4 Steps to Adding a Deck to Your Home

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.



FAQ Answer
What are some common mistakes to avoid when building a deck? Common mistakes include not securing the proper permits, using inappropriate materials for the climate, inadequate spacing between deck boards, and not ensuring that the structure is level and securely anchored.
How long does it typically take to complete a deck project from start to finish? The duration of a deck project can vary significantly based on the size of the deck, the complexity of the design, and whether you are doing it yourself or hiring professionals. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few weekends to several weeks.
Can adding a deck increase my property taxes? Yes, adding a deck can increase your property's value, which may result in higher property taxes. It's advisable to check with your local tax assessor's office for specific details on how much your taxes could increase.
What are the best materials to use for a deck in a high-moisture climate? In high-moisture climates, materials like composite decking or pressure-treated woods that are resistant to rot and mold are ideal. These materials help ensure longevity and maintain the deck’s appearance over time.
Is it necessary to hire a professional to build a deck, or can it be a DIY project? While many people successfully build decks as a DIY project, hiring a professional can ensure that it meets safety standards and local building codes. Professionals can also handle complex designs and structural issues more efficiently.
How do I maintain my deck once it's built? Regular maintenance includes cleaning, checking for loose boards or protruding nails, sanding and resealing wood decks, and checking for signs of rot or damage. Annual inspections are recommended to maintain safety and longevity.

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  • Ryan Crownholm