Do I Need a Permit to Build a New Deck?

img_2886Homeowners often dream about building a new outdoor deck, but don’t really do anything about it for years. This may be due to budgeting constraints, other home improvement projects that need to be taken care of first, or any number of reasons. The list of things to do is always growing for homeowners, and that outdoor deck project can take time to work its way to the top of the list.

But the day often arrives when it really is time to make a move and build that outdoor deck. Plans are made, designs are drawn up, and the work begins. Here’s where some people end up putting the cart before the horse.

In other words, they start building before they know for sure if what they’re doing is legal.

This happens most often with DIY outdoor deck projects using pre-made kits or instructions from the internet. Even a skilled DIY builder with considerable experience and know-how can forget this important step.

It can also happen when you partner with a less-than-reputable deck builder who offers “professional services,” yet fails to perform the very basic task of securing legal permission for the work at hand.

The consequences of failing to secure a permit

Anybody who has been through this knows what a nightmare it can be. If you’re lucky, officials notice the project and stop it before it progresses to far. You might have to make some adjustments or start over completely, but your losses will be relatively light if little work has been done.

More often, however, a deck is nearly completed, or totally completed, before somebody points out that a) it doesn’t meet building code, or b) has been constructed without the necessary deck permit. This is when losses can be much more significant. You might get away with a few small adjustments, a fine, and a slap on the wrist. Or you might be required to tear the whole thing down and start over. It depends on where you live and what kind of building codes/permits you’re dealing with.

Is a permit necessary?

By checking around with builders and other homeowners in your area, or by going directly to city officials, you can certainly find out what kind of permission is necessary to start your project, and to what standards your design must conform. If you’re hiring someone to build the deck for you, it should be a consummate professional with a detailed knowledge of the building codes and permit requirements in your area. Such a contractor will be able to tell you straight up what kind of permission you need.

How to be sure

Hiring a reputable outdoor deck builder is always the easiest way to make sure the proper permission is secured. The best builders will not only secure all the necessary paperwork on your behalf, they’ll have strong guarantee clauses in the contract you sign, protecting you from extra costs that arise from mistakes on the part of the contractor, and assuring you that all necessary permission has been obtained prior to the start of the project.

And there’s an important added benefit of working with a contractor like this: Your new outdoor deck will be finished to the highest professional standard.

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.”