Once you’ve decided you would like to have a timber deck attached to your house, usually, the next step is to search for deck plans. So here is a bird’s eye view guide to finding yourself some fantastic free deck plans:
Tip # 1 for finding free deck plans: Where?
You can view fantastic deck plans either in print magazines and brochures or, you could search the internet. Print magazines and brochures offer high quality designs but usually are lacking in details. Also, the number of deck designs being printed are rather limited (usually no more than a dozen or so). Further, implementing these fancy designs will usually cost you a pretty penny.
Brochures are usually published by timber decking dealers or dealers of decking material. For this reason, deck designs found in brochures will usually promote some fancy material that the dealer is trying to promote. Obviously, this material will either be available only with that dealer or it may be offered at special seasonal discounted price.
Select a design from the magazine or brochure only if you really like it, there is adequate information provided, and it suits your budget.
Tip # 2 for finding free deck plans: The internet
The internet is full of free deck plans. There are thousands available at the proverbial click of the mouse. Again, the same rules apply. Look for deck plans that have already been implemented and include photos – not artist sketches or worse, no sketches at all.
Ask yourself a few questions and see if the deck design provides the answers to them e.g. how much area will the deck plan require? What would be the cost in hardwood? What will be the cost in softwood? What will be the cost if the deck plan is implemented using synthetic material?
If the deck plan includes a detailed engineering sketch, it would be a big bonus as having an engineering sketch makes implementation easier.
Again, there is no such thing as a free meal. So remember that websites that provide free deck plans do so on behalf of some timber dealer or hardware store. While that in itself is not a bad thing, make your own choice as to the type of material you want to work with.
Tip # 3 for finding free deck plans: Architect Design Books on Timber Decks
You will find these books at most book stores (including online) and also at timber decking dealers.
Architect design books are my favourite choice – especially those that have been put together by Australian architects. Some of you will point out that these books are not free. True, but considering the wealth of information available within and the sheer number of deck designs, I would like to think that these designs are as good as free.
Each design will usually include an engineering plan along with a list of materials you will need. These deck designs are also (usually) DIY graded so you know whether you can implement the deck design yourself or will have to hire the services of deck contractors.
Another reason I prefer architect design books put together by Australian architects is because there will be plenty of region specific design that also include material that would be locally available.
Whatever your choice, plan to spend time carefully viewing each deck designs before you finally select one that is appropriate to your needs.
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