Five Basic Types of Outdoor Decks - Choosing the Best One for You

When you're ready to begin building a new deck, the first thing to ask yourself is what you want that deck to accomplish. Decks can bring your family years of enjoyment, and add value and beauty to your home, but it's rarely a good idea to simply build a deck without a plan in mind, simply for the sake of having a deck on your property. Sure, there are other issues to address - like, what kind of decking material you'll use (whether wood or composite decking), what kinds of plans you'll use, and how you'll fit your new deck (or decks - who knows, right?) in with local zoning regulations. But for right now, it's OK to fantasize about exactly what kind of deck will beautify your home.

So, without further ado, here are The Five Major Types of Outdoor Decks:

    Porch Decks. Yeah, that's right - porches are decks. If you'd like to step out of your front door onto a deck that winds its way around to the back door, you might be looking for a porch. These types of decks are best for rural homes, or houses with a lot of land around them. Porch decks give any home a classic Little House on the Prairie feel - only without the horses and lack of indoor heating.


    Barbecue Decks. Looking for a place where you can grill steaks without feeling trapped in the kitchen? Barbecue decks have become more popular with the recent grilling renaissance that's swept through American suburbs like a warm front in June. Real wood decking, or some of the woodier-looking composite decking materials, are best for barbecue decks, where you'll undoubtedly want to keep the rustic, outdoorsy tone that comes with these types of decking.


    Pool Decks. Well, maybe you don't have a pool yet. But if you get a pool, well, you've pretty much got to build a deck around it, right? (Use this reasoning if your family resists your argument that decks add value and beauty to homes.) Pool decks should be easy on bare feet, so decking with a smooth, satiny surface is your best bet for these kinds of decks. Some decking manufacturers make composite materials specifically designed to be easy on bare feet.


    Second-Story Decks. Where is it written that decks can only extend from the ground floor? Nowhere, that's where! Second-story decks are great for parties, and if built right, can double as carports. These are especially attractive in rural mountain homes, where they'll blend well with a hilly landscape.


    Free-Standing Decks. As decks go, these are probably the easiest to build, since you don't have to remove siding, attach the decking to your home, or otherwise risk damage to the house itself during construction. Of course, these decks will need structural support on all sides, so it's best to plan carefully.

So there they are: The Five Major Types of Outdoor Decks. But listen close and we'll tell you a secret: There are more than five. The number is limited only by your imagination, carpentry skills, and budget. Try combining ideas from the above list: Maybe you can extend a second-story deck to surround your above-ground pool. Decks can be a wonderful outlet for your creativity, so don't stop at these five. See what you can come up with on your own.

Good luck, and happy decking.

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