Most adults had the opportunity to play with building blocks or toy logs to construct a house or towering structure as children. Some of these individuals have never lost the interest in building things with their own two hands. To listen to all of the home improvement commercials or lumber desks inside these home improvement stores, one would just assume that any person has the ability to build a fence or deck. This could not be further from the truth.
Building a deck and gazebo is not just a matter of placing some concrete footers on the ground and resting several deck boards across a wood frame. Even an installation as seemingly simple as a pergola is not necessarily a project for a do-it-yourself home owner. There are several factors which need to be considered in order to prevent creating problems by installing a deck or other structure.
Drainage and the slope of the land is a primary concern. Without considering the slope of the property and drainage, building an uncovered deck or covered deck can cause much of the water from rain to be channeled and collected at the footings and vertical supports or along the main wall of the home.. This can cause inherent weaknesses in the structures or accelerate mold, fungus, and rot.
The next aspect of building a deck, gazebo, or pergola is to be aware of the type of lumber to use, whether it is a synthetic wood or pressure treated wood. Untreated wood should never be used in the construction of any exterior installation. The humidity alone can cause the untreated wood to fail within an extremely short time. Because of the wide selections of materials available today and each having their own distinct properties, a professional contractor specializing in deck installations or some landscapers should be consulted.
The type of hardware to be used should be of main focus in addition to the above mentioned considerations. Galvanized nails or screws have been a long time traditional method of securing board to frame. While nails are a proven piece of hardware, they will not hold as well as screws. Over one season, nails can begin to pop up from the surface of the boards. Screws will hold much better and will stay much more secure. There are alternatives to screws and nails. Newer methods and hardware are available which will secure the surface boards of the deck to the frame without being visible from the top. Some particular types of lumber materials actually work better with these newer fasteners. Again, a professional deck builder should be consulted.
Clearly the “nuts and bolts” of a deck offer up a lot of options to a home owner. The basics will determine the longevity of the deck and ease of maintaining the home owner’s investment. If experienced and wise choices are not exercised, the home owner can easily find that their “do-it-yourself” project will cost much more in the future.