A deck is a beautiful addition to your home, as it offers a place for family and guests to congregate and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. However, building a deck isn’t always the simplest task, as there are quite a few things that can go wrong if care and consideration aren’t taken. Aside from meeting from the government’s stringent building regulations – which may be enforced depending on the size and scope of your deck or the age of your home – there are also many pitfalls that can end up making your deck dangerous. Take a look at some of the common deck building mistakes first time deck builders make in our handy guide below.
Deck building mistakes to avoid
Decking building mistakes #1: Choosing the wrong type of wood
Your deck will be often be exposed to the elements and may have to endure long bouts of harsh sunshine, rain and even hail. If you choose the wrong type of timber for your deck, you run the risk of the wood fading, bending, or breaking prematurely.
When it comes to choosing decking timber, the following types of wood are the most popular:
Blackbutt: Known for its fire-resistant qualities, Blackbutt timber is an Australian native wood that boasts a beautiful light brown colour.
Spotted gum: Spotted gum is a durable, fire resistant timber available in a variety of colours ranging from pale greys to dark browns.
Merbau: Merbau is a popular timber choice for both decks and house frames, as it’s incredibly durable and resistant to insects. Ranging from light red to dark golden, Merbau wood retains its colour well and will last 25 years or more if cared for properly.
Decking mistakes #2: Not sealing the wood
After you’ve built your deck, it’s important to seal the wood with a timber sealant. Timber that hasn’t been sealed properly can start to deteriorate rapidly, as any water that soaks into the wood can cause it to splinter and break. Most sealants will also contain UV protectant to help stop the wood from fading from the sun. It’s recommended you re-seal once a year, or as recommended on the product you have chosen.
Decking mistakes #3: Not installing rails or having them at the wrong height
If your deck is above a certain height, railings will be required to prevent falls. Aside from foregoing railings completely, one of common deck building mistakes homeowners make is not installing railings at the correct height. Having railings too high isn’t much of a safety concern, as the only problem it may pose is an obstruction of view. However, if installed too low, a railing may lead to accidents, especially if children are around. Check your local council building requirements for up to date information.
Decking mistakes #4: Not building to code
It’s very important to build your home so that it meets the Building Code of Australia’s (BCA) regulatory requirements. Failure to do so could result in injury or in your deck being torn down if an inspector were to be notified of it. If your home is heritage listed, you may have to apply for planning approval. Your home may also require building approval under certain circumstances, which you can work out by looking at planning and development (PD) online or by calling your local planner.
If you’re thinking about building a deck and are looking for the right timber supplies, why not pop into Versace Timbers for a chat with one of our timber experts. You can find us at 33 Vauxhall St, Virginia, or call us 07 3266 9000 if you have any questions about decking timber or deck maintenance.