If you are thinking about installing a deck in your home, make sure that you learn what you should not do from the most commonly made outdoor decking mistakes, in order to prevent making them yourself.
There is no doubt that a deck will add plenty of value to any home, but when the design, materials, planning or installation (or all of the above) are not done correctly, your dream deck could end up being closer to a nightmare. Many homeowners start the process without first taking into account the careful planning that needs to be done in order to make the deck safe, compliant with local building laws, positioned properly and well-constructed to ensure longevity.
What are some of the mistakes that are often made with decks, and what is the best way to go about getting started without any potential expensive and time-consuming disasters?
The Biggest Outdoor Decking Mistakes… And How to Avoid Making Them
In no particular order, the mistakes that are often made with outdoor decking materials and installation include the following:
1. Using unsealed wood. An unsealed wooden deck will start to deteriorate a lot sooner than a sealed deck. When boards are not sealed, they begin to look worn out, old and unattractive. They will also become more prone to water, wind and sun damage, which can affect the overall integrity of the wood, too. The best option is to consider an eco-friendly, composite decking solution such as Envirodeck, which does not need to be sealed in order for boards to look as good as new for as long as possible.
2. Not ensuring sufficient ventilation. Even composite decks should be optimised for ventilation, despite the high moisture resistance of this type of decking material. Prolonged exposure to moisture will eventually increase the risk of mould. To prevent this, ensure that there is adequate space when placing boards near structures such as the house, swimming pool and retaining walls so that water can easily drain. There should be gaps between boards as well to allow for expansion and contraction – if you are unsure, ask a decking supplier such as Envirodeck for input into correct spacing. Decking boards should also never be placed directly onto the ground or any other surface aside from the substructure.
3. Using poor or improper materials. Aside from the boards themselves, you will also need to consider the additional materials required to build the deck. Fasteners and substructures made from steel, concrete and even composite material are all required for the deck to be installed. Using incorrect or poor materials can cause structural damage, while also leading to a deck that is less than secure. Ideally, materials that are weather resistant will be best for the entire structure.
4. Not checking for stability. A shockingly high number of outdoor decks are not designed and installed according to building guidelines. This equates to unstable, unsafe and unreliable structures that could be extremely dangerous for homeowners as well as their guests. A collapsed deck can lead to severe injury and even death, and as such, it is vital to ensure that your deck is built for stability before anything else. When in doubt, seek help from a trusted deck installer.
Now that you know what NOT to do, you can get on with your outdoor decking plans with even more peace of mind, ensuring that your deck is built safely, properly and smartly.