Summer is the barbeque and outdoor dinner season! An attached or wraparound deck is perfect for watching the sunset while enjoying wine with your favorite people. Having your own outdoor-livingroom is a luxury you can’t put a price on. But between the cost of materials, contractors, and permits, a deck remodel can certainly start adding up! If you’re ready to maximize your outdoor space, here are a few things to consider before starting.
- Work with your family to determine your deck’s purpose and aesthetic. Factors to consider:
- Budget – Many factors can affect the cost of your deck remodel, from the level of finish, materials, size, and labor, to regional factors specific to Colorado’s environment and climate. When weighing the costs, consider the personal value you’ll get from having the extra outdoor space.
- Location – The deck’s location is important when considering sun exposure, privacy, and the shape of the house. Unless your deck is ground-level, it will need support framing in the way of concrete footers, support posts, beams, joists, and ledger boards.
- Layout/Type – Determine whether you want an attached deck, a detached island, a wrap-around, or a multi-level deck.
- Size – Determine the right size for your deck remodel based on the function it will serve. A good average size is 12 feet by 12 feet. Will it be limited to specialty use, such as a barbeque area or extra dining space outside of the kitchen? A good rule of thumb is that your deck should be no larger than the largest room in the house and not exceed 20% of the house’s square footage. Decking materials are priced per square foot, so your footprint will affect the price.
- Materials – Research your options carefully; depending on the material, deck boards can vary significantly in cost. Consider the weather and environmental factors when choosing between lumber and manufactured materials for your deck remodel.
- Privacy – There are many creative ways to add backyard privacy, from screens to fences and curtains to living barriers like bamboo or trees.
- Shade and sun exposure – Protect your deck from sun damage by designing it around existing shade structures or installing your own. They don’t just protect you – they make your property look great too. Something as simple as a trellis to your deck can add a tremendous amount of shade. And don’t forget about natural shade-makers, like trees!
- Built-ins – To enhance your deck remodel, you might consider built-in furniture, storage, outdoor kitchen, planters, hot tub, etc. Depending on your additions, you may need extra structural support.
- Accommodations for pets – Consider your pet’s accessibility and the maintenance that may be required to protect your deck further.
- Maintenance – Regular maintenance is the best way to preserve your deck redmoel for long-term enjoyment. Plan regular inspections and give your deck a good cleaning at least once a year.
- Find a good contractor. Christie’s can help! Here are factors to keep in mind:
- Relevant Experience – It is important that your contractor has experience with deck remodels. Be sure to research a company’s work before hiring them
- License(s) – Make sure they have the proper licenses for their line of work.
- Insurance – Contractors should have Worker’s Compensation and General Liability insurance certificates from their insurance broker readily available.
- Timeline – Remember to tack on a few extra weeks (at least) for your deck remodel to temper your expectations given the supply chain issues the world is having now.
- Knowledge of Local Codes – Professionals know local codes and regulations and can take care of the logistics for you.
- Payment Schedule – Discuss payment terms before construction begins. A reputable contractor won’t ask you to pay the total price upfront, and the Better Business Bureau advises not to.
- If you live in Boulder County, review The BuildSmart Checklist. If your deck remodel costs exceed $50,000, three retrofit measures must be met.
- Get recommendations:
- Talk to neighbors with decks to see what their experience was like.
- If you’re not lucky enough to know someone who has recently been in your position, review sites such as Homestars and Houzz can help.
- Compare contractor quotes.
- Disregard local building codes – Working with a qualified professional is the best way to ensure you meet all the legal requirements.
- Underestimate the length of time required – with supply chain issues and unexpected delays, we recommend adding extra time to your estimates.
- Choose the wrong materials – Some materials are more expensive than others, but skimping on quality can cost more in the long wrong. A well-built deck is worth the investment, so when it comes to selecting materials and hiring a contractor, don’t cut corners.
- Wait too long to make substitutions – Try to make modifications in the design phase of your deck remodel, as early as possible, not when construction has started.
- Ignore aesthetic details – There are many features to choose from when designing your deck. Before you break ground, do some research to find an aesthetic that makes your deck feel approachable and useful.
- Go at it alone! – It can be tempting to tackle this project like any other DIY project. However, a deck remodel is a considerable undertaking; without professionals, it’s common for homeowners to miss necessary permits or overspend on materials. Make the process as safe and easy as possible by hiring a professional.
We recently shared a case study for the Maurer family’s total-home remodel. With a successful three-part renovation under our belt, it’s no surprise that the Maurers returned to Christie’s for their next project – a deck remodel! The home currently only has a small patio. They are excited to build a larger, more functional space where they can sit outside, grill, watch the kids play, and enjoy beautiful Colorado summer. Follow us on social media @christiescompleteservices to stay tuned for updates to the Maurer’s outdoor space and more case studies with our happy homeowners! For more inspiration for your exterior renovations, check out our blog about Outdoor Living.
Christie’s Design Build Remodeling is here to help you create the home of your dreams (inside and out!) If you’ve determined the size, design, and materials for your deck remodel and want to get started, contact us to connect with a trusted remodeling contractor today!