When you decide to have a deck installed on your property, you have a general idea in your mind as to what you want. But when you bring in the contractor to start discussing the project, he is going to start using deck style terms that you may not be familiar with. To make sure that you and your contractor are on the same page, it is a good idea to learn about the more popular styles of decks and understand how each would apply to your situation.

Platform Deck

A platform deck is a simple, one-story deck that offers plenty of space but not a lot of aesthetics. If you have s single-story home that sits on a flat piece of land and you are looking for the ideal kind of deck, then this is your solution. Most platform decks sit a maximum of 18 inches off the ground and are built to accommodate a patio door on the back of the house.

One of the interesting features of a platform deck is the fact that these designs tend to be wide open and lack the safety railings we see on other decks. The reason for this is the low proximity to the ground allows the designer to get away with not utilizing safety railings all the way around the deck. Homeowners like these decks because they will often plant shrubs around the perimeter of these decks to act as railings, which can enhance the overall look of the yard.

It is extremely important to use treated materials when building a platform deck as these tend to become exposed to ground moisture on a regular basis. When it rains, the water will run around the base of the deck and could cause damage if the right kind of materials are not used.

Raised Decks

The raised deck design is almost as popular as the platform deck and there are several design options a homeowner has when using the raised deck. This is essentially a platform deck that is put on large foundation posts and raised in the air. These kinds of decks are used for homes with taller foundations and also around swimming pools.

Safety is a critical concern when designing a raised deck. Waist-high railings are installed and safety doors with latches are installed on the entrance to the deck to prevent injury.

The design options with these kinds of decks are numerous. The foundation posts can be left exposed, or they can be hidden behind plants or lattice fencing. One of the reasons that these kinds of decks are so popular is because of the view that is offered by the raised vantage point.

Multi-Tiered Decks

A raised deck and a platform deck can be combined to create a multi-tiered deck. These decks are often used to create the feeling of separate, functional areas of a deck. For example, an upper tier may be reserved for the grill, while a lower tier may be outfitted with a fire pit for relaxing summer evenings.

In some cases, the multi-tiered deck is used to connect the house with the above-ground pool in the backyard. One of the tiers of the deck acts as the pool deck and connects directly to a lower tier that would lead to the patio door on the house.

Disassociated Decks

A deck does not always need to be attached to a home to be effective. Many homeowners enjoy placing decks that are disassociated with the home in other parts of the yard to create gathering places. Two of the more popular functions of a disassociated deck are to serve as a place for a fire pit, or as a covered gazebo that can be used for multiple functions.

A disassociated deck is normally built as a platform deck, but it can be multi-tiered as well. It is unusual to have a disassociated deck be a raised deck, but it is often used as a deck for a pool.

Covered Decks

There are two popular ways to cover a deck and protect people from the heat of the summer sun. One way is to install a retractable deck cover that offers shade when needed, but can be put up when the weather is agreeable. Another way to cover a deck is to simply build a permanent roof over the deck. While this is popular in some parts of the world, building a permanent roof over a deck is not generally common.

Covered decks can also be shielded with screens to protect people from bugs. In areas where mosquitoes and other bugs come out at night during the summer, covered decks with screen walls are very popular.

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