Maximum Home Value Outdoor Living Projects: Deck

No matter what kind of home you have, a deck brings visual interest to your property and easily upgrades your outdoor living space.

A well-built deck is a great way to add livable square footage to any home and provides the perfect spot for entertaining guests. With the popularity of decks soaring, investing in a deck project can bring nearly 75 percent back on your investment if you sell within a year of construction.

CURRENT TRENDS

  • More space and accessories. Decks are now being built far grander in scale than in the past. Multi-level decks with room for outdoor accessories like a grill, spa, fire pit or kitchen are becoming very popular for those who want an outdoor extension of their home’s living space.
  • Sustainable materials. Homeowners and builders are now using sustainable materials such as pine or composite woods when constructing a deck. By considering long-lasting responsibly sourced or recycled materials, outdoor living and going green can go hand-in-hand.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

Many times, homeowners act before they think, planning and building a deck that is completely out of proportion with the house and property. Not only will you spend more than you need to for an outdoor living space, but the disproportion will detract from what would normally be a great return on your investment.

"A well constructed deck will depend upon many factors, including how large your house is, how small your yard is, how much you want to spend and what you want to do on the deck,” says appraisal expert Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute. Keeping in proportion with your house and property, decide on the size of your deck and the amenities you wish to include, but remember, bigger isn't always better.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: A wide range of web sites offer free deck plans with in-depth instructions and costs to be expected. After finding a plan that suits your home’s needs, check out places that offer secondhand materials in or around your area. Many times these materials are in great shape and just need a bit of sanding or sealer. Depending on what you need, significant markdowns upwards of 50 percent to 70 percent can save you considerable cash.
  • Mid-Range: Big plans usually mean big money, so make plans for future extensions to your deck before you start building. By taking into consideration budget and time, start out with a moderate size deck with your “must haves” and make plans for additions later down the road. By using a phased approach, you can achieve your dream deck over a little longer amount of time for a more money-mindful price.
  • High-End: Material choice is important, and composite wood is becoming an increasingly popular choice among homeowners. Unlike regular wood that needs sealing, staining, sanding or painting along with maintenance every year or two, composite wood, which is a combination of wood and plastic fibers, needs no initial prep and is guaranteed to last as long as 10 years. This unique decking material is fade resistant, scratch resistant, stain resistant and low maintenance. Although cost is a factor -- it's almost double the price of real wood -- being able to enjoy your deck for years without maintenance costs and repair can be worth it in the long run.

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