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How to Create a Specialty Deck

Oct 16, 2007
In many cases a specialty deck is more or less an opportunistic home improvement project. It takes advantage of a home's existing architectural features and converts it into something that is valuable.

A secluded and wasted space behind the garage where the sun can be seen to rise can easily become the location of a small platform deck where the morning coffee can be sipped and the daily newspaper can be read.

A balcony can be constructed adjoining a bedroom with a great view but a tiny window. Many of the homes built in the early part of the last century are excellent candidates for such a balcony deck.

An isolated spot in the backyard surrounded by gardens could easily be transformed with the construction of a detached deck. They are typically built on pressure treated timbers set on top of a bed of gravel or sand for drainage. This at-one-with-nature effect could be completed with the addition of an ornamental water feature and low voltage lighting for use in the evening hours.

A flat roof anywhere can be topped off with the erection of a roof deck. One built over a second story porch can easily provide tree-top views of the neighborhood without detracting from the design of the house. Railing systems are extremely important to such structures for safety reasons.

Some specialty decks solve problems that are architectural in nature. An entry deck can change a concealed doorway into a grand entrance that is more easily visible to visitors. A pool or hot tub deck can greatly enhance the poolside experience for all those who use it because its wood surface is much more appealing than stone or tile.

Wraparound decks extend around corners of a house and are capable of linking difficult to reach areas of the home such as a kitchen and screened porch or a kitchen and family room separated by a dining room. Wraparound or winding decks when used as walkways are extremely useful when the yard is too rough or steep to navigate.

Most backyard pools are of the above ground variety because they are relatively inexpensive and simple to install for most do-ot-yourselfers. The biggest drawback connected with them is that access is difficult because of their height above ground level. This usually involves climbing a flimsy and slippery plastic or aluminum ladder to gain access to the water. Deck surrounds are obvious specialty deck solutions. They not only improve safety issues associated with the pool but can also enhance the appearance of the entire pool area.

Composite decking is ideal around a pool. It can easily be cut around intricate pool shapes thereby eliminating splinters and toe stubbing gaps. It is also slip resistant and is not affected adversely by prolonged exposure to water.

Specialty decks are a tribute to the versatility of wood construction. They can be built quickly, are relatively light in weight in comparison to concrete or stone patios and are relatively inexpensive to construct. Specialty decks can be built to convey a great sense of style, especially when design options involve the combination of wood with materials such as metals, glass and plastics.

In some cases it might be wise to hire a professional to assist in the planning and design of a specialty deck. Prior to hiring any designer, it is vital to be certain as to what is desired with regards to the specific deck needs. Otherwise, considerable amounts of time and money could easily be wasted in finding this out.

The creation of rough drawings or computer software generated drawings can do much to increase the efficiency of the deck design process. There are many design sources for decks. These include builders who claim to be designers.

Manufacturers hoping to sell their products will claim to be sources for possible deck designs. Firms that specialize in deck design and construction employ people who will be or will claim to be designers.

Licensed architects and designers with a strong architectural background are most likely the most creative possibilities. It is important to examine their design concepts closely as their clever ideas can add considerably to the cost of the project. On the other hand, they can eliminate the possibility of making fundamental design errors. The project is more likely to be successful with one than without.

Careful planning and practical design techniques can easily be combined with some creative strategies to generate a specialty deck that will satisfy the lifestyle and needs of the homeowner, family members and guests.
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Deck Types and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
building a deck visit:
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