When Seattle's weather is good, there's no better place on earth. Even the air smells good, because we don't have a lot of pollution. It's so comfortable, so enjoyable to be outside. For Seattleites, that means we value the outside—in some ways—more than others, because we don't always get to enjoy it. People who experience the rain all the time want to enjoy the sun when it comes out.

A deck is a wonderful way to enjoy this incredible area we live in and a great way to add living space to your home. At Dunn Lumber, we have more than 60 different decking options, just in surface materials alone. That means we can have 10 different people come in asking for the same general type of deck, but their finished decks might be totally different depending on their personal preferences.

With so many options, building a deck can be a confusing process. That's why we're here: to help you find the perfect decking package for your home. For us, the process is as important as the sale. Below are a few of the questions we would ask if you came into a Dunn Lumber location and talked to one of our decking experts. If you start thinking about them now, you'll get a head start on prepping your deck for summer.

Where will it go?

One of the first questions a Dunn Lumber decking expert will ask you is where the deck is going to be positioned on your house. We're going to need to know if you're west-facing, south-facing, or north-facing because the answer will change what you'll experience. For instance, if you have a west-facing deck and you want a really darkly colored surface, we're going to caution you that the surface will get hot; if you're planning on walking out barefoot on that west-facing deck in the heat of the afternoon, you'd better get something light-colored.

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Everybody in Seattle understands that we're prone to moss, lichen, and various other things that grow in wet climates. If you're in a shady area or if you're underneath fir trees, you're going to have to take those needles and that wetness into account. You're probably going to want to use a decking surface that has a very light grain—if any at all—because if it's deep, it's going to collect organic material, and it's going to be harder to keep clean.

The orientation of the deck, the presence of dampness, dirt, and moss, the amount you want to spend on maintenance: there are a lot of serious decisions that could be considered mistakes down the road if you didn't prepare for them ahead of time.

What materials do you want?

Wherever the deck is placed, you need suitable, high-quality materials that will stand the test of time. Often on a customer's first visit, they actually find out how much they don't know, and how many new questions they have. Our decking experts are trained in asking you the right questions so that they can offer expert advice that's tailored to your situation.

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They'll ask questions like: Is this a showcase deck, or do you want it to blend in with the house and allow you to enjoy the outdoors? How much maintenance are you willing to do? What is your budget? After knowing your answers, our experts can make recommendations and offer tips so you've got a better idea of what you're going to end up with.

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Think about how much maintenance you're willing to keep up with. Different materials require different levels of upkeep to keep them looking good. I usually ask people: Would you like to own an antique mahogany boat that you have to sand every year and refinish? If they would, I'll lead them towards a hardwood decking. If they wouldn't, I'll lead them towards a deck that's going to have a lot lower maintenance and is going to basically blend in and complement their house.

From there, we have a range of prices available. The least expensive decking is probably going to be a five-quarter by four-radius decking; then the price increases up to the high-level hardwoods.

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How will you get your materials home?

Dunn Lumber offers $60 flat-rate local delivery for a simple reason: We want to make sure that once you've decided on the perfect decking package for your home, it actually makes it there safely. Transporting all the boards needed for a deck can be difficult. Some boards are slippery, and the entire load is very, very heavy. But with our packaging techniques and delivery practices, we'll get it to your home safely.

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For traditional delivery, a lumberyard would band a load of lumber together with metal bands, and the metal bands would sink into the wood which holds it nice and tight. Then they would chain the whole thing down; they'd put the chains right over the lumber.

Then you get to the job. The truck lifts up, the lumber slides off, it hits the ground, and the end of the lumber gets scraped and a few pieces break. But it's no big deal—it's a whole house package. That's just the cost of doing business. It's construction materials, so does it really matter?

We think it does. A deck is all about the way it looks in the end. We package the materials very carefully with edge protectors and plastic shrink wrap, and we keep everything covered in the yard so it doesn't get dirty or covered with pollen before you get the material. Then we deliver the load safely to your home or job site, ready for installation and enjoyment.

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If you're ready to get started on your deck project, make an appointment with one of our decking experts, or come into any Dunn Lumber location. And of course, if you have any questions about building, maintaining, or repairing your deck, contact me personally at mikedunn@dunnlumber.com.

Build Your Deck with Dunn Lumber