Decks and patio spaces can seemingly create square footage out of thin air for summer family get-togethers. Instead of having your loved ones crammed into your living room, you can escape to the great outdoors.
Not only do decks and patios allow for ample relaxation from your own backyard, if you have kids they also allow you to keep an eye on them while enjoying your backyard oasis.
The only problem is, estimates for such incredible decks and patios tend to be insanely expensive. When you take on the project yourself, the price tag instantly plummets.
When you have the right tools, it can make the job run a lot smoother. At Wildcat Tool Rental we can help give pointers on your project, help you rent the right equipment for the job and deliver items directly to you for ease.
Preparation and Planning
Before you begin your project, you have to begin planning for both the location, size, style and structure that works for your space and needs. The great thing about building your own deck or patio is that you can customize each of these things to become your dream deck and do what works best for your home and yard.
First, consider the size you want depending on how big your yard and home are. The size and shape of your yard will determine what is possible for the space you are trying to fill. Before you begin, a great way to get a better idea of how the space will look is to measure out the space by taping and sectioning it off with rope to help you visualize how big it actually it actually is before building.
To determine the size that is right for you be honest with yourself about how often you’ll be using your deck and what you want to use it for. For example, if you plan on entertaining guests often with backyard BBQ’s, a larger deck may be more accommodating, but if you are intending to only use the deck to watch the sunset with a glass of wine with your loved one, then it might not be necessary to have so much space.
Having a better understanding of how often you’ll use the area and what your intended purpose is for the space will also help you determine what style is right for you.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is the location. Some houses don’t have a lot of options for this, but it is important to be mindful of natural obstacles such as trees. Depending on the location, you can choose to build around them or simply remove the trees and clear the area, either way using the right equipment will make the removal and building easier.
The location can vary greatly depending on what you think would look best and what works best for your backyard space. In some instances, you can even build the deck or patio as its own area so it doesn’t have to be attached directly to your home.
The structure is also important to keep in mind in order to determine if a deck or patio is right for your backyard space. This will be different depending on the needs of each homeowner. For example, a sloped yard will require installing posts whereas a smaller one-story house may be the best fit with a small patio.
Choosing the Right Materials
The biggest consideration to keep in mind is the materials you use to build with. You have the complete power to choose whatever materials you want to use depending on what is most important to you.
For instance, if you are concerned with price then you may want to consider investing in natural pressure treated wood with the Forest Stewardship Council’s approval. While the initial price is lower, overtime it requires more maintenance and regular upkeep to keep it looking nice.
If you are looking for materials that don’t require that amount of upkeep, you may have to spend a bit more. Composite decks, while not as cost-effective initially, offer unrivaled durability that withstands weathering and seasonal changes making it a hassle-free option that requires no sanding, staining, or painting which over time can pay for itself.
Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind while planning for all of these areas is your budget. This will affect the size you can build, what style you are able to use as well as the materials you use.
Set a budget from the beginning so that your project is everything you’ve hoped for. And remember, if you can’t include everything you want on your dream deck now, you will always be able to add on in the future.
Your local regulations and building codes may also dictate the outcome of some of these decisions, so be mindful of this while you go through the permit process before building.
Planning for Safety
Whether you’re repairing an old deck or building new, proper safety is a huge concern. These safety concerns only grow as the size and height of your deck grows.
There are also many safety regulations and codes to follow while building. Ignoring these can create structural damage, not to mention serious injuries.
Safety should always be the top priority, regardless of whether or not it the easiest or most cost-effective option. You can’t put a price on the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Adding railings and stairs to your deck can also help create a safer place and allow for little ones and animals to play on your new space without worrying about any potential injuries.
Basic Overview of Building a Simple Deck
Once you have planned out your design and structure, you can begin the process of building your deck. You can customize this process however you want to make the deck fit your wants and needs for your dream deck.
To begin, place the deck footings one at a time. These should be measured at the perfect distance and height so that each deck pier is level. Place gravel at the bottom of each footing to minimize sliding and bury once you have them all laid exactly where they’re needed.
Cut and lay your joists across the deck piers one at a time so that two joints meet onto one pier to reach the entire deck. Then re-bury the concrete deck piers once they are all placed with the rock and soil.
Lay your decking planks across the joists. You should use ¼ in tile spacers between your boards and add two screws on each joist. Finally, add the ends caps onto the side of the deck to give it a finished look. This plan builds a simple raised deck, look online at project guidelines and YouTube videos for step by step instructions on the best methods for making your dream patio.
Beyond this, there are many other additional steps you can take. If you are worried about splinters or any screws sticking out you can make sure they are flush with the wood and sand to prevent splintering. You can also waterproof the planks and add any desired stain or seal unless using composite materials, in which case you simply follow the manufacturers guidelines.
Topline Steps for Building a Patio
Building a patio can be easier if you are a beginner. This requires a lot less work with tools, but can be more manual labor in picking up rocks and pavers. Or opt for a concrete patio instead.
Before you purchase your materials, you’ll want to decide on what pattern you want to use. A lot of people like to use small, medium and large pavers to create a simple pattern.
Next, you’ll want to dig a shallow hole, about a foot deep that extends however long you want the patio to be. Make the base of the patio about 2 inches deeper away from your house so that the water drains according to the tilt in the patio. Tie a string across the patio that is level and then move the string down to inches to show you the slope of where to dig.
After this, you can lay down sheets of landscaping fabric so that weeds and plants don’t grow up around the pavers. You will then want to dump. The base rock and sand on top of the fabric.
Once you lay down all the base you rock you then need to tamper it down so that it is flat and level and then proceed to do the same thing with the next layer of sand. To make this step easier you can also rent a machine to compact it for you and save you the backache.
Lay down your pavers according to the pattern you selected or designed, leaving about 1/8 inch in between each one. Then spread polymeric sand on top of them and tamp again so that it settles in the cracks. Finally, brush the access sand off and activate the glue in the sand by watering it for 15-30 seconds multiple times until the water has absorbed.
For more detailed plans, look online at project guidelines and YouTube videos for step by step instructions on how the best methods for making your dream patio.
Maintenance of a Deck/Patio
Depending on the materials of your deck or patio area, you may be required to maintain more upkeep. For example, natural wood decks require regular scrubbing and sanding to be painted or stained regularly. On the other hand, composite decks should be washed and any warping or twisting should be immediately repaired.
Add the Finishing Touch
You can also add any little details that may help your deck feel more like your dream backyard space. Planting flowers, installing a sound system or outdoor entertaining system and building a cover or umbrella holder for some added shade, can also help to make your deck your new favorite space.
To make your new space homey, consider decorating your deck with solar string lights, investing in patio furniture with and without cushions or even adding outdoor kitchen areas. All of these things and more can help add into the feeling of home that your new deck can provide.
Wildcat has a wide variety of equipment to help you from the beginning to the completion of this project. Our knowledge and expertise can help as you go and make the process easier by delivery the materials and equipment you need.