23 September 2016 6 steps to creating the perfect deck A deck is a great addition to any home, providing space to relax and entertain, linking indoors and out. Here are 6 easy steps to planning and building a deck at your home: 1. Approval Getting the green light from both council and your neighbours is good practice when taking on an alteration or addition like a deck. Some minor projects like decks may be exempt from council approval however it is always a good idea to check with council whether council approval is required before you commence. Make sure you have on hand information such as approximate size, height, distance from boundaries, plus other details like whether you are using bearers and joists, whether it’s in a bush fire prone area and whether the deck will have a roof. With your neighbours, it can be as simple as dropping a letter in their mailbox or having a quick chat over the fence. You want to be sure that the deck isn’t going to impact on their privacy or view. 2. Design Decks are built to all different shapes and sizes, so in the first instance it’s important to consider the purpose of the deck. Are you building a deck to use as an outside dining area or maybe it’s a deck around a pool? Perhaps it’s for both, so you might have two sections at different heights. Depending on the size of your deck and the position of the block, you may need to engage an engineer to devise a structural plan that meets your design brief. 3. Materials Commonly decks are built on bearers and joists, supported by either timber or steel posts concreted into the ground. Once you know how big your deck will be, you can work out what materials you will need. There are some great decking timbers out there from imported hardwood to composite materials. Australian hardwoods are a popular choice for many when building decks, and personally a favourite of mine. Some decking materials have their own fixing system but for a more secure and professional finish, screwing the decking down is a good option. This will also minimise the chance of your deck cupping or pulling up. 4. Handrails Materials used for handrails vary from minimalist glass or stainless steel wire to aluminium or cast iron decorative panels. If you want to capitalise on views you might want to go with glass or stainless steel wire. But if you are after privacy, consider something solid like hardwood timber screening. 5. Features There are many ways to enhance your deck, for example, building in bench seating with storage or adding a roof covering to make it an entertaining space all year round. Another way to dress up your deck is to add in some LED uplights or garden lights to enhance the surroundings. Built-in planter boxes also look great; just make sure they include drainage. 6. Finishes Choose a finish that enhances the timber. You could use a clear translucent finish that preserves the natural colour of the wood or a stain which provides colour without hiding the grain of the timber.