Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Deck

Building a deck can be an exciting and rewarding project, but it’s important to avoid some common mistakes that can compromise the safety, durability, and aesthetic appeal of your deck. Whether you’re building it yourself, or hiring a contractor to do the work, keep in mind some of these avoidable mistakes. 

Improper or inadequate foundation

A deck needs a solid foundation to support its weight and prevent it from sinking or shifting over time. Be sure that you use the appropriate size and depth for the footings and posts, and follow local building codes and regulations. If using a contractor, ensure that they are reputable and knowledgeable on all standards and codes before hiring.

Poor planning and design

A poorly planned or designed deck can detract from your home’s value and curb appeal. Consider factors such as size, shape, location, traffic flow, and access when designing your deck, and don’t forget about features such as stairs, railings, and lighting. A good contractor will work with you to create a detailed plan and design for your new space, so don’t be afraid to ask about their planning and design process. 

Improper attachment to the house

The ledger board that attaches the deck to the house must be securely fastened to the house’s structure using appropriate hardware. Improper attachment can lead to structural failure, and is a common cause of deck collapses. This is why it is imperative to do extensive research, or hire a contractor who has experience in creating stable and beautiful projects. 

Using subpar materials

A deck is an investment in your home, and it’s important to use high-quality materials that can withstand the elements and the wear and tear of regular use. Don’t cut corners on materials such as lumber, hardware, and fasteners. When it comes to your choice between wood and composite decking, we recommend composite for its durability, ease of maintenance, and aesthetic. To compare wood and composite decking, check out our blog, Wood vs Composite Decking – Which is Best for You?

Inadequate spacing between boards

Proper spacing between deck boards allows for ventilation and drainage, and helps prevent warping, buckling, and rot. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for spacing, and use appropriate tools such as spacers, or hire a credible contractor. 

Neglecting to seal and maintain the deck

A wooden deck exposed to the elements needs regular maintenance to stay in good condition. Neglecting to clean, seal, and stain the deck can lead to deterioration, discoloration, and even structural damage over time. If using composite decking, an annual wash with soap and water, or pressure washer, should do the trick and keep that deck looking brand new. 

By avoiding these common mistakes and following best practices for building and maintaining your deck, you can ensure a safe, durable, and beautiful outdoor living space for years to come.