Decks: A Smart Investment
You can hardly go wrong in the Washington area investing in your house. Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” reported a 116% recoup for decks (construction cost against resale value) in 2005. National average is about 10% to 15% lower than the Washington area. Most people stay in remodeled homes longer, which in a market like Washington’s means greater appreciation.

Planning Your Deck

What makes a fine deck that will work for you?

A fine deck is an outdoor living area that functions as an extension of your home. It accommodates your family’s life-style with flexibility for socializing, recreation, dining, or relaxation. A fine deck can turn an ordinary yard into a beautiful one.
Please visit: http://www.decks.com/article7.aspx for more guidelines to help you plan your deck.

Matching Your Needs
Basic requirements for a successful deck design


Dining Area

If you like to eat outdoors, make sure your deck is large enough to accommodate tables and chairs. In most cases you will need a 12’x12’ area. Consider how easy it will be to get from the kitchen to the dining set. Keep this distance as short as possible.

Barbecue Area

Plan a place for a barbecue. This should be an out-of-the-way spot where no one will bump into the grill and where smoke won’t be a nuisance. Place the grill at least 2’ away from the siding.

Relaxing Area

Create a space to relax. A few Adirondack stairs with a coffee table might be all that is needed.

These three area requirements should give you some idea for the size of your deck. Keep in mind that bigger is not always better.

Other things to consider:

Privacy

If your value privacy or your view is unsightly, plan to add screens, arbors, or a trellis for vineyards to grow on. If you have a great view think about a railing that doesn’t disturb the view like glass, wrought iron, or stainless steel cable.
Keep in mind that white will reflect more light and will reduce the view.

Storage

No matter how you will use your deck, you’ll always value storage space. Where will you put the hose and other garden tools or children’s play equipment? Where does the garden furniture go in bad weather? Consider a dry below space under the deck.
Finish it with lattice or a solid wall to keep it out of sight.

Features to consider

Deck direction:
Decking material:
Railing material:
Tie in overhead:
Angels in your deck:
Levels:
Detailing:
Safety:
Deck lights:
Stairs:
Structures:
Accessories:

Parallel – Diagonal – Herringbone etc.
Wood – Composite - Vinyl
Wood – Composite – Vinyl – Wrought Iron – Glass - Cable
Arbors – Trellis – Umbrella
Angled – Round – Octagons shapes
Ground level – One or multi level
Fascia boards – Post skirt – Post caps
Gates by the stairs – hand railing – deck lights by steps
Low-voltage – Line-voltage – solar
Width of stairs – Rise/Run (to sit or a place for some plants)
Gazebo – Porch – Pavilion – Hot Tubs
Benches – Planter boxes – Hammocks – Lounges – fire pits

Matching your house
A deck should be more than just functional. When designed well, it adds beauty and character to your home, as well as value.

Keep in Scale
A large flat deck outside a small house seems out of place – more like a landing platform than an inviting outdoor living area. Likewise, a small deck off a large house feels insecure, and is seldom useful. Make sure your deck is in scale with your house.

Take cues from existing design
To make a new deck seem as though it has always been part of your property, repeat some of your house’s features in the deck’s design. For example, follow your deck perimeter in line with your bay window, or stain the railing to match the shutters of your house or complement the house color.
As you can see there are a lot of things to consider in the planning and designing stage.
We design each year around 300 decks and we will be happy to assist you in your deck
Please visit our photo gallery to get some ideas for your design.
If you like to see more please go to: http://www.decks.com/photosearch.aspx
Visit: http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/homegarden for the latest information.
Be realistic and keep your budget in mind how far you can go.

Do it Yourself?
Besides painting, a small deck for basic use is one of the easiest home projects. That doesn’t mean everyone should try it. Professionals that are dedicated to outdoor projects know how to avoid mistakes as well as where to find the latest designs, materials and techniques.
They build exclusively decks all year around and have advantages in experience and material sources.
The Better Business Bureau gets a lot of complaints about deck work. The best advice is to look at completed projects; start by asking friends and neighbors who had a deck build by their general contractor. Ask for at least 3 references from customers that had a deck build recently within a 5 mile radius, license, and insurance.
Successful deck contractors that deliver high quality and service are in demand in the
Washington D.C. area and have a full schedule. If you want a deck to enjoy for the season,
sign up two to three months ahead.
Copyright 2010 Fine Decks, Inc.