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A deck addition can add value to your home

A cedar deck with a white wash stain on it accents a home built by Becker's Building and Design. Many decks are one-of-a-kind.1 / 2
This cedar deck has Dekorator Bronze Balusters for the spindles. Deck options are nearly endless, from the type of material to staining.2 / 2

BY Ellen Albee


Adding a deck to the exterior of a home is one of the smartest projects a person can do to add value to a home.

Not only does a deck increase living space, it also adds beauty to a home, provides extra space for entertaining guests or playing with children and pets and is a great place to escape to or relax.

Spring is a great time to build a deck because a person can watch the robins return from the south, barbecue during the summer months, and enjoy the breath-taking colors of trees in the fall.

The first step in building a deck is to decide where you want it, what you want it to look like and how it will attach to your home. Decks can be merely a platform on which to sit or barbecue, or they can be an elaborate multi-level design. Depending on the landscaping of your home, your deck may require a special one-of-a-kind design.

"Watching the home and garden shows on television can give a person great ideas for decks," Dean Hanisch said, a salesman for Park Rapids Building Supply and Rental. "I'd also suggest they search the Internet for ideas, too."

"Also think about what you want to use the deck for," Hanisch suggested. "Do you want to use it for grilling, add cabinets for storage or include benches and an eating area?"

"So many decks are unique to each house," Hanisch added. "Contractors' designs are unique as well. The design of the deck is up to each customer's imagination."

Once you have an idea of what you want the deck to look like, the next step is to select a contractor who will lead you through the process from start to finish. The contractor can design the deck, purchase the lumber and other materials, and build it.

"We have a list of contractors who customers can contact to get bids," Hanisch said. "We know they are going to do a good job."

The next step in building a deck is to decide what kind of wood to use.

"The most popular building materials are cedar and pressure-treated pine," said Mark Delaney, owner of Northlund Lumber in Park Rapids.

"These materials are popular because they are more affordable than other deck materials, such as composite decking, cellular PVC and exotic woods, such as ironwood, tigerwood or other hardwoods," Delaney explained.

A building permit is needed to build a deck if you live within the city of Park Rapids or reside on lake property. Your contractor may apply for the permit for you or direct you to city hall to purchase it yourself.

Once the deck is built, it is important to maintain it. Wood decks exposed to a lot of sun and moisture experience a lot of stress. At the beginning of each season, check the deck for rotting wood, warped boards and mildew.

"Some deck materials, such as cellular PVC and composite, just need to be washed once or twice each year," Delaney said. "For wood decks, they need to be finished every year so they will look nice."

You will also want to wash your deck at least once each year. Decks are exposed to many things: dirt, bird droppings, spilled food and tree sap, to name a few. Use environmentally friendly oxygen bleach, a stiff brush and a power washer.