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Buyers Guide for Your Upcoming Deck Replacement or Remodel

May 19, 2020
With the weather warming up and summer just around the corner, now is a great time to start planning your deck replacement or remodel. From choosing the type of material, colors, and finishing touches, there are a variety of factors that go into planning your new deck.

At Quaker State Construction, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you design your perfect deck!

Do You Need a Replacement or a Remodel?

Remodeling your current deck, in most cases, is a very practical and cost-effective option. Even if the part of your deck exposed to the sun appears very damaged, the structural frame, which is shaded, will typically be in acceptable condition.
During your remodel, replacing the flooring and railings, as well as tightening up the framing of the deck, will transform your existing deck with an entirely new look. This is a great option if you are happy with the size of your deck and the purpose it serves, but you want to refresh it.
Before remodeling, it will need to be determined if the existing deck was built to code with exceptional workmanship and whether or not it has any extensive structural damage. At Quaker State Construction, we can evaluate your deck to see if it is a candidate for remodeling.
Our expert team will check for extensive structural damage and can make the best recommendations for your budget and preferences based on what we find.

What Do You Plan to Use Your Deck for?

Buyers Guide for Your Upcoming Deck Replacement or Remodel

Think about your favorite outdoor activities you will want to use your deck for. This will help you determine the size, shape, and features of your deck.
Host Cocktail Parties and BBQs
If you plan to host birthday parties, family gatherings, and summer barbeques, you will want to make sure you leave room for a serving area, prep station, and a grill. You may even opt for a bar. Built-in perimeter seating is recommended as well as wide, flat handrails that provide guests with a place to set their drinks.
Enjoy Family Meals Together
The biggest thing you want to make sure of is that your table will fit comfortably on the deck. We recommend that you have at least 4 feet all the way around the table so people and maneuver behind those who are seated.
Get Some Rest and Relaxation
If you prefer to use your deck for some R&R, then make sure to create a space with comfy lounge chairs, and a few low tables in either a sunny or shady spot. You might also consider adding a fire pit, if your local codes allow, to add some coziness to chilly nights on your deck.

Choosing Your Material

If you are looking for a low maintenance material for your deck, your best choice will be manufactured, boards. If you are concerned with appearances overall, then you would want to go for wood boards. Below are a few common deck material options and their pros and cons:
  • Pressure-Treated Wood – Pros: This type of wood takes stains and waterproofing easily and is very easy to work with. Cons: The downside is that it will corrode any unprotected metal fasteners and connectors. Pressure-treated boards can also warp and crack and need frequent resealing, cleaning, and staining.
  • PVC – Pros: PVC provides superior moisture resistance and does not swell or shrink. It is also not prone to termites or rot and is easy to clean. Cons: Some types of PVC look less wood-like, and the boards may squeak when stepped on.
  • Composite – Pros: This comes in a wide range of colors and textures to suit your style and will last a long time when cared for properly. Composite doesn’t splinter, rot, or crack. Cons: In some cases, composite products will look less wood-like compared to others, and it also scuffs, scratches, and stains easily.
All of these are great options depending on what you plan to use your deck for and how much time or what budget you have for maintaining your deck.

Pick Your Design

Your deck can be built to suit any type of outdoor space. Whether you have a sloped yard or sunny spot, there are a variety of solutions to make these areas work great for your deck!
Add a Pergola for a Sunny Spot
If you want to enjoy some sunlight on your deck without it being overwhelming, you may want to consider adding a pergola to your deck, which can be adjusted according to the seasons.
Deck Design for Privacy in a Dense Neighborhood 
If you are located close to other homes in the neighborhood but want a bit of privacy on your deck, a vertical privacy screen can be installed. This screen creates both a visual and acoustic barrier between the deck the house next door.
Solution for a Sloped Yard
If your yard is sloped, you may consider a multilevel deck to help you make the most of the space, without the need for extra-tall posts. Each level of the deck could be designated for a different activity from lounging to grilling.
Deck Design for Yards with Trees
If you trees are healthy, our team can work around them when building your deck, leaving at least 3 inches around the trunk to accommodate the tree’s growth and to ensure the tree’s base gets enough water and air.

Choosing the Finishing Touches to Your Deck

With the right details on your deck, you can express your style and add some individuality to your space. Look at the style of your house and deck furniture for inspiration on what fixtures and woodwork trim you want to add to the deck.
  • Riser Lights – Codes require stairway lighting, so with riser lights, you can meet this mandate while also setting the mood.
  • Post-Base Trim – This is a beautiful way to hide any imperfect cuts and to give each post a more polished look.
  • Post Cap – This is a decorative piece that prevents water from seeping into the grain of the wood.
  • Lattice Skirt – This adds a functional and visually appealing element to the deck, providing it with a finished look while also enclosing the underside of the deck.

Caring for and Maintaining Your Deck

Care and maintenance for your deck, such as resealing and staining, will depend on the material and finish that you choose. You should have a plan to scrub your deck with a power wash your deck once a year on a low-pressure setting along with a brush and a deck-safe cleaner.
Be sure to use a fan tip on the power washer wand and keep the wand moving to help prevent surface damage. Check for mildew and remove it with a specialty product if needed. When it comes to daily upkeep, you will want to make sure you mop up a spill right away to prevent staining and sweep away any leave or debris.

Factors to Consider Before Hiring a Contractor

Unless you plan to work with a designer as well, there are a variety of things that you will need to determine prior to hiring a contractor. You will want to make sure you have a reasonable idea of what you want to be included in your deck project, but above all, you will want to set a budget. Other elements to consider when planning your deck build:
  • Size – You will want to have some rough dimensions of the deck you want to give the contractor a clear idea of what the scope of the project is from the start.
  • Levels – Determine whether you want single or multiple levels, two deck areas connected by a passageway or stairs, or if the deck will be leading down to your garden or pool.
  • Materials – You have a variety of choices here when it comes to compositions and appearance. Pressure-treated wood is still a very popular choice among homeowners, but wood-composite is also gaining in popularity. Your choice depends on the appearance you are going for.
  • Features – Choose your features. Determine if you want a fire pit or a water feature, metal wood or composite railings, built-in seating, etc. Be sure to have a list of your must-have prepared so you can work with your contractor on it.

Benefits of Choosing a Contractor to Build Your Deck

Your deck will create an outdoor space that you and your family can enjoy while also adding value to your home. Building a deck is not a weekend project and requires a variety of tools, materials, and knowledge to accomplish. By hiring a professional contractor to remodel or build your deck, you can:
Save Time & Effort
Your contractor will be prepared with enough materials and the right materials to complete the job. Saving you from making multiple trips to the store, waiting for things to comes back in stock, etc. With a professional, like Quaker State Construction, your project will stay on a timeline and will be built to safety and building codes. A professional contractor knows how to avoid the small mistakes and can create a sturdy deck for your home within a matter of weeks.
Safety Risks of DIY
Installing a deck on your own can lead to multiple safety issues if you don’t have the proper tools, materials, or experience. Decks can collapse due to several foundation issues such as loose connections or board fasteners, inadequate diagonal bracing, inaccurately installed posts, and more, which can lead to costly damage and put people at risk for injury. So while DIY may cost less upfront, it can lead to expensive damage and injury in the long run.
Warranty
Your contractor will also likely offer a warranty with their deck that will cover the structure, workmanship, and materials. If you DIY your deck, it won’t have the same protection as a deck built and covered by a professional contractor.

Professional Deck Builders Pittsburgh

At Quaker State Construction, we are dedicated to providing our clients with expertly designed decks made with guaranteed top-quality materials. If you are looking for a dependable and quality contractor for your next deck project, then look no further. Quaker State Construction is your best choice in the Pittsburgh area for your next deck remodel or replacement. Contact us today to learn more!