Decks For Maine Homes
If you're buying a house in Maine, chances are it's for the view. Maine has some great beaches, oceans, rivers, lakes, and forests. You can enjoy the view from your deck as you sip your morning coffee... but only if you have a deck. Many homes in Maine are built with decks and porches already attached, but don't limit yourself to only looking at these homes during your house hunt, because decks are easy enough to add on later.
Many people, even those who are not contractors, choose to build their own decks. It's easy enough to do if you get the plans right. Decks built in Maine need to be sturdier than some of the deck plans you might find in your do it yourself book, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the local building codes before you begin your project. Some things to consider are the soil, which is typically rocky and will make it difficult to drill your support posts, the fact that the soil routinely freezes and thaws throughout the year, the possibility of heavy snowfall, and the battering your deck will take in the storm season if it's on the water.
Typical guidelines for deck building call for supports to be dug 4ft into the earth (to avoid having your supports moved by freezing and thawing) and for the railing on the deck to be 4ft tall. Make sure that if you have dogs or children that the railing supports are close enough together that they can't squeeze through and fall off. And of course, use treated lumber or be prepared to regularly apply sealant, because Maine has a lot of precipitation which can quickly weather your deck, forcing you to replace the boards after only a few years. Lumber costs for the average deck are around $1,000, so longevity is something you'll want to think about. In addition to wood, there are also composites and laminates to consider.
Before you start building, always have your plans approved by the building permit office. If you don't, you could run into trouble when it comes time to resell the house. Hiring a building contractor to build your deck for you will solve all of these problems in one go, so if you're not confident enough in your abilities to bet your family's safety on them, look up the local Better Business Bureau chapter and see which local contractor comes most recommended.