Measure carefully when you build a deck on your home.

If you’ve ever thought about adding a deck to your home, now is the time! A deck can add value to your home, as well as provide additional space for entertaining and relaxation. It doesn’t have to be a difficult proposition, but there are several factors you need to consider before you build a deck. Whether you want to do-it-yourself or hire a contractor to build a deck for your home, you should consider all the questions below.  Starting now will allow you months of al fresco dining and relaxation in your own private paradise!

  • How much space do you have and what kind of deck do you want? The simplest of decks can be just above ground, providing a level, stable surface for outdoor furnishings and allowing rainwater to drain properly from your living space. More elaborate constructions can be significantly elevated with stairs from outside or even have multiple levels. Just be sure about the footprint that you want to use and how complex you want to get.
  • What’s your budget? Obviously, budget drives most home improvements. The complexity of your deck will be determined by both your space and your budget. Once you have those two things nailed down, you can either draft a plan to build a deck yourself or work with a professional to create one. Your budget (and ambition!) will drive that choice as well.
You can build a deck yourself
  • What material do you want to use? While everyone immediately associates decks with wood, there are plentiful composite options today as well. Composite decking won’t require the annual staining or weatherproofing that most decks do and boards won’t need to be replaced, so while it costs more initially, composite decking will save time and money in the long run. If you choose wood, you need to consider treated versus untreated. Treated wood may need some time in open air before you can stain or waterproof it. Untreated wood needs to be coated immediately once your deck is built, so if you live in a rainy area, that may not be the best option.
  • What does your HOA allow? If you live in a homeowner’s association, you will need to check your governing documents to make sure that you follow the right process for any addition or change to your home. Typically, your HOA will have an architectural modification application for you to complete and submit, including the design and plans for the work you want to do. Your HOA may limit the materials you use, when work can be done (no one wants to hear nail guns at 6 a.m. on Saturday!), the colors you can paint or stain your deck, how large it can be, when materials can be delivered and other aspects of the project.
  • What kind of local government permits do you need? Once you have HOA approval, it’s on to the city. Depending on where you live, the local government may have building requirements to minimize damage from things like earthquakes or hurricanes. They will let you know about inspections and any other requirements that they have for making sure your deck is well-built and safe to use.
  • When are you having your deck warming party? Now that the hard parts are done, celebrate! Have some friends over, fire up the grill and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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