Decks & Porches
Choose the Perfect Outdoor DeckIt's an often-quoted statistic that adding an outdoor deck to a home is a good investment. In fact, in the Cost Vs. Value study by Remodeling found that a wood outdoor deck addition recouped 87 percent of its value when it came time for a home sale.
But beyond the financial upswing, outdoor decks are places of immeasurable enjoyment for homeowners. Outdoor decks are warm weather days and nights epitomized: They're go-to spots for parties and quiet dinners, welcome escapes to enjoy good books and glasses of lemonade. Decide on size.
Many people either under- or over-estimate the size of outdoor decks that will work for their needs and be a good fit for their yard. Take the extra step of laying out your proposed outdoor deck's boundaries, using a garden hose or yard string. Then, walk around the area, evaluating traffic flow and setup. Add amenities.
Some outdoor decks are straightforward affairs: a floor, a railing, and that's it. Other homeowners like to include add-ons, such as storage benches, multiple levels, or decorative elements such as trellises.
Choose: attached or detached?Outdoor decks can be directly connected to homes or placed out in the yard and not joined to any structure. What you choose depends on several factors, including how you'll use the space and what added conveniences you would enjoy. For example, if you'll use your outdoor deck primarily for dining, attaching it to your home -- even locating it right outside the kitchen -- may make more sense. If your outdoor deck is detached, you may want to consider a pathway leading to the space from your home.
Choose: ground level, elevated, or multi-level?In addition to detached or attached, decks may be created at a variety of elevations. A ground level deck has lots of practical conveniences such as easy, no-worry access to a yard. Elevated decks may allow you to conquer sloped outdoor spaces, while multi-level outdoor decks combine the advantages of both ground level and elevated spaces, and provide separated "rooms" for different zones or functions.
Review potential materials.There are multiple materials that can be used for outdoor decks, including wood or composite components. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, including upkeep, cost, and lifespan. Carefully review each before making a decision that's in line with your outdoor deck needs and budget.
Choose the Right Material: DeckingDecking Materials 101
Navigating all the options for decking materials can be overwhelming, but have no fear. We'll help you sort through traditional wood options, including cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine, as well as an ever-expanding market of alternatives. Wood Decking: Pressure-Treated
Treated with chemicals to repel insects and water, Southern pine or fir is the most common and least expensive type of decking. Although pressure-treated wood requires yearly washing, sanding, and sealing, when finished with a clear sealant, it will last up to 30 years if maintained properly.
Wood Decking: Cedar Rot-ResistantCedar, is naturally rot-resistant. This wood will cost more than pressure-treated lumber, but will last many years with proper care.
Wood Decking: CompositeMade with recycled materials like wood waste and plastic sacks, composite decking requires minimal maintenance, doesn't need to be sanded or painted, and is generally weather-resistant. It also comes in a variety of colors and styles. However, some composite deck materials can be slippery and prone to mildew, and might require special fasteners.
Where to Add a PorchThe three basic porch locations are front, back and wraparound. Each serves a different purpose, while enabling homeowners to enjoy the outdoors more thoroughly.
A front porch enhances the curb appeal of the home and creates an inviting entrance for guests. It also provides a place to take in the outdoors, watch children playing outside and spend time with friends and neighbors. Back porches provide a place for entertaining, grilling and enjoying time outdoors. Available in a wide variety of styles, they enable you to utilize the outdoors for several seasons, even during inclement weather. Charming back porches can redefine your outdoor living space and add valuable living space to the square footage of your home.