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Deck Building Key Terms
When you hire a contractor to build your deck or patio it is a good idea to know what options are available, so you can select a design that is well suited to your home. Below are seven terms to be familiar with before you begin planning your new outdoor space with your contractor.
Deck - A living space outside the home, often, above ground level. Decks are commonly built in backyards and around pools or hot tubs. Decks are usually made of pressure treated cedar, redwood, pine, or composite wood. Occasionally, materials like aluminum or vinyl are selected for building because they require less maintenance than wood.
Patio - An outdoor area, typically, made of cement, bricks, or tile. Patios can be within a building, like a courtyard, or adjacent. Patios are often built surrounding in-ground pools or as an outdoor entertaining space.
Enclosed Deck - A deck that is screened in, providing protection from bugs and weather. An enclosed deck may have things like electricity and indoor furniture, since the screening offers a guard against the elements.
Pergola - A lattice, supported by pillars, used to grow vines. Pergolas, also called arbors, are a common deck feature because when they are covered with vines they provide shade to the area underneath.
Gazebo - A structure with a roof that is open on all sides. Gazebos are often used in gardens and on decks to provide shade and for aesthetic reasons.
Deck Sealer - A substance painted on to a wooden deck to prevent water absorption, which causes decay, and discoloration. From time to time all wooden decks need to be resealed.
Deck Sanding - A process that removes splinters and smoothes damaged areas of a deck. Sanding will also remove paint, so a new paint or stain can be applied.
Decks and patios are popular additions to many American houses. In some cases, the deck may contain a pool or hot tub. Additionally, the same contractors may be hired to build walkways and gazebos.
In general, the difference between a deck and a patio is that a deck is made of wood or composite materials and often elevated. A patio, on the other hand, is generally constructed of brick or stone and is level with the ground or has the ground built up under it. Patios tend to be more durable and require less repair, but are not suited to all home configurations.
A contractor may be hired to build a deck or patio. Some homeowners may also attempt the task themselves. Patio and deck repairs may be done by amateurs or professionals. Rails commonly need to be prepared. In addition, improvements or additions may be made to an already installed deck. Pool enclosures can add a particular complication, and both pools and hot tubs require plumbing. A deck or patio may also be integral to the home's design and installed at the time of construction. Contractors may or may not provide plans for the design of the deck or patio. Generally, warranties are provided with deck or patio installation.
Composite materials that have the same look and texture as wood but require less maintenance are becoming more common for building decks and outdoor bridges. Patio materials vary greatly but can range from concrete to expensive stone. In general, patios are set on a gravel foundation and some may have a crushed gravel top.