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Decks have become an indispensable extension of the living space for many homeowners, providing a perfect area for hosting gatherings, relaxing, or enjoying the outdoors. Choosing the right deck for a home involves considering various styles, materials, and design inspirations. This article provides comprehensive information on the different types of deck styles and materials, the timeline for deck construction, ways to find design inspiration, insights into popular deck building companies, and an overview of the average labor and material costs associated with building a deck.

Types of Deck Styles & Materials

The style of a deck is typically influenced by the architecture of the home, the landscape, and personal preference. Common deck styles include platform decks, raised or multi-level decks, freestanding decks, and specialty decks that might include features such as built-in seating or fire pits.

When it comes to materials, wood has been the traditional choice for decks due to its natural appearance and cost-effectiveness. Popular wood options include pressure-treated lumber, cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods. Each wood type has its pros and cons regarding durability, maintenance, and cost.

Composite decking is another popular material choice, made from recycled plastic and wood fibers. It offers the look of wood without the same level of upkeep, as it's resistant to rot, warping, and insects. Vinyl decking is a low-maintenance option that comes in a variety of colors and patterns, though it doesn't have the same natural look as wood or composite.

Aluminum is a less common material that provides a modern appearance, durability, and minimal maintenance but at a higher cost. Additionally, there are eco-friendly options such as bamboo decking, which is sustainable and has a unique aesthetic appeal.

How Long Does Deck Construction Take

The duration of deck construction can vary significantly based on the complexity of the design, the size of the deck, the materials chosen, and the efficiency of the construction crew. A simple platform deck might take a few days to build, while a large, multi-level deck with custom features could take several weeks or even months.

Preparation time, including design, obtaining permits, and sourcing materials, should also be considered. Weather conditions can also impact the construction timeline. Homeowners should discuss the projected timeline with their chosen contractor to set realistic expectations.

How To Find Design Inspiration

Finding design inspiration for a deck can be an enjoyable part of the planning process. Homeowners can start by browsing home improvement magazines, websites like Pinterest and Houzz, and social media platforms for visual ideas. Attending home and garden shows provides an opportunity to see the latest trends and materials in person.

Reflecting on the intended use of the deck can drive the design process. For instance, those who love to entertain might want a built-in barbecue or bar area, while someone seeking a quiet retreat might prioritize built-in benches and planters. Considering the home's existing architecture and the surrounding landscape will ensure that the deck complements its environment.

Popular Deck Building Companies

Several reputable companies specialize in deck construction, each with its unique offerings and strengths. Companies like Trex, TimberTech, and Fiberon are renowned for their high-quality composite decking materials. Local contractors often provide personalized service and can tailor a deck to a homeowner's specific needs and preferences.

When selecting a company, it's essential to research their reputation, review previous projects, and read customer testimonials. Licensing, insurance, and warranties are also critical factors to consider.

Average Labor & Material Cost

The cost of building a deck varies widely based on size, materials, complexity, and location. As of the knowledge cutoff in 2023, the average cost for labor and materials for a basic deck can start at around $15 to $35 per square foot for pressure-treated wood and can increase to $30 to $60 per square foot for composite materials. More intricate designs, higher-quality materials, and additional features like built-in seating or lighting will increase the cost.

Labor costs are typically about half of the total project cost. It's important to get detailed quotes from several contractors to understand the breakdown of labor and materials. This will also help in comparing different offers and making an informed decision based on the budget.

Building a deck is a significant undertaking that can enhance the outdoor living space and increase the value of a home. Understanding the various deck styles and materials available, the construction timeline, where to find design inspiration, the reputable building companies, and the average costs involved are critical steps in the planning process. By carefully considering these elements, homeowners can create a functional, beautiful deck that meets their needs and complements their home for years to come. As with any significant home improvement project, thorough research, planning, and a clear vision will lead to the best results and the most enjoyable outdoor space.