Avoid These 5 Deck Building Mistakes and Save Thousands of Dollars
Who doesn't love the idea of sipping coffee on a sun-drenched deck or firing up the grill for a summer cookout in your own backyard?
You’re probably imagining a couple of minor errors that make you go “oops” and then you move on, right? Well, not really. Some mistakes can make you hear a cash register continuously ringing in your head, as the costs just keep piling up. Simple missteps can rack up costs quicker than you could burn burgers on a new grill.
So, let’s save you from turning your deck project into a money-draining ordeal. We’ll share some common mess-ups that you can sidestep right from the start.
The Pricey Price Tags of Poor Planning
If you think you can wing it without a solid plan, you’re setting yourself up for a bumpy ride that could cost you a pretty penny.
Imagine this: You’re halfway through your deck build and then it hits you. Your stunning, spacious deck is too large for your backyard. Oops! Your excitement takes a dive as you realize you’ve bitten more than your outdoor space can chew.
And this is just one scenario. Building code violations, underestimating material costs, overlooking weather factors—there are countless other tales of oops moments that lead to a parade of problems, often taking the fun out of the process and turning it into an expensive lesson.
So, let’s dig into the most common pitfalls and explore how you can dodge these costly deck building mistakes from the get-go. These top five boo-boos can ultimately help you keep the project fun, stress-free, and, yeah, much kinder on your wallet.
Mistake 1: Not Having a Budget Plan
Picture this: You’re almost finished with your deck, and then you realize you’ve forgotten about that built-in bench you wanted. Now, you’ve got to backtrack, tearing down and rebuilding parts of your almost-finished deck. Hello, extra labor, and goodbye, budget!
Or worse, you’ve built a deck fit for a garden gnome because you overestimated the materials in your head. You skimped on supplies, only to discover you’re short on decking boards. Now you’re stuck with an unsightly, half-built deck because your local store ran out of the exact match. Who knew improvising a budget plan could be so painful and pricey?
Remember, a well-planned deck design not only saves your hard-earned money and prevents material wastage but also ensures a smooth sail throughout your building journey. This way, you’re already on the fast track to enjoy those sunsets on your dream deck!
Mistake 2: Dismissing Local Building Codes and Regulations
“Building codes? Those are more like guidelines than actual rules, right?” Well, the straight answer? No, not really. Bypassing local building codes and regulations is a bit like speeding through a red light—it’s all smooth sailing until you see those blue and red flashing lights in your rearview mirror.
You might be in the heart of your deck building, high on the thrill of seeing your idea turning into reality. Then, an unannounced visit from a local inspector brings your grand project to a screeching halt. Why? Your dream deck isn’t in line with the local building codes. Cue in potential penalties, forced modifications, or even a complete rebuild. Ouch!
You see, these building codes are not there just to be a mean party pooper. They exist to ensure safety and order. When neglected, they can significantly deflate your deck-building excitement—not to mention, deflate your wallet, too.
Luckily, this is entirely avoidable. The solution is as simple as ABC: Always Be Checking—checking in with your local authorities.
Mistake 3: Selecting the Wrong Materials
Fast forward a year, and your once-dreamy deck now resembles an aging zombie: cracking, fading, and a constant splinter risk—major facepalm!
Selecting the wrong materials for your deck is a common yet brutal mistake. The pitfalls are many: less durability, higher maintenance, weather challenges, and premature aging.
For instance, while hardwood might look grand, it may not work best in a region with substantial rainfall since the moisture can cause the wood to warp and rot.
Every material comes with its pros and cons. That untreated pine might appeal to your wallet now, but factoring in the cost of regular treatments to keep the termites at bay might tell a different story. Likewise, certain composite decking might have higher upfront costs, but the low maintenance might make it favorable in the long run.
So how do you make the right choice? Knowledge is your best buddy!
Living in a rainy region? Water-resistant materials are your friend. And don’t forget your budget—balance between upfront costs, maintenance expenses, and long-term durability.
Choosing the right materials can seem complex, but remember, it’s your key to a sturdy, long-lasting, and easy-on-the-pocket deck. And once you’ve hit the sweet spot, you’ll not just have a deck—you’ll have a deck that thrives!
Mistake 4: Undertaking a DIY Without Experience
But, building a deck isn’t quite like assembling a bookshelf from a box or creating a floral centerpiece. There are aspects of it that stretch beyond the reach of a YouTube tutorial or a DIY guide—where details matter and experience counts.
Deck building can be intricate. Structural integrity, weight distribution, proper fastening techniques, selection and handling of tools, and let’s not forget—those all-important local building codes!
Plunging into a deck-building project without the necessary know-how is like walking a tightrope without a safety net. Sure, you might make it to the end unscathed, but the chances of a misstep and potential tumble are pretty high.
Of course, if DIY isn’t your cup of tea or the complexities appear too daunting, don’t sweat it. That’s exactly when you bring in the cavalry—professional builders. Yes, it comes with a price tag, but think about it: an expertly built, safe, and durable deck will serve you for years, without the constant repairs and headaches that come with DIY gone wrong.
Remember, there’s no shame asking for help. When done properly, your deck will be a place where you lounge and laze, not labor and lament. So, give yourself the best shot to enjoy your deck—not just build it!
Mistake 5: Ignoring the Future Maintenance and Costs
Remember, maintenance and future costs are not a "maybe they will happen."
So, how can you soften the impact of these unforeseen financial outlays? Factor in future maintenance while planning the design, size, and materials. Understand the life cycle costs of your chosen decking material—it isn’t just about the price tag on the day of purchase but the costs for upkeep over the years.
Also, decorate your budget with a bit of cushion—a maintenance fund, if you will. Consider possible future expenses like painting, staining, board replacement, and even potential damages from unforeseen events. A more comprehensive budget helps your financial foresight, so no upkeep cost can catch you off guard.
It Starts With a Solid Plan
The first blunder of many aspiring deck builders shares the title of a popular song, “Jump Right In.” Not having a proper design or plan can lead to errors, wasted resources, and rehearsing the chorus of “Oops, I Did It Again.”
Deck building is a symphony where each note needs to be in harmony—with your home’s structure, local codes, and lifestyle needs. Some keys you might not be familiar with, but hitting every note right is crucial.
Remember, a well-conceived plan isn’t just a road map. It’s your GPS to a successful, hassle-free deck building journey—with fewer detours and more enjoyable pit stops. Whether you’re steering solo or with a skilled co-driver, a sound map keeps your build on track and pitch-perfect.
Ready To Connect With a Trusted Deck Builder?
LET'S GET YOUR DREAM STARTED
Craftsmanship You Can Count on
We live and breathe quality, and ensure every deck we construct is right for the people it’s built for.