In our article posted earlier this month, The 5 Most Popular Deck Designed Explained, we reviewed five design categories — platform, raised, multi-level, two story and screened-in decks.

Today, let’s dig a little deeper into the raised deck.

Raised Decks by Archadeck

Raised Decks by Archadeck

But what exactly IS a raised deck?

A raised deck is the most common type of deck design.  Why?  Well, the foundation of most homes puts the main-floor several feet above grade-level; thus, the deck needs to be elevated, requiring rails for safety and stairs for backyard access.

Raised Deck with Rails for Safety and Double Stairs for Backyard Access, Project by Archadeck

Raised Deck with Rails for Safety and Double Stairs for Backyard Access, Project by Archadeck

The good news:  rails and stairs add not only function, but aesthetics as well.  And with a deck that’s raised up, you’ll have options for using the space beneath.

Elevated Deck over Patio, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Elevated Deck over Patio, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

The bad news:  any raised deck will have posts.  And frankly, an exposed post, especially a tall one, can be downright ugly.  But wait.  We have ideas for solving that problem.  Just keep reading…

Materials for decking, stairs and rails

There’s a ginormous product selection for building each and every component of an elevated structure, except the posts. The posts are required to be built using pressure treated lumber.

Good-looking, high-performing soft or hardwoods, composites, capped composites and vinyls are available for constructing the deck floor board, steps and rails.  Incorporate high fashion into an otherwise basic design, lickety-split, with decorative rail inserts, balusters or pickets.

With a tasteful combination of deck and rail materials, most any choice is a good choice — traditional, rustic, modern and everything-in-between.  Whatever you love, style-wise, can be designed to work.

Cedar Wood Deck, Rail and Balusters by Archadeck St. Louis

Cedar Wood Deck, Rail and Balusters by Archadeck St. Louis

 

Capped Composite Decking, Composite Rails, Glass Balusters, by Archadeck in St. Louis

Capped Composite Decking, Composite Rails, Glass Balusters, by Archadeck in St. Louis

In the end, homeowners base material selection on three things:  aesthetics, price and maintenance.  And herein lies the beauty and flexibility offered by a custom deck design.

Shade, privacy and other design features

Whether your elevated deck is built with natural wood or synthetics, a shade structure, privacy wall or other design feature is possible.

Elevated Cedar Deck with Pergola, by Archadeck in St. Louis

Elevated Cedar Deck with Pergola, by Archadeck in St. Louis

Elevated, Low Maintenance Deck with Shade by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Elevated, Low Maintenance Deck with Shade by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

With proper engineering and construction, any design — large or small — will accommodate the structural load.

If your deck addition is a DIY project, make sure you understand  the terms dead load, live load and impact load.  If you’re using an experienced and reputable contractor, they’ll know the ropes, no worries!

But beyond the construction technicalities, a full or partial overhead cover such as a pergola or roof provides style and sun protection.

A privacy screen or wall also creates shade, depending on the direction of the sun, and keeps your outdoor space intimate for you, your family and guests.

Large Elevated Deck with Shade Cover and Privacy Wall by Archadeck

Large Elevated Deck with Shade Cover and Privacy Wall by Archadeck

What’s Underneath?

One of the biggest considerations for the design and build of a raised deck is what lies beneath?  Remember the ugly post problem we mentioned earlier?

Depending upon the exact height, there are alternatives for improving the underside of an elevated deck.  Most homeowners choose one of three options.

Landscaping is an easy solution, particularly if your deck is raised only a few feet above ground level.  And depending on the height of shrubs, trees or plants, post covers may or not be needed.

Elevated Deck with Post Covers and Landscaping by Archadeck

Elevated Deck with Post Covers and Landscaping by Archadeck

Or how about an under deck skirt with or without a built-in storage area?

Raised Deck with Skirting, by Archadeck

Raised Deck with Skirting, by Archadeck

Elevated Deck with Under Deck Storage by Archadeck

Elevated Deck with Under Deck Storage by Archadeck

Or, if space permits, completely build-out the space beneath the deck with an open or screened in outdoor room.

No matter your choice, having an under deck strategy is a good thing!

Elevated Deck with Under Deck Screened In Patio by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Elevated Deck with Under Deck Screened In Patio by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Key Takeaways

  • Raised decks are common; however, the deck can be uniquely ‘uncommon’ with customization for each-and-every deck component:  floor boards, rails, balusters and other design features.
  • When homeowners select their deck design and materials — the look, the price and the maintenance requirements — are the primary decision-making factors.
  • A raised deck will require pressure treated posts and the posts, if left bare, may be an eyesore; however with landscaping, wraps/covers or skirting, the ugly deck posts are easily disguised.
  • And to get the most out of your backyard space, use the space above and beneath your deck with overhead shade, privacy screens and an underdeck strategy.

Next Steps

For more outdoor living inspiration visit our website, west-county.archadeck.com where you’ll find photo galleries, an online inquiry form, a free download for Archadeck’s design guide and a video too.  And please join us on Pinterest, Google+ and Houzz!

Are you looking for a St. Louis deck builder?  If so, please consider Archadeck.  We’re locally owned and operated with offices in West County.  Call anytime – 636-227-0800.

And if you’re not familiar with Archadeck, check out the About Us page right here on the blog!

If you do not live in St. Louis, visit archadeck.com or call 888-687-3325 for Archadeck owners/operators in your neck of the woods.

Low Maintenance Raised Deck with Decorative Rails and Post Covers by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Low Maintenance Raised Deck, Decorative Rails, Post Covers by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Sources

Better Homes and Gardens, Culpeper Wood Preserves, NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association), decksgo.com, Archadeck Outdoor Living, Archadecks inChester County PA, Central Iowa, Nova Scotia, Central Connecticut and Columbus OH.