A deck can be a fantastic place for the family to gather. It can also become a money pit that requires frequent attention and maintenance when you make some of these common mistakes.
Some communities do not allow you to construct a deck that’s connected to your property without a building permit. You may need to speak with a contractor about doing the work for you.
Worst Mistakes to Make When Building a Deck
- Don’t use unsealed wood for your deck.
Wood that is unsealed gets weathered quickly and deteriorates rapidly. You should always use pressure-treated lumber for your deck’s foundation and specialized boards to complete the usable surface.
- Open risers are present with your stairs.
Having an open space between each step is quite dangerous. A gap in your deck stairs can cause your feet to get caught, resulting in a potentially painful injury. This look also tends to make the work look unfinished. Then remember to add railings if your deck is of a specific height.
- Your structural members are undersized.
When the structural supports for your deck are undersized, then it will be more prone to sagging issues. That’s because you don’t have the weight distributed correctly for the addition. This mistake almost always causes severe warping and eventual collapse.
- Joist hangers are missing from the deck.
Nails are not strong enough to hold up the structural members of a deck. Some DIY builders miss the need for a joist hanger during construction, and that places the entire structure at risk of a collapse. Even using the incorrect ones can create problems that would make you start over if this mistake happens.
- You missed the flashing requirement.
Decks must address water management needs because of the way it connects to the structure of a building. Flashing is a barrier that prevents moisture from entering a house while reducing the risk of erosion to the deck materials. It must get installed before you place the first board, and it cannot go on top of your siding to be effective.
If you fail to install flashing before creating your deck, then the entire structure of it will be at risk. You’ll also jeopardize the integrity of your home’s foundation, and it may not even pass inspection the next time it is necessary.
- The ground wasn’t checked for cables or pipes.
You need to call someone out to your property before building a deck to determine where your pipes and underground lines run. Although you can theoretically create this structure without digging into the ground, you generally need pillars and posts with concrete footings to ensure the structure’s stability. Failing to have this inspection done may invalidate the improvement to your property.
When you apply for a deck building permit, then you can avoid many of these common mistakes. Most applications require you to submit a drawing and the specifications of your proposed project before you’ll be given permission to proceed.