Home Inspirations December 2016 Decks

All you need to know about decking…

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In architecture, a deck is a flat surface capable of supporting weight, similar to a floor, but typically constructed outdoors, often elevated from the ground, and usually connected to a building. The term is a generalization of decks as found on ships.

In house designs a deck is generally a wooden platform built above the ground and connected to the main building or even off away from the main part of the house to serve as an outdoor entertainment area sometimes nearby an outdoor bar or pool side. When it is high above ground it is generally enclosed by a railing for safety.
Decks connected to houses may often be accessed through doors and from the ground via a stairway. One of the benefits of residential decks is that they can be constructed over steep areas or rough ground that would be otherwise unsuitable for building on or even gardening. Decks might be covered by an awning, canopy or pergola to control sunlight or might be constructed below the deck on a floor above in the case of split level complexes, the above floor deck can serve as a roof to the deck below. There are numerous types of deck designs to be found in books, do-it-yourself magazines and web sites providing options which have become increasingly popular outdoor living options in a world where many are too busy to spent a lot of time dealing with gardens, or where space is at a premium in high density residential areas.

Typical construction methods used for decking is is through either cantilever construction or using a post and beam type of architecture. The latter relies on posts anchored to support piers in the ground while the former are built on floor joists protruding out further than the outside walls of a house. What decks are made of has a huge impact on their cost of construction and on their durability.

In the past many decks were made of hardwood but due to environmental concerns and the scarcity of natural resources many are now being made of a mixture of wood pulp and recycled material creating a composite which has the benefits and aesthetics of natural wood with the durability and the benefit of making use of otherwise waste items such as plastic bottles or bags which those who support it’s use claim is resistant to mould. Opponents of the composite type of materials cite the inability of such material to be refurbished and some reports that materials made from recycled matter might contain harmful chemicals as reasons why people should stick with timber or make a complete move towards other construction materials such as metal and concrete.

Combining wood decking with concrete elements can allow homemakers the best of both worlds, allowing them to make the best of outdoor areas especially away from the main building of the house. To create a space where guests can be entertained, consider a wooden deck alongside an outdoor braai area or low wall around a breezeway deck where guests can rest drinks or even sit while enjoying the joys of being outdoors. This is the style of deck which is popular around swimming pool areas and in very large gardens such a space can even be merged with a pagoda offering a destination away from the home to use to enjoy your garden from.