Have you ever thought about building your own outdoor deck? Most homeowners would answer ‘no’ to this question, simply because of the skill and time involved in doing the job right. The idea of organizing the project, from choosing materials to prepping the space and going through all the necessary steps to even start building — this is just too daunting for a lot of homeowners. They would rather find a reputable and trustworthy expert to give them a fair deal and leave with a deck built to the highest professional standards. Guarantees are also a major reason why people go the professional route — when the work you’re paying for is guaranteed in writing, you can feel much better about trusting the process.
If you’re one of those homeowners who are considering building your own deck, it’s important to take your time — especially during the planning phase — to avoid costly mistakes that might come back to haunt you later. To that end, here are four things to know about building your own custom deck.
1. You need permits
The worst thing you can do is dive into your deck-building project without securing the necessary permission from local authorities. It’s surprising how often this happens — and when it does, the result can be anything from hefty fines and long delays to the complete demolition of what you’ve built. This costs time and money. Always research what permits are required for an outdoor deck. Your plans may have to be approved by authorities, and inspections may be necessary to make sure the job was done to plan.
2. There are options you may not be considering
Have you ever considered a deck with a build-in outdoor kitchen? How about an infinite pool, or custom build-in seating with a fireplace for entertaining on chilly Autumn nights? These things may seem completely out of reach, but people are often surprised at how accessible some of these ideas are.
3. Being meticulous is everything
When you finally have a plan in place, and you’ve secured the necessary permission, it’s time to get down to business. This is when it pays to have experience — but if you don’t, the next best thing is to proceed slowly and carefully. There are so many details to remember, such as the quality and depth of your footings, making sure the frame is perfectly square, cutting and placing the boards properly, and the list goes on. When it comes to building an outdoor deck, success is all about the details.
4. It may not be worth the hassle
For some homeowners, there is great pleasure in the idea of building your own outdoor deck. This is a good reason to consider DIY deck building. Other homeowners hope to save time and money by doing it themselves, which is often not the strongest reason to proceed. When you add up the time it takes to organize the project and do it yourself, and weight it against the final results, you may find that hiring a reputable deck builder is a more sensible choice.