When it comes to building a new outdoor deck, the majority of property owners are happy with the results. It’s true that no two projects are exactly alike, and there may be a few minor issues—but these are usually resolved without much trouble. As long as you work with an upstanding and reputable deck builder, the chances of being satisfied with your outdoor deck project are excellent.
Even so, there are many cases in which adding an outdoor deck is anything but easy and straightforward. It may be a question of inadequate preparation, poor design work, or a contractor who cuts corners and uses inferior materials.
It’s definitely possible to make sure you don’t end up in this category—but it does require a little know-how and research. When it comes to deck building, one of the most effective ways to ensure success is getting familiar with the most common problems and mistakes. That way, you’ll know what to avoid as you make preparations for your new deck.
1. Code violations
No matter how simple or straightforward your deck addition project might seem, you need to know what kind of permission is necessary before you hammer a single nail. Each State and local area has its own set of building codes, and the contractor you hire should be well-versed in following the rules. What happens if code violations are discovered by officials after your project is well-underway—or even after it’s finished? You may need to alter your plans immediately, undo work that’s been done, or even start over completely. Building code violations are some of the most expensive mistakes you and your contractor can make. That’s why it’s important to find a contractor who takes the proper steps to keep everything legal.
2. Choosing a disreputable contractor
If there’s one thing you want to get right, it’s choosing a contractor to work on your project. When you make a good choice, you’ll have someone who understands not only the technical aspects of completing your project, but also the legal and administrative matters involved. You’ll also get a straightforward pricing structure with no confusing loopholes.
Choosing a disreputable contractor opens the door to a huge number of problems. Your project might end up being carried out illegally, your deck might be poorly constructed with sub-standard materials, and you might end up in legal/contractual disputes as the contractor seeks to get more money than was previously agreed.
Both types of contractors exist—that’s why doing your homework is so important.
2. Improper use of composite
In the past, there were only natural wood decks. Today, composite decks are becoming hugely popular. They last longer, stand up to the elements, and require almost no maintenance.
They also come with special installation requirements which, if not properly understood, can lead to an unsafe deck. Many homeowners run into problems with improper use of composite materials, whether it’s because they’re doing the project themselves or working with a contractor who doesn’t know their stuff.
Avoid common pitfalls!
When you look at the most common deck building mistakes, it’s obvious that most of them arise from problems during the planning, design, and hiring stages. The more homework you do up front—both in terms of the deck you want and the best outdoor deck builder for the job—the better off you’ll be.
We hope this information helps in your outdoor deck research! Please feel free to leave comments or questions.