An outdoor deck area is a great space that can be used all year round if planned well. Before spending lots of money on materials and labour, it is wise to give this some good consideration and planning.
Here are some points that will assist in making the right choices and decisions for your new outdoor spot.
Deck location is very important not only for the indoor/outdoor flow, but to determine the material you use.
If the deck is in harsh climatic conditions, then a material that will withstand these elements should be considered for longevity, for example a solid hardwood, composite or fibre cement option would be best suited.
The colour of the material will be determined by your deck’s location. Being in direct sunlight would suggest a lighter colour to avoid heat absorption. Plus, the amount of maintenance is governed by location which will determine the material you select.
Decking materials vary in price, from more expensive hardwoods and composites to low-cost treated pine. The good news is that there is a material to suit every budget.
Types of materials:
Hardwoods. Hardwoods are a great option as they are extremely durable, will keep termites at bay and can be used in a high fire zone.
Treated Pine. a versatile and affordable choice that can be coloured to look like hardwood but is not suited for high fire regions.
Composite Decking. This will cost more up front but will eliminate the need for constant maintenance and is good for high fire zones and protection against termites, mould and rot.
Fibre cement decking. This is a fantastic material that covers all challenges a timber deck might have. It is termite, fire, rot proof and requires little to no maintenance. This decking will require painting.
Calculating materials. Understanding the method of calculating your material is important. You do not want to be left with a large amount of unused supplies nor do you want to run short by under calculating.
To ensure you order the right amounts there is a simple formula to follow. If your deck is not a simple square or rectangle, then you may need to calculate in sections or there are many online automated calculators, however it is always best to seek experienced advice for unusual shaped decks.
Measure the width of your deck and divide the deck width by the width of the decking planks plus a 3mm gap. This will tell you how many rows of boards are required.
Measure the length of the deck and multiply this by the number of rows and this will give you the lineal meterage required to build the deck. Always add a 5% waste factor to your final answer.
Lastly, let’s not forget that an outdoor area can also be a tiled space. A solid application using a substrate floor sheeting then laying tiles. This is a more specialised job and correct installation should be followed.
Plan if a balustrade is required as the balustrade posts can run from in ground to the top of the balustrade or even to roof height if you intend on covering your deck. For any deck areas 1m and higher, you will require a balustrade to comply for safety. Outdoor electricals for lighting, fans and plug outlets, plus any plumbing requirements all need consideration prior to construction. A well-planned deck area will bring many years of use and act as another room all year round.