Towards the end of winter season, you may be beginning to think about heading out and spending time outdoors. It’s a fine time to do your spring cleaning, but first, how about a little barbecue with friends and family? If you currently don’t have a deck – or need to redo your current one – winter may be just the season to get this work done.
Here are three reasons why:
1. It’s Off-Peak Season for Deck Builders
Heating companies are quite busy during the winter season, with all those calls about broken furnaces or HVACs in need of cleaning and maintenance. But deck builders are not as busy. Most people aren’t thinking about tackling a major project right now, let alone one that’s outdoors, so you can have your pick of deck building professionals.
2. There’s Time for Designing
Builders have the time to design custom decks. You also have time to figure out which one is the best for your home. It’s fine if you can’t decide on day one. They can accommodate your requests, including any add-ons you might consider, such as lighting, heaters, etc.
3. Your Deck Will Be Ready When Winter Is Over
You can start enjoying your new deck as soon as winter is over. Your neighbors are remodeling, maintaining or trying to find an available professional to start building their deck, but you’re already spending time with your family and friends on your deck, barbecuing, dining, having a game night and basically just having fun.
Depending on where you live, it’s possible for blizzards to delay your project for a few days. But generally, if the weather is fine albeit cold and perhaps snowy, you can have your deck remodel or deck build done before the winter is over.
To make sure your project goes smoothly, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself and your property early. Here’s how the project will go:
Obtain Your Building Permits
Whether it’s a deck or a patio design, it has to be permitted by local authorities before the project can begin. The planning department in your area will review your plans to determine the safety and integrity of the structure. You can have structural engineers review your plans if they were not professionally done. However, if you’re hiring a professional builder of custom decks, it’s highly likely that they will take care of pulling the necessary permits before starting with your project.
Prepare for Inspections
A local building inspector will visit your property about two or three times as your deck construction is underway. This is done to determine whether the structure is safe and up to code. If you’re not always at home (such as if you’re working during the day), you can ask the building inspectors about which stages of the project they intend to see so you can be there when they visit. It’s good to be present to answer any of their questions.
A building inspector’s main concern is safety, generally, so a visit from this person is not something you should be worried about too much. Inspectors will often make suggestions that will be helpful with your project.
Notify Utility Service Providers
Many utilities are underground, including cables and wires, plumbing and sewer lines. As you’re building on your property, it’s helpful to know where these utilities are so your contractor won’t run the risk of hitting them. Most utility providers are willing to mark those locations for free or for a small fee, so it’s advisable to inform all of them about your plans to start this project.
Prepare the Site
As soon as you obtain the necessary permits, you can start your project. Whatever isn’t included in the plan should be removed. These include obstructions like shrubs, small trees, sheds and outbuildings.
The soil near the foundation has to be graded to slope away from the house. The rate of slope should be about six inches vertical for every three feet horizontal.
Covering the area with landscaping fabric will prevent vegetation growth underneath your new deck. Your contractor will add a layer of coarse sand, which is important for drainage, and the landscaping fabric over the sand. Over the fabric, your contractor will pour several inches of gravel.
Prepare the Foundation
This is more complex than any other part of your preparations, so far. That’s why it’s better to hire a professional deck building contractor than try to do this by yourself.
The ledger will be marked on the side of your house if the deck is attached to the house. A system of tautly pulled strings on staked batter boards will mark the outline of your deck. The strings will also help in the placement of foundation footings. Note that pouring the footings should come before laying the covering for preventing vegetation growth under the deck.
Your deck builder will likely use a clamshell digger if your deck is small. But if it’s a bigger deck that needs up to six or seven footing holes, they might have to use a power auger. This heavy and awkward tool can bore a 42-inch deep, 10-inch wide hole in the ground in about 3 minutes, so it will make short work of digging for a large deck.
The foundation will be poured. This will take some time to cure. When the foundation has cured, your contractor can begin building the deck in a systematic manner. This will include the installation of joists, posts and girders, and, if necessary, braces. Depending on the method of your builder, the substructure is likely to be fastened together using galvanized metal connectors for securing and strengthening the members. The decking will now be laid over the joists. Galvanized nails or screws will fasten the decking to the joists.
Railings, ancillary structures and stairs will be added to the deck. After that, if your deck needs some finishing, your contractor will add protective sealers and either paint or stain. When the finish is cured, your deck is ready.
Now that you have a solid idea about how your deck building will proceed, it’s time to start planning before the end of winter. Get in touch with The Deck Store. We offer deck and patio design and building services. Call us today at (701) 223-1008, or tell us about your deck or patio project ideas here.