Decks, patios and porches

Patios and timber decks were common in 1970s houses. Porches were less common, though eaves provided shelter over external doors.

The houses of the 1970s were frequently built with timber decks or patios for outdoor living.

They were often built without porches. Eaves frequently provided some shelter over exterior doors and patio or terraced areas. The front and rear exterior doors may also have been set in a shallow recess to provide additional weather protection.


Timber framed walk-on waterproof and timber slat decks at first floor level became a common feature with 1970s houses (Figures 1 and 2).

Waterproof decks were constructed from timber, typically finished with a plywood, or, for a limited time, water resistant particleboard substrate over which a butyl rubber or asbestos reinforced bitumen membrane was laid. Decks were usually open on at least one side to allow drainage from the surface.

Timber slatted decks were either cantilevered out from the wall below or supported off ledgers or stringers and posts/beams.

Available at the time were asbestos-cement decking tiles, including coved upstands and downturn tiles which were laid over the membrane or timber decking. Tile joints were sealant filled.

Handrails were typically open timber, steel or aluminium post and rail systems often constructed with climbable horizontal members or top rails that do not meet current Acceptable Solution requirements.

Some houses had translucent roofing over outdoor areas, and some had walk-on roof decks with moisture-resistant membrane roofing. See roof cladding: original details for more information.

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A patio or terrace and steps were generally reinforced concrete with a solid plaster finish. Balustrades and railings were lower and often more widely spaced than is permitted today.

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Common modifications

Decks and patios were sometimes poorly orientated for sun, views, privacy and wind direction. Modifications may have been carried out to improve orientation.

Where existing decks are more than 1.0 m above the ground and not part of any alteration work, upgrading the existing safety barriers to meet the requirements of Building Code Clause F4 Safety from falling is considered good practice. New deck construction will be required to meet the current Building Code performance requirements. You can find information in the BRANZ Good Practice Guide: Waterproof decks and balconies.