Are you looking to add some pizazz to your rural acreage? How about a new deck? Never thought about building a deck before? No problem.
Adding a deck can add value to your home and increase your living space without the expense of a full addition. Decks can vary in size and type to meet any budget. Cost will depend on factors including size, what building materials you select, and any extras you decide to add. Also, you need to consider what you want to do with a deck. Do you entertain a lot, or do you just want some personal outdoor space? Let’s look at other considerations to keep in mind.
There are three choices of deck building materials, and each has their own advantages and drawbacks. Plastics and composites are popular because they require very little maintenance and are very durable; however, they are more costly and are more vulnerable to deterioration over time.
Natural wood offers a variety of wood choices for rural lifestylers and is less expensive; however, it requires more maintenance, weatherproofing and staining over time. Pressure-treated wood is very affordable and most come with a 40-year warranty, but it must be sealed with an oil-based product every two years to protect people and pets from the chemicals in the wood.
Consider long-term maintenance for your deck. More expensive materials require less maintenance, but you will pay for convenience. You can make a beautiful deck with less expensive materials, but they will require more maintenance, such as regular cleaning and resealing to avoid rotting and color changes.
Building a deck has costs like any project to spruce up your acreage. In addition to costs for materials and the labor, you may also have to pay for grading or leveling the land, a foundation, staining or painting, waterproofing, corrosion-resistant fasteners, framing, rails, stairs and more. And of course, you will want to add landscaping around the deck for a polished look.
When planning your deck, there are some conventions to observe. For example, you will want it to be no more than two inches below the access door for a clean appearance and a normal step up and down that folks expect.
Also, a deck should be no larger than the largest room in your home, keeping the deck proportionate to the rest of your living space. Designs with an unusual shape or multiple levels will be more costly. Standard rectangular decks can be done for as little as $1,500, but a custom deck design can easily reach $5,000. The internet offers many tools and calculators to help you figure out expenses related to building a deck.
Adding an outdoor room to your home will also add to your property value and property taxes, even for a rural acreage. Do your research when planning a deck addition so you know what to expect in additional costs. Your local assessor’s office can provide information on taxes, and check with your homeowner’s insurance policy.
If you hire a contractor to build your deck, make sure to get any required permits and ask for a certificate of insurance so you know the crew is covered during construction. You may need a certificate of occupancy from your contractor, which certifies how many people the deck will hold.
Your deck will allow more opportunity to enjoy your rural acreage. Although decks can be simple, you might want to add some extras for functionality and fun. Many features today can be dual-purpose, such as built-in storage or seating. Some people add lighting, heaters, or misters. Built-in seating, tables, or even enclosures can make it a sunroom. Of course, you can always go really fancy and add a grill, outdoor theater, or a bar area.
Unless you are a really savvy carpenter, most people choose to hire a for this job. There are many details to consider, and you may not be up to speed on requirements for stairs and railings, necessary permits, insurance coverage, etc.
Areas that usually cause problems for DIYers are uneven boards as a tripping hazard; rails and stairs that use improper fasteners; inadequate foundation support; joints; and building code requirements.
Hiring a contractor assures that you will not be held liable for faulty workmanship or that the work will not be code-compliant. If you do choose to have a contractor, be sure to get multiple estimates and recommendations before making a selection.