Summer projects will quickly fill your weekend calendar and for many, a decking project will be included on the to-do list. We at Citywide Sundecks & Railings, have compiled these 9 deck project hacks so you don’t waste your money or your time. Check out how to make your deck project go super smoothly and get the deck of your dreams:
1 - Know Your Options: Hardwood, treated wood, tile, composite, PVC, vinyl, aluminum – there are tons of options for deck materials. To choose what type of deck is best for you, consider what your needs are. If you’re renovating, maybe your existing material isn’t what makes the most sense. A wooden deck that splinters and needs to be refinished annually makes much less sense for a young family than a low-maintenance splinter free vinyl deck, for example.
2 - Work the lighting: Lighting (or lack of) makes a huge difference in the usability and feel of a home’s exterior. Consider including lighting under railings, on posts, or in stair risers for added safety and ambiance. You can use deck-specific lighting, or something more temporary like rope lights, string lighting, and solar lighting – Pick your style and set the mood.
3 - Maximize usable space: Decks are great when the sun is shining, but what about when the clouds roll in? Make sure you’re getting the most time possible on your deck by incorporating a covered area. Add a patio cover or pergola into your plan and make your new deck usable in all types of weather. For colder climates, consider an enclosed portion of the deck that can be temperature controlled. One simple tweak to the plans and you can BBQ in December!
4 - Know when to DIY: Taking on portions of a project yourself can be tons of fun and save can you a buck. But when you take on the wrong parts of a project, it can cost you an arm and a leg. Leave the structural work to the pros -- you don’t want to mess with building codes, engineering, product specifications, licensing, and insurance. But, get creative with the finishing touches. Lighting, seating, landscaping, and painting will transform a deck. With your creative touch, you can take a deck from standard to spectacular.
5 - Turn up the sound: Picture yourself on a summer’s evening enjoying your new deck in the twilight, drink in hand. What’s missing? Some relaxing surround-sound music, of course! While you could haul your Bluetooth speaker outside whenever you want some tunes, built-in outdoor speakers will stand up to any weather, don’t need to be charged, and won’t be drowned out by chatting and giggles of patio party-goers.
6 - Timing is everything: In the peak summer season, reputable deck builders have full schedules and weeks of wait time for new customers. If you can wait for fall, or get a jump on your project in spring, you could save thousands of dollars on your deck project. An added bonus is that most decking companies keep their core employees (read: most experienced) through the offseason, while the summer workers move on to other gigs. By timing your project well, you’ll have a new deck before your neighbors (and you’ll pay a fraction of the price).
7 - Have some privacy: Is your deck close to a busy street or eye level with your neighbour’s kitchen window? A privacy screen can make a space that is a little too public feel like a private retreat. Privacy screens can be added to a deck at any time, custom built or store bought. You can also remove a section of railing and replace it with a sleek privacy wall to maintain the usable square footage of your deck. Privacy walls can be wooden, frosted glass, or aluminum panel -- your imagination is the limit!
8 - Make a contingency plan (of 15-20%): On average, homeowners underestimate the cost of renovations by 50%. Experienced contractors know what signs may indicate hidden costs like rot and asbestos, but even the best contractors can’t find every issue upfront on every project. Prepare for the unexpected and budget accordingly. Also, make sure your contractor keeps open communication with you through the project so that any surprises can be managed together.
9 - Find a trusted referral: The best referrals come from a trusted and unbiased 3rd party. One of the most valuable resources for such referrals in the construction industry is your local hardware store. Ask them if they could recommend any contractors that build decks and they will tell you about companies that pay their bills on time, buy quality products, and are generally professional and easy to work with.
If you’re looking for a professional deck contractor in the greater Vancouver, BC area that makes deck projects easy and affordable, Citywide Sundecks & Railings can help. We specialize in residential sundeck construction and renovation. Call us to get a free quote! 604-SUN-DECK (786-3325).