The value of a backyard deck
A popular springtime project for homeowners is building a new deck. If a backyard deck is on your “to do” list, be prepared to choose from a seemingly endless list of designs, materials and methods for construction.
To help you with your deck project, the Ontario Real Estate Association and your local Realtor offer the following tips.
One of your first choices will be to determine if you are going to build it yourself or hire a contractor to do the work. This will depend on how elaborate your plans are and how comfortable you are with the work. Whether you tackle it yourself or bring in the professionals, take time to plan out your project and be sure to check local building regulations to see if you will need a permit.
Ask yourself what you want to get out of this new deck and then try to coordinate your wish list with your budget. For example, your new deck could be as simple as building a platform for your lawn chairs or as complicated as a multi-level, multi-functional outdoor entertainment area.
Next, think about where your deck will be situated. Do you need to have some built-in protection from wind or excessive sunshine? For example, south-facing decks tend to get the most sun. If you don’t have a lot of shade trees, this may limit your outdoor activity during very hot days. You can counter this by having a retractable canopy or some overhead lattice installed to block or filter sunlight.
A visit to your local building supply store will give you plenty of design ideas as well as a number of options for building materials. The most common material for deck building is pressure-treated lumber because of its durability and resistance to rot. Pressuretreated is also the more economical choice. Cedar is attractive and desirable, but costs quite a bit more. There are also new composite materials that, although very pricey, are guaranteed to last a lifetime. Your material selection will depend on your needs and your budget.
Hiring a contractor
If you plan to hire a contractor, start by looking for those that specialize in deck building. A good source of referrals may be a family member, friend, or neighbour who has had similar work done. Other sources are your local home builders and renovators associations; local building supply stores; your local building department and contractors’ web sites.
Also, be sure to get a detailed written contract between you and the contractor you hire no matter how big or small the project. A contract spells out the responsibilities and rights of both parties and ensures there is a clear record of the agreement between you and the contractor.
Adding value to your home
The benefit of adding a beautiful deck to your backyard is twofold: you and your family get to enjoy it, and it also increases the value of your home. By creating an oasis in your own backyard, your house will be more appealing to prospective buyers when the time comes to sell. For more home buying and selling tips, visit www.howrealtorshelp.ca.
This article is provided by the Orangeville & District Real Estate Board for the benefit of consumers in the real estate market.