This checklist is for anyone planning to add a deck to their house. Its purpose is to help avoid regrets and avoidable costs resulting from not being fully aware of available options beforehand. We suggest that you aim for a high-functioning deck that suits and compliments your property, and that will give you a good return on your investment down the road.
With that in mind, we offer the following "starter" checklist of things to think about before designing and building your deck:
1. How to access the deck from the house. A deck should make a smooth transition from the house to the yard and its landscape. The existing back door may not be idea, since it will probably funnel traffic into your kitchen – not desirable for entertaining a large group. Consider a French door or slider from your living room or family room instead.
2. The deck should be well suited to your property. You do not want your deck to overwhelm, or be dwarfed by, the yard or its landscaping. Find out if your local building codes limits how much of your property can be occupied by a deck. A professional builder will make sure that local building codes are followed
3. Consider the path of the sun in relation to the deck. Do you have, or will need to acquire shade trees, tall border plants, a pergola, or install shade sails to help block the sun's rays in the late afternoon?
4. Protecting your privacy. If you have close-in neighbors who can see into your yard, you may want to create a sight-line barrier near your deck or property line. This can be done with tall plants or foliage, or some type of fencing that will block or obscure the view. An added benefit of a privacy barrier is that it can help shield the deck from occasional strong prevailing winds.
5. Is the deck you are planning a good fit for your area's housing market? If you decide to sell your house at some point, you will want your deck to be a positive factor, not a deterrent to its sale. If you can, check out the decks of other homes in your area. If part of your reasoning for adding the deck is to increase its value, keep your deck somewhat similar to the others in your local market.
Adding a deck is short-term project and relatively inexpensive, compared to other home renovations. If the deck is made of high-quality materials, it will add even more value to your home whenever to decide to sell. Thoughtful planning will help you create a great deck that is perfect for you, your home and your property's value.