HOW YOU CAN TURN BUILDING YOUR DECK INTO A FUN PROJECT

By Alan Knight
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We just finished building our new home in the woods, and one of the things I added was a deck.   In my personal opinion, it was the best investment of all of the home components.  Our property, which my wife and I purchased a year ago, was a hillside plot.  With a 30 degree grade, building the house was a challenge, but it did lend itself to a spectacular view of the valley and ridges.  Plus the tall hardwood trees, some over a hundred foot high, are almost close enough to touch.  We knew right away that adding a deck was a necessity. 

Today, with the home completed, our favorite spot is the back deck.  It stands 16 feet off the ground and attaches to the back of the house.  We had part of it screened to keep out annoying insects and left a separate portion for grilling.  We built the deck out of pressure-treated pine which resists rot and repels pests. 

There some other choices for consideration.  IPE (pronounced ee-pay) is an almost magical South American hardwood.  The USDA Forest Service Products Lab gives Ipe top marks for bug and rot resistance, and the wood is so hard, it's nearly as difficult to burn as concrete.  It is dense and very heavy, which makes it a wonderful wood to use with stone and slate accents. 

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Another choice of wood would be Western Red Cedar.  This product is reddish brown and ages in silvery gray.  The soft wood splinters easily, but holds up well in rain, sun, heat, and cold.  To add beauty and durability to your cedar deck, use a penetrating stain.

Redwood, like cedar, is a soft lumber that ages to a pleasing gray.  Prolonged moisture will cause the wood to blacken.  A redwood deck will resist rot, but will look more attractive if you use a sealer.

Mahogany is a tight-grained tropical hardwood that resists pests and rot.  Treat with marine oil and it looks like teak.  Or, if you wish, let your mahogany deck age to a silvery hue.  You can choose from several varieties. 

There are various styles and types of decks.  Once you start your research you'll find that not all decks look the same.  There are:


          Wraparounds.  These typically are built around some prized object, like a favorite tree.
        Freestanding.  This one is built separately from the house, usually in the
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back yard with steps leading up to the platform.  It can come with a cover or a pergola.  Keep in mind, if the floor of the deck is more than 30 inches high, it will require a railing.
        Attached-to-House.  This is the best choice, if possible, because it adds more support to the deck since it is anchored to the house.
        Hillside.  This one, as in our case, is required if the ground is not level.  

However, the steeper the lot, the better the view.  Since our deck was so high off the ground, it required a knee wall, made of two by fours and lattice to complete the screened-in portion.  This is a safety feature for small children.

I'm not going into the complete, detailed construction process in this blog.  For that, simply go on-line and look up “building your own deck.”

One of the things I would like to mention is choosing your “purpose” in building a deck.  Don't waste time and money on a building project unless you have a need for it.  Now we all know that building a deck is a luxury, not a necessity.  You can live without it, if you have to.  But choosing the WHY before starting construction is vital.  Why do you feel the need for a deck?  Now in our case, our property was in the middle of the woods and on a five acre hillside parcel.  It made sense aesthetically.  But what is your reason?

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Maybe you like to entertain, especially “outside.”  Building a large deck with plenty of seating for company can be a great treat.  In this case, consider adding something for shade, either a top or pergola.  You might also want to add the plumbing and fixture for an outdoor sink and electrical for a frig and maybe a flat screen for sports events.  Our next door neighbor in Florida, several years ago, was a big FSU fan, and really a big football fan in general.  During football season, they made good use of their deck.  Saturday night was reserved for “fan night” with plenty of beer and a couple of flat-screens mounted to the walls.  With plenty of family and friends in attendance it always made for a great time.

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If it is just for you and your significant other, it might be used for quiet, relaxing, reading a book, sunning, or even taking an outdoor bath in a claw foot tub. The double slipper tub allows two people to bathe together. You can even install a walk-in tub with its spa like features of hydro-jet, air-jet and heat. It will provide a lifelong benefits of relaxing after a long day.

Decks also make the perfect accent for a swimming pool.  Wood decking with its delicious smell and feel is much preferred over concrete and cool-decking.

Whatever your reason, building a wood deck can be very rewarding.  It gives your home more value, and you can count on years of personal enjoyment.  Go online a see if you might be able to build it yourself.  If not, find a local contractor who specializes in decks and porches.  You won't be sorry.

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This article explains how you can turn an outdoor deck project into fun project that can include entertainment elements (like a TV and refrigerator) and health benefits by adding a claw-foot or Walk-in tub. Building a deck does not have to be an arduous job, it can be great fun when approached right.

Until the next time…


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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

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Alan Knight is  the owner of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville,  Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, the company is also multiple time award winner, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you would like to contact him, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or email them at alan@tubking.com.