Planning Your Deck
You’ve decided that now is the time for your own outdoor deck. Now it is up to you to create your deck’s look and feel. Only you know what you know what you want. Maybe it’s mostly for entertaining or for barbeques or a hot tub.
Let’s create a family list of features you want.
- Patio table
- Hot tub
- Planter boxes
- Beer dispenser
- High quality sound system
- Low voltage ground lighting
Knowing how you plan to use your deck will help us determine the size your deck should be. Magazines are also great place to look for ideas. Cut out pictures of railings, decking material, lights or patio seats. Keep all the pictures. I love pictures. They illustrate to me what words can’t always describe. Once you have selected a few variations of the different features you want, we can narrow down your choices to meet your budget.
Books are also a great resource. Books will usually have a series of deck projects that you can follow along. Some are plan books that contain a series of plans. Any generic plan can generally be brought to your local building department.
Drive around new subdivisions and see what is being built. If you see anything you like, this will give us an idea on the framing for the deck.
Watch home improvement shows on TV to see what the new trends are. You can also get a list of good websites that can provide information about new products.
The availability of materials will also be a factor in what you use to build your deck. Using local materials from local businesses will be less expensive than if we have to special order materials, but if special materials are what you want, no problem. I’ll get it for you at no extra cost.
Once you decide on the features and style of your deck we’ll want to have a deck plan drawn. Hiring a designer or architect design your deck is the most common way but it comes at a cost. Finding a set of pre drawn plans will save you money but you may still need to have the plans updated to meet local building codes.
As a home owner, you can also buy computer programs that we’ll use together to design your own personalized deck. This can be daunting for clients with very little experience but again, not to worry, Were here to help.
The New Jersey Building Codes and Sub-Codes
When building you deck it is important to work with your local building department. In most cases you will need to have your deck plan approved and a building permit issued by the local building department before we can start construction.
Generally, local building departments look for the following information on a plan.
- Overall deck size
- Height off the ground
- Position relative to property lines
- Size and location of framing
- Species of wood being used
- Soil type
- Method of connecting framing
Once the local building official is satisfied your plans meet code, he will then issue you a building permit to begin construction.
As our construction progresses, the building inspector will do a site inspection. You will likely be informed of these inspections when you building permit is issued.
There are lots of different types of decking you can use on top of your deck. Most choose simple pressure treated lumber. To attach the deck boards to the joists you can use either nails or screws. If you use nails, make sure you use special spiral nails. These help prevent nails from popping. Deck screws are preferable as they are stronger but they are much more expensive than nails when laying out the decking. It is easier to let the deck boards run long and trim them down later once the entire deck surface is finished. When all the deck boards are laid, simply take a circular saw, and cut all the ends off the deck.
Now it is time to start building your deck.
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