Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

Building your own terrace is not so complicated. You simply have to plan your project well to be able to predict as much detail as possible. Here is the inventory of things to think about before you get to work.

Consult the Municipality

It is essential to go to the officials of your municipality before you start to erect your plans since you must know the by-laws concerning the construction of this type of structure.

Some questions to ask:

1. How high is the terrace you entitled to?

2. What is the distance of the median line between you and the neighbor?

It is also likely that you will need to obtain a permit for the construction of your terrace. The city will keep you informed.

Make a Plan.

Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

Taking the time necessary to plan any type of project also means making sure to eliminate unpleasant surprises.

First of all, you must make a plan based on a project that will be as safe as possible, comfortable, intimate, if that is what you want. You can of course draw the plan on paper, but to really realize the limits of the surface on which you want to build, I advise you to draw the limits of your location with rope on the ground. You'll have a better idea of what it's going to look like in the end compared to the boundaries of the neighborhood, among other things. You'll also have the precise quantities to calculate the materials you need.

You can then use the plan you have developed on paper, the dimensions you have calculated on the ground to calculate the materials you will have to buy. So organized, you won't need to go back and forth incessantly between home and the hardware store. You can also get everything delivered at once.

The Basics of the Floor.

Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

You can choose to put 12, 16 or 24 inches of distance between each floor joist. The larger your surface area, the shorter the space between the joists should be to ensure good stability to your floor. If you are not sure what it takes as a distance between each joist, I advise you to put 16 inches of distance, which remains the standard. This distance is calculated from the center of the 1st piece of wood (1 3/4 inch) to the center of the other piece of wood.

Floor Boards.

Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

You already have to think about the layout of the floor boards. Do you prefer them parallel, perpendicular or diagonal to your house? This decision will determine in which direction you make the base of the floor. The floor joists must be laid in the opposite way to the boards that will come to rest on them. You can also determine if you want a terrace on one or more levels.

How wide of boards do you want for your floor? 1'' X 4''? 1'' X 6''? 2'' X 4'' or 2'' X 6'', which are stronger because thicker? It should be noted that the larger your terrace, the more important it is to favor thick boards. Your choice can also be dictated by a concern for aesthetics, according to your tastes.

Anchored or Not at Home?

Do you want your terrace to be completely independent of your house (self-supporting) or to be hung on it (anchored)? The support of your structure will be influenced by this decision. If you decide to anchor it to your home, you will have to provide bottom pulls to fix the bases of your terrace in the joists of your house.


Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

Already at this stage, you can think about accessories. Do you want to put flower boxes on your terrace, a lattice wall, stairs on one or more levels, a ramp, a pergola?... For ramps, establish in advance the design you want to give them. Do you want to integrate trellis, flower boxes, do you want to make several levels?

The Choice of Materials

The choice of materials will be determined by your desire for sustainability, by your willingness to maintain it, by your tastes and preferences, of course, but above all by your budget.

Do You Want Your Terrace to be Built:

1. In natural wood (pine) with protection to be applied afterwards (shelf life of about seven years, but must be painted and dyed regularly)

2. Made of treated wood (green tint - lasts much longer than untreated natural wood)

3. Cedar (waterproof, not obliged to treat it, less maintenance, but more expensive)

4. Made of fiberglass

5. In cement or concrete.

If you work with wood, to fix your boards, will you choose screws or nails? Nails are easier to lay, but screws make it easier to work when you need to replace a rotten or broken board. There are now screws that are the color of treated wood, treated with epoxy so anti rust. This prevents the wood from roting prematurely.

You can also find on the market an anchoring system that you put under the terrace, invisible therefore from above. This system eliminates visible screws and also causes fewer holes in the wood.

The Finish.

Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

If you build your wooden deck, you have to think about the finish you'll use. Will you opt for a sealant, stain or paint to protect it? The stain is more liquid and penetrates inside the wood. The sealant, on the other hand, seals the wood, as its name suggests, thus protecting it from the elements.

That said, there is very good quality tincture that already contains sealant. It's worth asking your hardware store who will be able to give you the characteristics of each of the products and guide you as to the appropriate choice.

Finally, if you choose to paint your terrace, you should know that it prevents the wood from breathing and that it prunes more and faster than dyeing. This option requires more maintenance. On the other hand, you may want to give a special look to your terrace by giving it bright colors. At that time, painting is a good choice.

In summary, here is the list of materials to check before you start. Do you have everything you need to:

1. The foundation

2. The base of the floor

3. The floor

4. Ramps

5. The finishing contour

6. Stairs

7. Flower boxes

8. Hardware (including: anchor angle irons, beam calipers, anchor bolts, etc...)

Plans to Buy.

Building Your Terrace: Here's What You Need to Think About Before You Start

If you don't know exactly what kind of terrace you want, there are plan books in some hardware stores that can really give you great ideas.

You will find terrace plans, but also plans of house, balcony, shed, gazebo ... They will also provide you with the entire list of materials to buy according to the plan you choose.

They are made for people who have not tinkered much, just like for experienced renovators. They indicate the steps to follow from A to Z. You can consult on the spot the list of available plans and then buy the one that interests you. It's really useful! You can buy a plan on the internet, depending on your preference.