Steps to Take Before Building a Deck

Steps to Take Before Building a Deck

Posted by Deck Expressions on Feb 01, 2020

So, you want to build a deck? Well, thankfully, you have come to the right place! At Deck Expressions, we are proud to be your provider of affordable deck building materials online from the brands you know and love like RDI Railing, Deckorators, and more.

But don’t order all of your deck supplies just yet! Before you start building your deck, there are a few steps you will need to take to ensure your backyard is ready for the deck of your dreams. If you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, you will need to get all of your ducks in a row before you start cutting lumber and nailing boards together. Read below to learn about a few of the steps you need to take before you get started.

Create a Plan

We don’t simply mean browse the latest edition of Better Homes and Gardens for a deck design that you like. You will need to create a fully developed building plan for your deck-to-be. Don’t worry if you’re not an architect, you can find a lot of free deck-planning resources online that will allow you to map out the size of your deck, how it will connect to your house, what type of supports you will need to use, and so forth. All of this information is important to have when you go to apply for permits.

Know Your Budget

After you have designed your deck, calculate how much you will need to spend on deck building materials to complete the project. This not only includes the lumber and deck railing, but also any power tools or deck connectors you will need. If you do not have a budget for the deck of your dreams, consider scaling back the size of the deck before you skimp on the quality of the deck building materials. It is better to build a small deck with high-quality materials now and create an addition when you have the funds than to build a large deck that will quickly deteriorate.

Clear It With Your HOA

If you are part of a homeowners’ association, now would be a good time to ensure you will not be violating any rules by building a deck in your backyard. Most HOAs have regulations about what can be built on the property, even if it is in your own backyard. Before heading to the local government building to seek permits or buying thousands of dollars worth of materials, make sure you will actually be allowed to build the deck.

Get the Right Permits

Handy homeowners build decks all the time without permits. This is, without a doubt, a bad idea. Obtaining a permit isn’t just a hoop for you to jump through. It’s a way of protecting yourself should something go wrong. Getting a permit for your deck will provide you with the city’s seal of approval that, if you build your deck according to your plans, it should be safe and meet the proper codes. This, in theory, should prevent your deck from failing. If you do not get a permit and your deck is not up to code, you could be held financially liable should guests be injured on your deck.

There are a number of unfortunate consequences that come with trying to avoid getting a permit. If the city finds out about your deck, they can force you to tear it down and you can be fined. Because decks increase the property of your home, you might also be forced to pay back taxes for the years that the deck has been in place and not counted toward your property taxes. As we mentioned above, if an accident happens, you could be liable, even if you have liability insurance. The insurance company will see that you never obtained a permit and say, “Better luck next time.”

Do You Always Need a Deck Permit?

With all that said, you might get in touch with the city, show them your deck plans, and be informed that you actually do not need a building or zoning permit to move forward on your project. For example, in some counties, you do not need a building permit for decks that are ground level or short decks that are not attached to the house. The best way to protect yourself is to speak with your local officials and keep a record of your communication if they inform you that you do not need a permit.

Gather Your Deck Building Materials

Now is the fun part! It’s time to shop for your deck supplies like planking and deck railing. While your support posts and joists will probably be made of standard lumber, you can start to consider if you want to upgrade them with deck post wraps or a nice stain.

Know Your Abilities

Building a deck is much more than just nailing some boards together. There is a lot of math and physics involved and working with someone who has a little experience can make all the difference. Before getting started on your deck, know what your limitations are as a DIY contractor. You might feel comfortable laying the decking and installing the deck railing, but installing the structural components like footing and joists may have you scratching your head. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a local builder to help you get started off on the right foot.

Get Ready To Build Your Deck With Deck Expressions

When you’re ready to build your own deck, make sure you know where to get the best deals on deck building materials and supplies. At Deck Expressions, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 and have what you need to make your deck look and function great. From low-maintenance decking to easy-to-install deck railing, we’ve got you taken care of.

If you’re new to the world of deck building, we’re also happy to answer any questions you have about which products you need or how much railing or decking you will need to order. Just give us a call and speak with one of our knowledgeable team members or reach out for a deck materials quote