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How Big Should I Go When Building a Deck?

6/26/2015

Category: Decks

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As Maryland deck contractors, we get a variety of requests from our customers. Some want it bigger, some want it wider, some want it wrapped around the house! Deciding on the perfect deck design for your needs can be difficult when there are so many options. But bigger isn’t always better, and, in fact, building bigger can inconvenience you in the long run. Here are a few tips for choosing the perfect dimensions for your new deck.

Check the Zoning Regulations

First things first: don’t get your hopes up high until you find out what’s legally allowed under your local zoning regulations. We’ve covered zoning extensively in our previous post, but to give you a quick recap: the city/county may ask you to remove your deck if it doesn’t comply with the local regulations. Some of the main regulations you need to worry about are the total square footage of your deck and the proximity to property lines.

In addition to zoning, your HOA may also have something to say about how big you can build your deck. And not only how big, but on which side, what color and even what type of materials should be used. So before you even start planning your deck, check with your local zoning department and with your HOA to determine what sort of limitations you’ll have to work around.

Think About Maintenance

No doubt, that huge multi-level deck you have in mind makes a fantastic impression. But is it practical in terms of maintenance? If you are building a wooden deck, then you will have to refinish and reseal the wood regularly to preserve its appearance. Not only is it time-consuming if you do it yourself, but it can be pricey if you hire someone else. Composite decking is less demanding than wood, but it’s still not entirely free of maintenance. In fall you will need to brush away accumulated foliage, and in winter snow and ice will need to be cleared. If you don’t mind the work, then go big!

Consider the Function

A large deck is great if you are planning on hosting large parties or have a large family. This way people would have enough room to walk around and mingle without bumping into each other. On the other hand, what is the purpose of all this deck space if you will never fully use it? If all you do on the deck is enjoy a drink or a meal after work with your significant other, then a huge deck would be a waste of resources. Instead of adding an extra foot of width, you could buy a nice grill or comfy patio furniture.

Multi-level decks are a big hit these days, but they have to be planned right in order to be functional. How do you envision people using that bottom tier? Is it really necessary or are you adding it just to break up the staircase? One of the biggest mistakes Maryland homeowners make in deck building is building first and then defining the space. But like in most construction projects, the function defines the form, so be sure to work with an experienced deck design specialist to assign purpose to every inch of your new deck.

Need help figuring out the perfect dimensions for your deck? Contact our Westminster, MD deck contractors and let’s discuss your deck wish list!

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