So it’s still February but the trees are starting to bud, bulbs are beginning to sprout, spring is just around the corner. Though in Vancouver summer seems like a long way off, now is the time to start planning that beautiful deck that you have been dreaming about all winter.
If you want to enjoy that deck through the short Vancouver summer now is the time to start the process. Time spent now in the planning phase of the project means a smoother, quicker, more efficient construction phase. In turn, that means that you can start enjoying the finished project sooner.
Don’t rush it.
A deck, patio or outside living space is like any other significant construction project it is not something to rush into. Give thought as to the way that you want to use it and what you want to get out of it. The more thought and planning that you do now the happier you will be with the finished project.
It’s all in the planning.
The first item on your agenda should be to sit down and make a list of the items that your deck must have. Note the items that you would like, and the items that you dream about. Maybe even draw a quick sketch. Put it down for a couple of days and then go back to it, maybe there are a few changes to be made. As a professional contractor, the first thing I would say is don’t rush the planning stage. It is much less costly and time efficient to change something on paper prior to construction than it is to change later when construction is underway.
When in the planning stage keep things in mind:
- How do you plan to use the deck?
- Do you do a lot of entertaining?
- Where does the sun rise and set?
- How can you make the best use of the land, natural slope, sunlight, shade etc.?
- Is the deck to be on the ground and more of a patio?
- Are you looking for a simple single level deck or a multiple levels?
- What shape of deck are you thinking about square, rectangle, hexagon, round?
- What size do you need?
- Do you need a Gazebo or some form of rain/sun shelter?
- Do you want to incorporate a special feature such as a hot tub or built in seating?
- Do you want outside lights?
- Do you need a gas point for a barbeque or maybe a cover over the cooking area?
Finding a contractor.
The next step is to secure the services of a good reliable contractor. Please read our blog on selecting the right contractor to get some tips on what to look for in good contractors. Remember that as we move towards the spring and summer months, contractors, architects and suppliers get busier, materials may be in short supply and lead times get longer. Even permits can take longer as traditional summer workloads increase.
Once you have chosen your contractor (hopefully ourselves) or at least a shortlist of 2 or 3 it is the time to sit down and talk to them. Tell them your ideas and show them your sketch. Do they have any input and ideas or do they just want to build whatever you want? If it’s the latter find another contractor. Unless you have already engaged a design professional and there is a full drawing and spec sheet you’ll need some advice. After all, you are paying them for their professional skills and that should include some ideas and pointers on design and suitable materials. If you are comparing bids look at exactly what each includes and more importantly what they do not, compare apples to apples because later the things that were not included can add up.
A few things to keep in mind.
- What materials do you want to use:
- treated lumber = lower cost but less durable and higher maintenance
- composite = higher initial cost but more durable and less maintenance
- an exotic wood with a higher cost but usually less maintenance than wood and slightly more than a composite.
- Remember that most composites and some exotics require the use of structural timber for the deck framing as many composites are not certified for structural members.
- Are the services of a professional designer required or warranted?
- Is an engineer required?
- Is a permit required and if so what is required and what is the cost?
This list is far from comprehensive but should give a good idea as to what to think about in order to get the most from your backyard project.
Hear from one of our deck clients.
We highly recommend Castle Crest Construction. Nick and Tracy work as a team, offering knowledgeable advice and services. Nick and his crew are exceptional craftsman. Our project was completed on budget and on time. We are looking forward to enjoying our new deck. We will definitely be using Castle Crest Construction again. We have not only found an awesome contractor, but life-long friends.
Rob and Hazel Turner
A great investment.
Remember a quality deck or patio is a significant investment but with the right design, the right contractor and the right choice of materials it will help create many memories and years of enjoyment. Also, adding significant appeal and value to your home.