Decks have long been a popular feature of Australian homes, allowing us to take advantage of our long summers and to enjoy all the delights of outdoor entertaining with family and friends. A well-built deck adds beauty, space and value to your property.
If your home has a deck or if you are thinking of building one, we have some advice on how to preserve and maintain its value throughout the year.
Decided to add a deck to your property?
First decide if you will build the deck yourself or if a qualified builder will do the job. If you plan to build it yourself, you are technically an owner builder and should be aware of the obligations and responsibilities that this involves.
Next, check with your local council as to what planning permits you need before you start building. Depending on the area you live in, there may be restrictions around the types of materials you can use, minimum standards for construction and the size of the deck.
If you are building a deck in a bushfire-prone area, you will be subject to more stringent regulations regarding the material and structure. Visit the VBA website for more information on Bushfire Attack Levels (BALs).
Decks in Australia can be composed of a range of hardwoods, treated pine, composite decking or modular, pre-assembled decking panels which are designed for the DIY market.
When deciding on the materials, take into consideration the location of the deck and its exposure to the elements, the amount of time you can devote to its care and maintenance and your budget for both construction and maintenance and upkeep.
Going to engage a builder? If the job is going to cost more than $10,000 (for both materials and labour), you will need a written building contract from a registered builder (someone who holds a DB-L or DB-U qualification). You can use the VBA Find a Practitioner tool to check if your contractor has the necessary qualifications.
Keeping Your Deck In Good Nick
A well-built deck can last decades with the proper care and maintenance to keep it in good repair. You should sweep dirt, leaves and debris from your deck on a regular basis to prevent discolouration, mould and rotting of the boards. Flower planters and heavy pots should be raised from the deck surface to avoid damage and discolouration.
At least once a year, give your deck a thorough clean with a specialised deck cleaner, choosing one that has been formulated especially for timber or composite decks.
Once your deck is clean, check for rotting, split or loose boards, loose nails and screws, and any splinters or other damage. Sand down any irregularities, then apply a waterproof deck sealer, deck stain or decking oil. This will serve the dual purpose of prolonging the life of your deck and highlighting the natural beauty of the wood.
Most experts advise against pressure washing a deck, as the jet pressure can splinter and destroy the wood. For serious stains, many experts recommend using an oxygen cleaner which will dissolve deep stains without damaging the timber.
Selling Your Home?
If you have altered, extended, built or rebuilt a deck within the last 6.5 years, and you are now selling your home, you are required by law to provide an Owner Builder Defects (137b) Report as part of your section 32 documentation. If the value of your building works exceeds $16,000, you will also require domestic building insurance.
How can we help?
The Home Inspection Hub conducts Owner Builder Defects Reports all throughout Melbourne, Geelong and Central Victoria
Our online resource for owner builders will help you through your journey as an owner builder.
The Home Inspection Hub are the residential inspection professionals.
We conduct all types of residential inspections throughout Melbourne, Geelong and Central Victoria:
- Pre-Purchase House Inspections
- Building and Pest Inspections with Crunch Pest Control
- New Home Construction Inspections – all stages as well as Contract Review, Stand-Alone PCI and Maintenance Inspections
- Owner Builder Defects (137B) Reports
- Special Purpose Inspections
- VCAT Reports and Expert Witness
- Tax Depreciation Reports
- Building Dispute Reports
- A free quote service
- Free sample reports
- Quick report turnaround
With over 20,000 inspections under our belt and an established reputation, The Home Inspection Hub provides peace of mind for the biggest purchase you will ever make.
Call us today on 1300 071 283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and see how we can assist you in your home-buying journey.