Having a deck on a two-storey home is a great addition for any home owner. Especially in Queensland with our amazing weather, most of the time, to get outside and relax and enjoy the space with family and friends is a great reason to add a deck onto your home renovation wish list.
To design a deck you have to take into account a number of considerations and the owner should have a clear understanding of the intended purpose of the deck.
Some of the factors that need to be considered are:
- Possible views
- Proximity to facilities
- Architectural integration with existing house style
- Type of material to be used
- Surface coatings, paints and stains
To enable a deck to be used all year round the locations’ specific sun orientation and wind direction need to be considered and protected against for maximum benefit.
When entertaining friends and family in an intimate setting the last thing you want is to look across and see your neighbours watching. Privacy screens or strategic planting is a good way to maintain your privacy.
The use of screening and handrails can sometimes interrupt the views so the use of appropriate materials can eliminate this conflict. Also, in some cases the aspect of the deck conflicts with the possible views of the area (views facing West). In this instance you need to decide what is more important or use moveable screens to enable the view to be revealed at night.
Proximity of facilities
More often than not the deck is used as an outdoor dining area o it would make sense to position the deck in an advantageous position close to the kitchen or alternatively incorporate an outdoor kitchen into the deck design.
The style and feel of the deck should complement the existing house not necessarily to feel like it has always been there but not to drastically conflict with the design style of the house.
Types of materials
There are two types of materials you can use for the structure of the deck the first is timber and it can come in many forms. LVL, solid pine, hardwood and they all have different treatment levels. A H3 treatment level is recommended for all outdoor above ground timbers. The second material steel is becoming more commonly used as it can usually span greater distances and pricing is comparable. I still prefer the use of timber as it is more traditional and I believe has a warmer feel.
There are numerous paints and stains which are available for protecting timber some are better than others and some do different things. It would be worth researching the best product for your purpose as your deck is an investment and one worth maintaining.
Decks can come in many shapes and sizes depending on the purpose and requirement of the deck. When you design a deck please consider the general guide below for suggested minimum sizes.
2-4 people (table and chairs) = 3000mm x 3000mm
4-6 people (table and chairs) = 4000mm x 3000mm
6-8 people (table, chairs and BBQ) = 4800mm x 3600mm
8-10 people (table, chairs and BBQ) = 6000mm x 3600mm
Decks are never to be overloaded with party goers or furniture. If you are unsure what size deck to build, using a rope as the deck boundary on the grass than placing furniture inside is a good way to get a grasp of the actual space you require. If you are still unsure ask your designer and always go a little bigger if you can afford to.
For further reading – The Australian Decks & Pergolas Construction Manual by Allan Staines