5 Most Common Decking Mistakes Homeowners Make


For homeowners, a deck is a great way to extend living space and create an outdoor oasis. It offers a place to entertain, relax and enjoy the outdoors. It is also a great way to increase the value of your property. However, if done incorrectly, the deck could cost you more money than it should. A simple mistake could result in a deck that is not up to code, requires extensive repairs, or, even worse, becomes a safety hazard. Here are the top mistakes homeowners make when installing a deck:

1. Skimping On Materials

Porch with decking and white table and chairs
Image Source: Pixabay

Skimming the quality of lumber, fasteners, or hardware can lead to structural problems. It is vital to research the materials you are using and ensure they meet local building codes and the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you do not know about building a deck, hiring a professional who knows what you should use materials and hardware for the job is best. They will also be able to spot any potential problems before they become significant issues. Decorating and landscaping is also an important part of any dream deck. Choosing low-quality materials for this part of the project can lead to fading, cracking, or warping in a short amount of time.

2. Not Accounting for Expansion and Contraction

Wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors. If your deck is not built with this in mind, it can cause the boards to warp or buckle over time. To prevent this from happening, it is important to include proper expansion and contraction joints in the design. You should also use materials more resistant to weathering, such as composite decking, which will not be affected by environmental changes.

3. Not Sealing the Deck Regularly

House with porch and outdoor funiture
Used with permission of Alice Lane

Water damage is one of the biggest threats to a deck’s longevity. Without proper protection, water can seep into the wood and cause it to rot or warp. To prevent this from happening, you should seal your deck regularly with a high-quality stain or sealant. For decks made of composite materials, you will need to use a special cleaner designed specifically for these materials. Sealants also help protect your deck from UV rays, which can cause the wood to fade and splinter over time. Deck tiles are also a great way to add an extra layer of protection against water damage.

4. Not Considering Foot Traffic

Depending on where you live, your deck may experience heavy foot traffic. It is crucial to ensure the materials you use are durable enough to withstand this kind of wear and tear. You should also consider installing railings and steps to make your deck more accessible and reduce the chance of slips or falls. Your deck installer should be able to advise you on the best materials for your specific needs. Support posts should also be checked regularly for deterioration, as this could lead to the collapse of your deck.

5. Forgetting About Permits and Inspections

Exterior of a home, entrance door and porch
Used with permission of Ricco Style

Many local municipalities require permits and inspections before constructing a new deck. Failure to obtain these can result in hefty fines or even having to tear down the entire structure. Before starting any work on your deck, check with your local building department and find out what is required. Hiring a professional can be a great way to ensure everything is done correctly if you’re unsure how to complete this part of the process.

It is essential to understand the potential mistakes that can be made when installing a deck to avoid them. If you have no prior knowledge about deck building, it is best to hire a professional to help ensure the job is done correctly. Above all, ensure you obtain the necessary permits and inspections before beginning construction.

Thanks to atlanticoutdoors.net for consulting.


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