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4 Steps to Plan Your New Deck

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If you’re looking for a way to add value to your home while also giving your family and friends an outdoor space to gather, building a deck may be your best bet. With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to start building—after you’ve come up with a plan, of course.

All major home renovation projects require some planning, and building a deck is no exception. Here are the 4 basic things you need to do before diving into some backyard construction.

  1. Decide if you're going to DIY or call in the professionals. If you have some experience building wood structures (say, a kids’ treehouse or backyard shed), you may be able to handle building a deck yourself. However, if you’ve never done any home construction, a deck isn’t the easiest project to start with. You may find that it’s actually more cost-effective to hire professional contractors.
  2. Decide what kind of deck you’re going to build. For a one-story home, you’ll most likely want to build a deck on the ground. However, if you have two or more stories, you might want to build a raised deck, or even a two-story deck. Then there’s the shape and dimensions. Do you want a basic rectangular deck, or do you want to add something more elaborate, like a deck that wraps around the side of the house? And will you need to add a railing (for a raised deck, the answer should definitely be yes). You’ll need to have a vision before you can go any farther with your deck building project.
  3. Draw up a site plan. When we say “draw up” we don’t actually mean that you have to get out your ruler and protractor to create your own site plan. You may find it easier (and, as with hiring contractors, a better use of your time) to order one online from MySitePlan. We’ll get you an up-to-date site plan in one-two business days at the most, and then you can simply draw in your deck to scale to get a sense of how it will fit on your property. This is necessary for getting a permit and communicating with contractors, if you choose to use one. You can also try one of these free trial CAD softwares for a more DIY approach.
  4. Calculate your material cost. There are very few people who actually go around saying “price is no issue”, and you’ll probably want to know how much a deck is going to cost you before you commit to building one. Luckily, it’s easy to come up with a good estimate ahead of time using an online deck cost calculator. Remember, if your original plan seems too expensive but you still want a deck, you can always scale it back.

Once you’ve worked out the details, you (or your contractors) will be able to get to work on your deck, and before you know it, you’ll have the perfect place to sit in the sun on pleasant days.

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  • Ryan Crownholm
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