertical height) and run (horizontal height) for your stairs.
- Use a circular saw to cut the stringers.
- Install the treads and risers. Fasten each tread using a threaded screw. Do this one by one until you reach the top of your deck stairs.
Wooden Deck Railing
From any vantage point, the most visible part of a deck is usually the wooden deck railing systems. Therefore, it is a good idea to pay them quite a bit of attention. Start by checking the regulatory requirements with your local authority.
For example, make sure that your wooden deck railing design is strong enough to handle any load requirements. It also should not have any openings that are large enough for a child to slip through.
That said, here are some wooden deck railing ideas for your next project:
- Use metal railings to add a bit of style and variety to your wooden deck. These wooden deck railing systems for Deckorators should start you off on the right foot.
- Add lighting to your wooden deck railing systems. These lights are usually placed on the top or sides of the posts or balusters.
- You probably won’t be able to find railings that fit into a specific architectural style. To ensure your wooden deck railing systems match with your house, spend time finding parts that will help you create a unique, complimentary design. A good example are these beautiful post caps.
Wooden Deck Spindles
Also known as balusters, wooden deck spindles make your design look and feel complete. You can search through a variety of quality spindles here.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Deck?
The cost of a wooden deck varies depending on the quality of wood and any other materials that you use. That said, cost of making a wooden deck ranges between $4,000 and $10,000. The average cost of wooden deck falls somewhere between these extremes, at $7,020.
If you are using pressure-treated wood, the cost of wooden deck per square foot is about $2.50. However, higher quality lumbers will cost anywhere between $6 to $12 per square foot.
Building a wooden deck can be a fun DIY experience for you and your friends or family. However, you have to be honest about your handyman skills. If they are not up to par, just go with a professional!