Deck Dos and Don’ts

March 14, 2017

deckDecks expand your living space and can add value to your already amazing home in the award-winning lakeside community of Southshore. But before you dive into building a deck (or hiring a contractor), there are preliminary considerations and some definite dos and don’ts.

If your aim is additional eating space, you need a deck large enough to accommodate your outdoor table and chairs with a four-foot clearance all around. If you’re more interested in kicking back and relax, plan the size of your space around your lounge chairs and possible fire pit.

Lowe’s has a great video tutorial about initial planning dos and don’ts and DIY Deck Plans offers step-by-step instruction about measuring and staking out your space.

This Old House suggests that whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, you still need to pick the right material for your budget and lifestyle so the deck you build will stand the test of time.

Choosing Deck Materials

With a variety of wood and composite decking materials to choose from, the important considerations are cost, durability, maintenance and availability.

deckTraditional wood deck options include cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine which costs about $3.35 per square foot uninstalled. If maintained properly you can expect a deck from these materials to last up to 30 years.

The more naturally durable options, like ipe and cumaru are beautiful, dense and long-lasting, but can be expensive at about $6.60 per square foot, uninstalled. And while these three options do repel bugs and resist decay some varieties are prone to marring and shrinkage and won’t last quite as long. For more tropical decking species, visit the International Wood Products Association.

Bob Vila says the most important considerations in cleaning and caring for a wooden deck are regular maintenance – a requirement to make them habitable and safe. Wooden decks need annual exfoliation so protective sealers can seep deeper into the wood.

Vila offers best practices like cleaning solutions that you should and shouldn’t use and precautions to take to ensure surrounding plants will survive.

Wood Alternatives

Composite decking is made from recycled materials like wood waste and plastic sacks and requires minimal maintenance. It doesn’t need to be sanded and sealed and is generally weather-resistant. However, some composite deck materials can be slippery and cost from $11 to $45 per square foot, uninstalled.

There are wood alternatives that not only last a lifetime, but also include slip-resistant options and cost only about $7.50 per square foot, uninstalled.

The Family Handyman lists seven factors to consider when evaluating different products and helps you narrow down the options and pick the one that will best meet your needs.


Don’t forget accents and trimmings like railings, balusters, lighting and storage. The DIY Network has design suggestions, construction and maintenance tutorials and galleries of creative deck spaces to give you motivation and ideas.

Decked Out In Southshore

Customize your indoor-outdoor space in a new home at Southshore! You’ll find the perfect fit among the stunning Village Homes models, the spanking-new Delaney model from Richmond American Homes and in Century Communities The Hills at Southshore. Lakeside living in the master-planned community features both ranch and two-story models, priced from the $400s to the $700s.