4 Steps to Adding a Deck to Your Home
Now that spring is finally here, it’s a perfect time to get started on all those home improvement projects you’ve been dreaming of since last summer. Maybe this will be the year you go for the ultimate dream: Adding a deck.
But wait! Before you run to Home Depot and stock your backyard with lumber, there are a few important steps you should take to make sure that you’re ready to go.
Step 1: Budget
Think carefully about what kind of deck you want. Important factors to consider include the materials you want to use, the size of the deck, and the deck’s placement. Consider all of these factors with a realistic financial planin mind. You don’t want to start on a huge project only to find out halfway through that you’ve accidentally used up your kid’s entire college fund. (The good news, though, is that adding a deck to your home can result in up to an 87% return of investment.)
Step 2: Obtain a site plan and a building permit
See your city’s rules for adding additions to residential property. To ensure that development codes are being met, most U.S. cities require that a site plan be obtained before they issue a building permit. Since it is illegal to begin significant construction projects without a permit, this is an extremely important part of the building process. Luckily, site plans are easy to obtain through MySitePlan. Once you have your site plan and your building permit, you’ll be ready to begin building.
Step 3: Draw up a plan and gather the materials
Draw out a design of your deck. If this is new to you, take your drawing to a building professional in your area (try a Lowe’s or Home Depot)—they’ll help you through it. Make sure to consider the dimensions of your desired deck and the actual dimensions of the land you’ll be building on. Then, head to a home supply center (Lowes or Home Depot to the rescue again), gather your materials, and you’ll be ready to go!
Step 4: Build!
Okay, admittedly there are some sub-steps here. The first is to learn your deck-building lingo (“box still,” “center beam,” and “footers,” just to name a few). After that, it’s all about following your plan, measuring accurately, and following through. Places like This Old House or The DIY Network can help walk you through the building process.
After that, you’re done! Have some friends over, light up the grill, and invite the neighbors to gaze on in envy while you kick back on your brand new deck.
- Ryan Crownholm