Decorating & Design - Outdoor Living

How to: Build the perfect deck

Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV's Income Property, helps you build the perfect deck for your home.

People used to hang out on their front porches and watch the world go by. Today, everyone seems to have moved on to their back decks, which can be integrated with a home’s interior style but still complement the exterior, too. Here is some of the information you need to know before you build the perfect deck for your backyard.

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Deck design
I’ve seen everything – from multi-level decks with built-in bars and fancy water features to more simplified spaces that still look amazing but haven’t cost a fortune to build. A deck maximizes your living space and can add value to your home – and if it’s planned and built properly, it can last for decades. Determine what type of structure will best suit your needs. If you have a smaller property, a simple graduated deck with a step down to grass level can lend your yard architectural interest. If your space is larger and you crave some shade, a custom feature like a vine-covered pergola can transform your deck into something out of the pages of a magazine.

Building code basics
Building codes are critical when you’re building a deck. Before you start your project, check with your municipality to see if you need a permit. A deck’s foundation needs to be built on concrete footings that are at the proper depth and correctly spaced and levelled. You also need to install railings if your deck sits 24 inches or more above the ground. A good decking contractor should know and follow all of the mandatory building codes.

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