Redwood is a good insect resistant material for decking


Dear James: My children are growing up and a terrace in the garden would be great. I have a limited budget and want to build it myself but I don’t know where to start. Advices ? -Maria S.

Dear Maria: Adding a deck, usually adjacent to a sliding glass door, is one of the most common home improvement projects. It can add a lot of resale value to your home even if you’re paying for someone to build it. If you build it yourself and only have hardware costs, the ROI is huge.

Building a deck yourself is not a highly technical project, so most people can handle it. The most difficult will be the transport and handling of heavy and bulky materials. Before doing anything, first plan your deck. This includes size, material choices, built-in benches and tables, etc.

Most deck designs are simple and allow you to make it as complicated or simple as you want. This project does not require a master carpenter; as long as you know how to wield a hammer and level, your deck will be ready in no time.

Using pressure treated lumber for all structural elements – planks, beams, joists, etc. – you ensure that your terrace will last a long time. You don’t even have to paint or stain the wood unless you choose a color to match your home. Most woods will age well to a gray stain.

Using a single wood for the railings and decking is a good idea. It’s actually easier to build with a wood like redwood than with pressure-treated pine. Using redwood can make your patio look spectacular. Redwood is lighter and easier to handle than pressure treated wood. It is also easier to saw.

A disadvantage of redwood is that it is more expensive, but you can reduce the cost by selecting the right quality. There are many grades of redwood that cost less than clearheart redwood. Purchasing one of these lower grades of heartwood will still provide resistance to rot and insects.

Try to save room in your budget for stainless steel nails, especially when using redwood. Stainless steel nails will remove future stains. A cheaper option is hot dipped galvanized nails, but you can still get rust and stains from these.

The location of your patio will play an important role in the planning process. Many factors, including patio use, drafts, compatibility with your existing home, amount of sunlight desired, privacy, and view, will affect the optimal location.

How your deck is going to be used will determine the type of accessories you should add to your deck. Things you need to consider are how many people will typically be on the deck and whether you will be sunbathing on it or using it primarily for entertainment. Benches, tables, and even a built-in barbecue can be great additions that you might want to consider during the planning stages.

Build your deck from the ground surface, a few inches or several feet above. Your terrace can be freestanding or connected to your house. Check your local building requirements before making lumber or hardware purchases. There may be certain restrictions in your neighborhood that you are not aware of.


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