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by Megan Macpherson

Extending your house with a deck is a great way to maximise floor space, or to create a living and entertaining area in the backyard. A deck is traditionally made from timber, but these days recycled plastic and PVC is also being used. Decking can also be made up of interlocking wooden or plastic tiles, which can be laid on the ground. A pergola or shade cloth over a deck provides a great outdoor living area, as well as giving the deck some protection from the weather.

Decks can have features built into them depending on their use. For example, balustrades if the deck is high off the ground, benches to sit on, or a barbeque area. Another idea is incorporating sections for plants or planter boxes to create a leafy screen around your deck.

Timber decking needs to be maintained sometimes as often as twice per year. This can involve sanding and oiling, or varnishing the wood. Consider this before planning to build a deck, because if the wood is not maintained the colour will fade, and the deck will deteriorate.

A pool deck is a popular way of utilising decking to create an outdoor living area that encompasses the pool with an entertaining area. A pool deck will need to be made from a material that is non-slip, as well as being able to withstand pool chemicals that may be splashed on it.

The colour of the deck can be any colour that wood comes in. It can also be painted, or stained to look a certain way. Consider how the colour of the deck will match or complement your house and outdoor furniture.

PVC is an alternative decking material which has some advantages. It is easy to clean and maintain, and is more fire resistant than timber. It is also more stain resistant, and will not splinter or fade. If you are more concerned with function than aesthetics, then PVC is an ideal alternative.

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