What to consider before you build a deck

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You've been dreaming about relaxing on a new deck all winter, and now it's time to put...

You've been dreaming about relaxing on a new deck all winter, and now it's time to put those plans into action. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you prepare to install your deck.

Location, location, location

Where you place your deck will depend on the kind of space you're hoping to create. A southern exposure will be bright, but it could be too hot when it's under the glare of a full summer sun. If you prefer the sun in the morning with your coffee, place your deck on the eastern side of your house. If you'd rather let the sun warm you as you read the paper in the afternoon, place your deck on the west side of your house.

Is the location safe?

No matter where you place your deck, be sure to check the soil in that location. The ground should be free of grass and other vegetation before you begin construction. Areas that stay swampy and wet can lead to wood rot, and even sloping of the deck itself. Choosing your location is important, so check with your Atlanta-area landscape and deck expert before you settle on the perfect spot.

Shape and size

The shape of your deck is important and will really inform how and when you entertain this summer. Most decks will be attached to the house, so that will also play a part in its size. A large and flat deck is great for entertaining. A layered or sunken deck allows for depth and creates visual interest.

Materials

Pressure treated wood has built-in protection from the elements and most carry a lifetime warranty. If you prefer a natural hardwood, try redwood or cedar. Redwood is aptly named because of its gorgeous red hue, but home builders find it is not as strong as pine or cedar. Cedar is a popular choice because of its durability, and it's great for families who like to go barefoot because it is unlikely to splinter.

Stains and sealants

Choose paint or a stain to add a touch of rich color to your deck, but don't stop there. Be sure to use a sealant after you stain or paint your deck to protect it from the elements, mildew and harsh UV rays. You'll extend the life of your deck by years if you keep it protected. If you do stain your deck, be ready to reapply that stain at least every other year.

Features

Lighting can add an element of safety but can be costly and time consuming to install, and will need the help of an electrician. Another popular feature is built-in seating, but the downside is that it is a permanent decision, so make sure you love the design.

Adding a deck will provide more living space for your family to enjoy and more visual interest to your home.

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