6 Common Mistakes When Building a Deck
Most people who try to build their deck without professional supervision run into the same problems. They may try to cut costs by using cheap material, or they might not make proper flooring measurements. These mistakes cause safety hazards and cost more money in the long run.
Don’t fall into these common pitfalls. Instead, educate yourself so you can build a retreat for your family that will last throughout your lives.
Use these tips to avoid the worst mistakes when building your deck.
1. Buying Cheap Materials
If you try to save money by buying cheap materials for your deck, you may regret it later. Often the materials determine the safety and lifespan of your deck. Invest in quality fasteners and boards to avoid corrosion, rickety decks, and discoloration. Use coated or stainless-steel screws made for pressure-treated decks and avoid electroplated galvanized fasteners.
You should also look into various decking choices. Consider pressure-treated cedar or eucalyptus marginata (known asjarrah).
The materials you use will affect your deck appearance and lifespan. So, don’t be afraid to spend a little money getting materials that will last. In the end, you will save money from fewer maintenance and repair costs.
2. Exposing Supports
Many builders take the easy route and expose screws and joints. If you hide supports, your deck will look more professionally done and will provide a safer environment for guests. Talk with local hardware stores for hidden support options.
3. Limiting Your Deck to One Level
Before you decide how large you want your deck, consider making it a little larger. You may think you’ll only use your deck for small gatherings, but you never know. Additionally, consider how much room you will have after you add deck furniture. Consider incorporating different levels into your deck design. This will add depth and even style to your deck. Rather than a long flight of stairs, make your deck more interesting and comfortable by adding levels.
4. Leaving the Deck Unprotected
The sun can cause extreme wear and tear to your porch. To prevent damage, include coverage for your deck during the building process. You can use anything from a roof extension to a large umbrella. These coverage options provide shade and give a place for you to beat the heat and still enjoy the great outdoors.
5. Laying Crooked Deck Boards
Although crooked boards won’t cause injuries, you should avoid them because of the unprofessional look. The simplest way to lay boards straight is by creating a grid with a tool called a chalk line. This tool allows you to create a straight line as a guide on where you should lay boards. Once you have your grid outlined, nail down each board along the lines. Finish by filling in the gaps with other boards.
6. Leaving Unsealed Wood
After all the hard work building your deck, you don’t want the wood to start deteriorating in the next few years. Hire a professional company to seal your deck. Most decks receive a significant amount of traffic and UV exposure. Applying a deck coating will prevent leaks, substrate damage, and plywood damage. It will also prevent premature aging and deterioration. This keeps your deck looking newer and prevents the “worn” look.
Once you finish building your deck, decorate with small accessories. You may want to include lighting, planters, a built-in-bench, or outdoor furniture. Make the area an outdoor retreat that will attract family and friends.
Refer to this list as you build your deck and avoid these common building mistakes. And don’t do it alone; talk to decking professionals for advice on how to build a deck that will last for years.