Decks bigger than 12 feet by 16 feet, that is. Ecohome_magazine has an article on large decks and the issues to be considered when designing a deck for 800 square feet or more.
Here are 12 things to consider:
1. What do you want to do on the deck? Oftentimes, those contemplating a large deck are looking to expand their living space into the outdoors. They may want to include an outdoor kitchen and dining area for entertaining.
2. A deck of 800 to 1500 square feet may be constructed on multiple levels and actually have “rooms”. Such a deck obviously will require more time to design and to construct. There will be multiple inspections by code officials and coordination of the trades.
3. You may need an architect or engineer, especially if the deck includes multiple levels, or is more than a foot or two off the ground. In fact the codes may require a structural engineer’s stamp on the plans.
4. Usually a low-maintenance deck is preferred, along with shade structures such as pergolas and awnings for rainy or hot days.
5. For a two-story deck, a underdeck guttering system to keep the lower deck drier may be desirable.
6. For the two-story deck, careful location of support columns is necessary to avoid blocking views, doors and the flow of the lower deck.
7. The size of the deck should fit the house and the yard. A too large deck could overwhelm the house.
8. The size, location and design of the deck should fit in with how the owners plan to use it. A huge deck that is rarely used wouldn’t make sense.
9. Deck surfaces can be very hot on hot sunny days (not so much here in Whatcom County, but lots of other places), the owner might consider decking materials that are less heat absorbent, such as ipe and other natural woods.
10. Educate homeowners on the decking materials they select so they will know what maintenance will be required (preferably before the final selection is made).
11. The contractor can help the homeowner with appropriate selections of appliances, countertop materials that fit the owner’s tastes and budget.
12. The contractor can assist also with knowledge of the amount of space that hot tubs and outdoor kitchens require.