If you are here for skateboard decks, look elsewhere: skateboards might be beautiful in their own way, but creating backyard decks with your own building expertise and dedication will always be something you can feel proud of.
Whether you prefer outdoor living or simply want to try your home improvement skills in an outdoor space, adding decks can give you the extra square footage for your home without needing to build an entire covered extension. But, with a high price tag for contracted deck building, DIY can often be the best way to save money and build a deck worth using!
Deciding on a Deck Project
Before you do anything, you need to decide on the type of decking you want to make. Be honest with yourself: it can be tempting to try and build a giant deck that surpasses the quality of most contractor-made composite decking, but that is not realistically going to happen for most people. What you can do it create a deck that is easy, cheap, and reliable enough to last for years to come, and feel good while you are doing it.
Of course, building codes still limit what you can and can’t make, so be sure you are working within the law. This won’t be a problem for regular decks, but building a deck too high or extending a deck over into other properties might get you slapped with some fines or orders to tear the deck down.
You will also need to figure out what you will build your deck with. Most people will choose wood: a wood deck is both visually appealing and fairly easy to manage, which can make it good for beginners and experienced DIY fans alike. Low-cost wood that has been pressure-treated, or left-over pallet, can be a good way to get durable but cheap wood to use as a starting material. The high cost of brand new deck materials can kill almost any project before it even gets started, and the actual benefits of a costly wood deck are few and far between.
Remember that wood boards come in different types and size levels: you might want large cedar boards, but other people might prefer a deck made of something else and in a different style. There aren’t any wrong answers, at least not in the planning stage, since all woods and deck types can be modified to suit any outdoor weather.
Building Your Deck
There are a few problems you might run into if you don’t plan your deck design out, so be sure to think ahead and work out what you actually need to make your finished deck look good. For example, if you are making a pallet wood deck, try to find ones that don’t have large gaps (or. Alternatively, ones that can easily have the gaps filled in) so that your deck isn’t left with gaping holes at regular intervals.
Also, make sure that your cheap wood will not come with many elements that have to be removed, such as nailed or damaged pieces. You can work around a medium amount of these, but having too many will essentially leave your project entirely at the mercy of whatever the supplier can give you. If every piece of wood has at least one nail in it, you will be playing hide and seek with the metal annoyances for a long time, delaying your entire deck project.
Don’t be afraid to focus on using extra materials during the build, too. If wood won’t be enough, or you are finding that a certain design element (such as deck railings) isn’t going to work properly if you make them out of the same wood as the decking, there is nothing wrong with using something else. You can always modify your deck design in the future with paint or by replacing certain parts.
Common Deck Types and Features
Any deck that uses varied materials is a composite design. Maybe you will use plastics in yours to add some professional flair, or only use recycled materials for your deck. A deck like this can be made in many ways, especially with carefully chosen materials.
On the other hand, you might see decks as something that should be purely wood-based. Composite ones are great, but to some people, an authentic outdoor deck is all they need. This is an excellent deck for people who want to feel like an old-school DIY expert, too.
Any decking that is simply a large, open wood outdoor space can be simple to create. These deck s are great for general outdoor living and give you a lot of room for furniture or other deck design elements, and are great for complete beginners.
A deck railing can add some extra flair to your deck without being too excessive. Whether you want to build them yourself or make them from fence pieces, they can be a nice way to extend the deck project if you still feel like the decking is looking bare.
Some people built multi-layered decks that offer steps at the edge. This is good for a raised deck design or a home that is slightly off the ground, and it can be a great DIY challenge.
Spare wood can be turned into outdoor deck seating or deck benches that accentuate your outdoor space. This is an excellent way to use up materials and make your deck feel more like home without requiring any extra budget. Good deck seating can save plenty of money that you would have to spend on high-priced, ‘all-rights-reserved’ products that you would normally pay hundreds for.
Some people prefer the wood in their deck to run diagonally to the edge of the deck. This can be trickier, but the general design is the same as normal decking, making them a slightly harder – but more rewarding – set of decks to create.
There is no rule saying that a deck has to be connected to your home! Some people like to create a composite deck in the middle of their garden as a seating area, leaving it completely separate from the normal house patio or deck…
Outdoor Deck Walkways
…while other people might use their deck as additions to a regular deck or set of patios, creating a decking walkway around the edge of their garden. This can be great for outdoor spaces.
Some people like their outdoor decking to suit their home. In that case, there is not really any rules with how a deck can be made. If you feel like your deck should be a certain way, go ahead and make it – at the end of the day, your deck should be whatever it needs to be.