Building a new porch or deck has become a popular solution to maximizing outdoor living space. With constant exposure to the environment, decking needs to be able to withstand all external conditions including fire hazards, insect damage, the sun, rain and windy conditions. When designing a deck you must factor in all of the local conditions in your area and select decking materials that will provide superior strength, longevity and dimensional stability.
There are two main choices for decking frames – steel and timber. Most steel frames are comprised of colorbond steel bearers, joints and reinforced steel posts. Steel frame decking is quick to install and ideal for use in fire hazard areas. Timber frames can include timber for bearers, joists and posts or a combination of timber frame with steel posts. If selecting a timber frame for your deck then there is the choice of either hardwood or softwood.
You can use a number of different hardwoods such as Merbau, Tallow wood, Ironbark and more. Hardwood is naturally more durable and resistant to insect damage and is the strongest choice in timber decking. The most common sizes of timber boards used for decking construction are 70mm, 90mm and 140mm.
An alternative to timber decking is compressed fibre cement sheeting, which is then tiled over. This method works best with steel frames and posts as they are more rigid than timber. A well built compressed fibre deck will resemble paved concrete and last for over 30 years.
There are many styles of handrails to complement your deck including tubular (pool fence type), stainless steel wires, glass or timber. The most popular style tends to be tubular because it is cost effective, looks great and is maintenance free.
If your deck is elevated or requires stair access then just like deck construction, there are a number of different materials available for stairs. Including a steel welded stringer with timber treads, or a full set of hardwood or treated pine stairs.
Timber decking is ideal for sloping blocks, to cover old concrete patios or as an alternative to paving. Timber decking can be built at the same level as your existing floors to facilitate a smooth transition from indoors to outdoors.
The trick to successfully building a deck is to make sure it looks like part of the home. When it comes to the design, we always aim to make the porches we create look like they are a part of the original home. Some upgrades that can be made to the porches include window screens and finished floors. At Lavitech we try to make our porches and decks outdoor rooms that people can use all year around. And thanks to Southern California’s sunny weather, people can expect to get more use out of their porches, whether they choose to add glass windows, mesh screens, or nothing at all.