Second Story Decks: Top Pros and Cons
Are you looking to maximize your outdoor space or make your backyard more accessible to more areas of your house?
Have you ever dreamed of walking out of your master bedroom onto a private deck? Or perhaps you want to connect your patio by the walkout basement with the kitchen on the main floor.
Who wants to walk needlessly around the house when a second story deck could easily connect the two? It might be time to consider this outdoor addition.
Building Second Story Decks
Because of the height aspect, building a multi-level deck isn’t well suited to a weekend DIYer. When you are working at 8 or 9 feet above the ground, you want to make sure you have safety measures and insurance in place in case of unforeseen accidents.
It’s a job best left to the pros.
Types of Materials
Most decks are made of either pressure treated wood or composite material. This is because regular lumber doesn’t hold up to the elements as well.
Also, pressure-treated wood is still priced right. The great thing about wood is that it can be cut, stained, and painted to almost any specification you want, making it highly customizable.
The higher the grade of pressure-treated wood, the more expensive it is. However, the less chance you’ll have to restore your deck every few years. Eventually, all wood must be maintained and repaired.
Composite material is gaining in popularity. It’s a mix of wood fibers or chips and plastic, and it requires very little to no maintenance.
It doesn’t splinter the way wood does, which can be a significant consideration for kids and pets. You won’t be restoring this kind of deck in a few years.
However, it’s much heavier than wood, requiring more supports, and it’s more expensive. It’s also less versatile than wood.
The great thing about adding a multi-level deck is that it creates the potential for a room underneath. Some homeowners choose to finish out the patio space and make it into a three seasons room or a screened-in porch.
Other homeowners want the open space to create an outdoor kitchen connected to the interior.
Whatever you choose, one of the primary considerations is what kind of stairs you will use to connect the upper floor with the lower.
Traditional stairs, of course, can be built using pressure-treated wood or composite. These do take up more space and cost more in materials and labor to build.
However, again, they are highly customizable. You can make your outdoor stairs into an eye-catching feature.
The other thing you can do is choose a spiral staircase in galvanized steel or powder-coated aluminum. These staircases are space savers, and they look really great.
Pros of Adding Second Story Decks
Add living space for cheap
When it comes to renovations, a deck is a no-brainer. It’s far less complex to add a basic structure with no plumbing or electrical work needed than it is to reconfigure your indoor space.
Add visual interest
Change the flat, uninteresting back of your house with the depth of a structure. With so many color and style options, your deck can be not only useful but add tons of character to your house.
Maximize your view
If you are lucky enough to live in a place with a beautiful view, a second story deck can make the most of it. Not only can you see it from indoors, but you can enjoy that view while lounging, grilling, or dining al fresco.
Usable backyard space on a slope
If you live on a hill, you know there’s very little usable space to entertain outside. A second story deck can make your backyard inviting! It might even feel like you are living in a treehouse.
Add a screened-in porch underneath
As I mentioned above, many people love the usable patio space the deck provides underneath. Add another room as a bonus!
Cons of Building Second Story Decks
Second story decks do come at a price. They are significantly more expensive per square foot to build than a deck built nearer the earth.
This is because they require more materials, more structural support and engineering, and more labor. If you also choose to make a screened-in porch, the price will continue to go up.
It’s more dangerous to build a second story deck. For professional builders, it’s not that big of a deal. We deal with heights all the time, and we have safety training. It’s not something we suggest you do on your own!
However, there’s also the danger posed by an unsafe, rotting, or poorly engineered second story deck for you and your guests.
As long as you own it, you will need to make sure your deck is in working order, or it could spell disaster for someone.
Bringing it Home
Second story decks are the perfect way to blend indoor and out, upstairs and down, all without the high expense and complexity of an interior renovation.
Wood and composite decks are convenient for entertaining or maximizing your view.
If you are interested in having a professional deck constructed and live in Southeast Michigan, give us a call. We’re happy to help.