Home Improvement: Important Concerns in Deck Design

Building an outdoor deck can be considered a challenge to many, but with the right mindset and preparation, it is a fantastic investment in one’s home. It is highly recommended to use a professional for this job, such as Heilman Renovations, who serve the Vancouver area and have installed hundreds of such decks that increase the value of the homes they serve. 

Deck Size

The first, most important concern when starting a renovation of this magnitude is how big of an area do you have to work with. In general, an outdoor deck should not be more than 20% of the area of the house it is next to. Also, no single section of a deck should be bigger than the largest room in the house it is attached to. With these guidelines, you can be creative with the shape of the renovation, ranging from a simple rectangle, to having multiple sections or levels. This is dependent on how much time and money the user wants to put into the renovation project. 

Yard and Elevation 

This will determine how large the deck can be and how complex the build will be. With a flat surface to work with or a smaller area, a deck can be lower (below 80 centimeters high). These decks usually do not need a guard rail and are less complex. With an area that has angled ground, the deck will need to be higher (above 80 centimeters high). This deck with also probably need guard rails protect people from falling off of it.


As is the case with any home improvement project, safety is a big concern. Depending on the amount of foot traffic the deck will receive may dictate what material you use, and even if guard rails are needed. If there are many people planning to use the deck, maybe the user will want to use composite material which is said to be sturdiest and last the longest. Also, if the user has small children or is elderly, easily accessible guard rails may be needed. Also, knowing the demographic of the users will help determine the amount of stairs needed. With extremely young or old users, more stairs or stairs closer together may be warranted. 

Deck Material 

Another concern is what material you want the deck to be made out of. Wood decks are the most popular, yet becoming outdated. Wood must be stained to protect the surface from cracking and warping. This can be a pain, but some like the look of real wood. Another choice is using composite material such as TimberTech, PVC decking such as Gossen, or even aluminum decking such as LockDry. These are much more durable and require less maintenance. Either way, both can be used depending on the user’s renovation preference. 

Potential Add-on Features 

Lastly, the user may want to think about feature they want on or adjacent to the deck. If applicable, a swimming pool could go adjacent to the deck. Also, the user may want to place an outdoor grill on the deck. This will enhance the outdoor deck experience even further.