Building an Outdoor Deck? Avoid These Common Mistakes

IMG_2788When 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.

Client Testimonials

J.Widener from Newton, NJ

“Outstanding team. Very impressed with the whole process and the most with my new beautiful deck!”

S.Long from Franklin Township, NJ

“The deck looks FANTASTIC. I still can’t believe that Deck Guardian was able to resurface my old, ugly deck. Our neighbors have stopped by to comment on how great the deck looks. The attention to detail, work ethic and professionalism set this company apart. I highly recommend Deck Guardian!”

M.Lewis from Fleminton, NJ

“We have received numerous compliments from Neighbor’s and friend’s who think that the finished project looks terrific. Not only do I appreciate the “quality job”, but I really appreciate the professional manner Skip handled all the details!”

L.Cohen from West Orange, NJ

“When I came home yesterday, I could not believe how amazing my newly resurfaced deck looked. Crew did an amazing job. It was also a pleasure to work with your salesperson, very professional and knowledgeable!”

S.Smith from Chester Township, NJ

“I’m completely impressed. I have dealt with my share of contractors as I have been updating my home for several years. Deck Guardian gets the gold medal. Deck Guardian restored my 10 year old deck & fence to a brand new condition. I am amazed!”

P.Tang from Westfield, NJ

“Deck Guardian Team did a good and pleasant job to give us a professional service and a beautiful new deck, without replacing it. We love the color and the way it feels like. Highly recommended!”

Kathryn Barchi from Piscataway, NJ

“My husband and I had recently moved into a new home and quite quickly we learned of so many things that both us and the home inspector missed prior to the purchase; the deck being one huge item. We quite desperately wanted to use our deck and know that it was safe for us, our kids, our pups, and our guests, which in the original state, was definitely not the case. Deck Guardian to the rescue! The Deck Guardian team, from the free estimate to the point of project close, were quite wonderful to work with entirely. They even pointed out additional things we had missed with regards to the safety of our deck. Of course, best of all, the Deck Guardian team was able to work within our budget, while giving us back our deck with a new lease on life. Deck Guardian far exceeded our expectations and for that, my husband and I can not thank them enough!!!”

Jessica Ravitz from Skillman, NJ

“Deck Guardian completed an amazing deck replacement project for us in less than 2 weeks after we signed our contract. Not only did they provide an extremely competitive price, we got a beautiful deck that so greatly exceeded our expectations! Everyone at Deck Guardian is wonderful – from the estimator, the crew and the administrative staff – very friendly, professional, meticulous and hard working. We are so pleased and give the highest recommendation!!! Thank you Deck Guardian!”

Paul Cichello from Bridgewater, NJ

“I contacted Deck Guardian and was given an estimate the very next day. The representative was very knowledgeable and fair. The workers were polite and professional. We are satisfied with our new deck and would recommend Deck Guardian to anyone who wants quality work.”