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Decks are a great addition to any home. They expand the living and entertaining space and increase the property value. While professionally designed custom decks can be expensive, building your own deck without understanding all the ins and outs of the project may end up costing you more in the long run. Continue reading for some friendly advice that could save you time and money on your DIY decking project.

Bryan McKenzie

Bryan McKenzie

    Bryan McKenzie, Landscape Designer & Blogger at                               Bumpercroptimes.com.

Some Tips I Wish I Knew Before Starting

1. Go to the store and see what the colors and textures of deck materials actually look like. Take off your shoes to walk over the display item if it’s available.

2. Use visualizers to match parts. Ordering different parts of the same color can be a disaster. Using apps to match colors is a must if you want to avoid mistakes. If you feel more comfortable with paper, try to cut out all the swatches and combine them on a piece of white paper to see if they all match.

3. Look for capped or shelled decking. This newer technology involves the use of tougher polymers that improve the wear-off resistance of decking. I also recommend paying a bit more to get thicker pieces.

4. Cut installation time with structural screws. When hanging ledger boards and dealing with thick framing, use these screws to avoid making pilot holes.

5. Use engineered lumber for drop beams. This may not seem the most cost-effective option, but such drop beams will reduce the number of supporting footings and posts for your deck.

Choose the proper size

Before building a deck onto your home, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re choosing the proper size and not just by measuring it out. Seeing where a tape measure is on the ground is a lot different from the real thing.

Get some outdoor chairs or other large items, and place them in your yard along the dimensions of where you plan to build your deck. This [staging] lets you get a better idea of how the size will look in your yard and if it leaves enough room for yard mowing and other activities.

As you build your deck, you also need to keep in mind how much weight it will need to support in case you need to build in extra supports. Do you plan on having cookouts with friends and family on the deck? If yes, the structure will need to support more weight than if it was just your family of four using it regularly. Keep in mind that 60 pounds per square foot is how must most decks support, and that includes the weight of the actual deck.

John Medina

John Medina

John Medina, Founder of John Medina Buys Houses.

Abby Hao

Abby Hao

Abby Hao, Head of Marketing of Wellpcb PTY LTD.

Doing Your First DIY Deck

Get a permit for it
Projects [done now] can later destroy the deal when selling a home. Ensure you are conversant with the local building regulations concerning the deck size and height. This way, you’ll have a deck that’s both safe, strong, and adds value to your home.

Maintenance cost
Building a deck is not a one-off expense. Routine maintenance is necessary. You should have a plan. Knowing the maintenance cost of a given deck design will allow you to project the running costs accurately.

The purpose of the deck
People build decks for various reasons. If, for example, you want to enjoy the sunset views from the deck, it’s only reasonable to have the deck facing the sunset direction, which affects the overall design.

Here’s the six tips to build your DIY deck

After getting quotes of upwards of $60,000 -$80,000 for rebuilding our 750 square foot deck we decided to build it ourselves, and it saved us nearly $70,000 and passed all inspections the first time.

1. Hire an engineer to draw your plans – It will likely cost you $500-$800, but it is so worth it.

2. Find a commercial wholesale deck supplier or lumberyard that will work with you.

3. When you are storing lumber, make sure to bind it with ratchet ties to prevent warping.

4. If you have really deep piers, hire a concrete company to pump the concrete in, and save yourself hours of labor.

5. Invest in a great nail gun!

6. Take your time!

Tiffany Colvert

Tiffany Colvert

      Tiffany Colvert – Homeowner and Deck DIYer at                                   Colvert Commercial, LLC.

Brandon Wachs

Brandon Wachs

Brandon Wachs​, Eyewear Specialist at Shark Eyes, where he works on design, e-commerce, sales, and marketing.

Choose the Right Decking

My words of wisdom for those attempting DIY deck building for the first time is not to rush. Make sure you choose the right decking for your environment. [Do] not be guided solely by the price tag. There are many types and grades to choose from, and selecting the right one will save you money and time in the long run. If your choice is not fitting for your purpose or the local environment, you may end up having to replace the whole deck. If in doubt, listen to the experts.

Start a project that you know you can finish

My biggest piece of advice for people who are tackling DIY deck building for the first time would be to only start a project that you know you can finish. You do not want to begin a DIY deck and realize you decided to go too big or make it too elaborate halfway through the build.

Instead, make sure you decide on a project that is within your capabilities and is something you know you can complete without much issue. Doing something with multiple levels, elaborate design, or intricate sections as a beginner builder is a recipe for disaster and will not go well. In the end, it could end up costing you more than you can afford.

Build something within your capability, and if you are afraid of running into an issue, I’d recommend seeking professional help early on who can guide you through the process.

Nora Mitchell

Nora Mitchell, Editor-in-chief of Household Advice.

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