There is nothing quite as lovely as sitting out on a deck watching the sun rise or set on the water as you reflect on all the amazing benefits of living in an oceanfront home. Although the beach is just a few steps away, it isn’t the same as sitting in the privacy of your very own deck watching the boats while listening to the sounds of the waves as they lap against the shore. This surely must be the next best thing to heaven, right? However, if you don’t yet have your dream deck, there are certain considerations to be mindful of before work can commence. Here is some of what you should know.
Building Codes and Zoning Restrictions
Before drawing up plans for your deck, the one thing you will always want to do is check with your local building codes and zoning regulations. Some areas of the country have greater restrictions than others, so this is something you will need to know long before you take the time and money to have those plans drawn up. If you are working with a contractor, chances are good that they will get the necessary permits for you to minimize your efforts, but if it’s a DIY construction, you will need to contact your local code enforcement and zoning officials to get the necessary documents in order before you go any further. Your idea of a lovely deck may conflict with what is allowed in your county, so always make this your first step and the rest should follow nicely from there.
The Ultimate Purpose of Your Deck
Next on the list is to have a clear-cut idea of exactly how you are going to enjoy your new deck. Will you be cooking out on the deck or is it simply going to be someplace where you can place a few deck chairs and perhaps a table with an umbrella? Are you going to have any plants or trees on your deck, or perhaps you might even want to have a spa placed where you can relax in fresh water rather than bathing in saltwater that does nothing for your skin? Once you have clearly defined how you will use your deck, it’s time to begin drawing up plans!
Where Is Your Deck to Be Located?
The first step in drawing up plans is to determine exactly where your deck will be located. Sometimes decks work well at ground level if there is nothing to obstruct your view of the ocean, but many times decks are better built at a level of the second floor where you will be sitting above the sight of onlooking beachgoers. If privacy is a concern, it might pay to go the extra step to have that deck built higher; the benefits here are apparent. Not only will you be further out of sight of passersby, but you will almost definitely have a better view of that ocean you have come to love so much.
Can It Withstand the Forces of Nature?
When it comes to planning exactly what materials you will be using, the most important factor will be Mother Nature. Some areas of the country are prone to torrential seasonal rains while other areas have cold and snowy winters. You will need to think about such things as whether or not you will need specially manufactured decking that will be able to weather salt, wind, and rain well, or if you’ll need to contend with tropical force winds that could cause major damage to inadequate structural materials. Many people living close to bodies of salt water have found that composite decking offers the structural integrity they need to withstand the elements while giving a natural appeal you would expect on an oceanfront deck.
Size and Cost Are Vital Considerations
While you may want a sizeable deck, some factors may interfere with your ability to build the size you’d really like. Those zoning restrictions mentioned above may be one factor to consider based on where your property line begins, also city or county codes with regard to obstructing the vision of other nearby buildings. A smaller deck for simply sitting on to enjoy nature in all its glory may be what you are looking for, which will cost less than a deck with tables, chairs, and spas, for example. It pays to get quotes from several builders before opting for the one you’d like to work with. Although money isn’t everything, it does help to find a reasonable price and a commitment to be done in a well-defined amount of time.
Upkeep Is Also an Important Factor
Finally, one factor which many homeowners fail to realize is the fact that decks take upkeep as well. Not only do you need to choose the appropriate building materials, but you also need to calculate whether or not the decking will need to be stained and sealed regularly to maintain its structural integrity, for example. Areas like South Florida that see more than their fair share of seasonal rain would add even more stress on natural wood and when factoring this into your plans, is it something you are likely to want to do every few years?
Take Your Time in the Preliminary Steps
There is no reason not to have the deck of your dreams if you take it step by step. Take the time to investigate code and zoning regulations while also getting quotes from a variety of reputable builders. Some will let you purchase your own materials you know to be salt and weather resistant if that’s what you would like; others would prefer to deal with suppliers they know to be reputable. Also, you will want to see what others in your area are saying about the suppliers and builders you intend to work with.
Customer testimonials are always a key indicator as to whether or not you can trust the company you choose to work with. It is your dream, your deck, after all, and you want to know that it will be built to your satisfaction. That’s never too much to ask.