Whether you’re looking to seek the services of a deck builder or want to renovate your deck, there are mistakes that you should avoid. This blog will go over the mistakes to avoid, how they affect your deck, and what you should do instead.

The 7 common mistakes related to deck building


How to build a deck

Building a deck can be a challenging and time-consuming project that includes the following steps:

1- Planning: Determine the size and design of the deck, while taking into consideration the size of your backyard, the layout of your house, and any local building codes.

2- Preparing the site: Clear the area where the deck will be built and level the ground as needed.

3- Building the foundation: Decide on the type of foundation to use. It could be concrete footings or pier blocks.

4- Framing: Install the deck framing: the ledger board that attaches the deck to the house, the joists that provide support for the decking, and the beams that provide additional support for the joists.

5- Decking: Install the decking boards, which will form the surface of the deck.

6- Railings: Install railings around the perimeter of the deck for safety.

7- Finishing: Apply a finish to the deck. Use stain or sealant to protect the wood from the elements.


How much does it cost to build a deck?

The labor cost to build a deck per square foot in California depends on several factors: the region in California, the size and complexity of the deck, and the materials used. Generally speaking, the cost ranges between $40 and $100 per square foot, but the cost can vary widely depending on the specific project. Looking for local deck builders and getting an estimate helps you choose your contractor.

Common mistakes for a deck builder to avoid

1-Ignoring the under-structure

When dealing with an old backyard deck, don’t focus on the surface. Only thinking about the planking without evaluating the state of the deck’s structure is a big mistake. If your deck is 5 years old or more, thoroughly check the understructure and examine the support beams for rot, red rust residue, or other signs of corrosion around the deck connectors and fasteners.

2-Not being up to code

Just like building codes, safety codes related to decking are updated regularly. If your deck is 20 years or older, it might not be up to security standards. Currently, the residential building code mandates that deck supports must be spaced 16 inches in the center, while the code before stated that they must be 24 inches apart. When updating your deck, inspect how far the supports are spaced and whether or not your surface boards are installed on a diagonal.

3-Miscalculating the time required

When renovating or fixing a deck, it’s wise to take your time to carefully examine the deck, detect the issues, get all the materials you need, and then start the repairs. Plan and give yourself a timeline that includes every step, keeping in mind that unforeseen hiccups might happen.

4-Attaching the ledger board incorrectly

The ledger is an important piece made of pressure-treated lumber that attaches non-freestanding decks to a structure. The ledger creates the frame’s stiffness, supports the joists, and provides strength to the deck. A professional deck builder follows the rules of the building code that involve installing the ledger; it needs to be connected to the studs of the main structure, not to the materials such as brick or stucco.

Properly installing the ledger is the hardest part of building a deck, as it requires special hardware for the area because it holds moisture, which causes rot, messes up the entire structure, and can make the deck get detached and collapse.

5-Using the wrong hardware

A common mistake people make is thinking that hardware is all the same. Indoor hardware cannot endure environmental issues. When building a deck, make sure that the fasteners are designed for outdoor use with pressure-treated lumber.

6-Not knowing your wood

Some woods, like cedar or redwood, last longer and work better under natural conditions like moisture, cold, and heat. If you want to use Douglas fir, stain and seal it for protection. Otherwise, it won’t handle outdoor use.

7-Thinking you don’t need professional guidance

Unless you’re a certified deck builder with years of experience in designing and constructing decks, you wouldn’t know all the technical challenges of building or renovating a deck. It’s better to refer to professional decking contractors that are experts with all the math, engineering challenges, and matters like ground grading and cantilever designs.

Why is it crucial to avoid these mistakes?

Avoiding these mistakes ensures that:

  •       You build a deck that can support the weight of people and furniture, ultimately keeping everyone safe.
  •       You don’t get fined or have your deck torn down due to not obtaining the needed permits and not being up to code.
  •       You don’t pay extra fees to repair the mistakes or cover more labor days; you save up on maintenance in the long run.
  •       You add value to your property with your well-built and well-maintained deck.

Furthermore, your deck needs to match the style and design of your house and have adequate space for people to move around freely. Contact Casa Utopia for all your garden decking and deck building inquiries.