If you have a two-story house, adding an upstairs deck not only increases your outdoor usable space, the added vantage of height can give you a more sweeping view. When thinking about ideas for your deck, make sure it is accessible both from the interior of your house on the second floor and from the outside at ground level, and include stairs in your design.
Having a straight staircase from the ground level to the second-story deck is generally not practical, nor is it the safest design. Having a landing in the middle of the stairs, so that the stairs rise, then turn to finish, makes for a safer climb--and a shorter fall if someone trips. Be sure to include handrails. Alternatively, wrought iron, spiraling staircases can be installed outside. These are sturdy, attractive and take up less space, if space is a consideration. Of course, you can make the deck exclusively accessible from the house and not have stairs at all.
With the addition of a deck upstairs, you create a shaded area below, which is usually over the patio. With a little extra work, you can use the deck to create a ceiling and enclose your patio, turning it into a sun room. Depending on your climate and region, this new room could be usable year round, even without insulation.
As for the deck on top, remember to include railings in your design so that no one accidentally goes over the edge.
The fact that your deck is upstairs doesn't mean it can't be covered. More elaborate upstairs decks are screened in. You can create a sun room or screened-in porch as easily upstairs as down. You can design the deck to be partially shaded, or add in retractable awnings. The primary difference in designing an upstairs deck from a downstairs is the necessity for a fence or railing. Designs range from a picket fence style to wrought iron to rustic wooden railings. Wood which matches the deck flooring is popular. Or the railing might be painted to match your home's trim. Since your deck is upstairs, the fence or railing should encompass the entire deck, with the possible exception of an opening for any exterior stairs. If you have small children, the addition of a gate will make the upstairs deck a safer place for them to play.
- Photo Credit Relaxing Deck image by gardenia from Fotolia.com
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