Building a deck is a project that many people take on to improve their family’s quality of life. In some circles, adding a deck to your living space is considered a great tradition of sorts. But before you rush off to the nearest hardware store to stock up on lumber, there are a number of important factors to first consider. Below are a few of the most important things to take into account before designing and building your new home deck.

1. What Will You Use it For?

One of the most important things to consider before building a deck is what you will use it for. Your deck’s intended use will greatly influence its overall design. Decks for family meals will require enough space for a table and chairs, decks for grilling will need room for a prep station, serving area, and a grill, and a deck for lounging should incorporate both sun and shade. If you want to hang out around your deck at night, you might even consider adding a fire pit (if local building codes allow it).

2. Do You Want a Professional Design?

Having a professional design your deck is a surefire way to make sure it lives up to expectations. It can also give it extra “wow” factor. Having a professional design your deck for you doesn’t mean they have to build it for you. You can simply pay for the design and instructions and build it yourself. Or you can have an experienced contractor build it for you from scratch to make your life a whole lot easier.

3. Should You Use Footings?

Many local codes require that decks be built with footings. Even if yours doesn’t, it is wise to incorporate them into your deck’s design. 48-inch deep concrete footings are the best as they extend far below the frost line. Using a builder’s tube further keeps frost from being able to heave the footing.

4. Where Are You Building Your Deck?

The location of your deck is of utmost importance. Most people prefer to have an attached deck, one that they can step out to from their house, instead of a floating deck. Property size is also a huge factor in both the location and the size of your deck. In addition to property size, consider sun and shade, wind, rain, the view, privacy, and proximity to your house while planning the location of your deck.

5. What is Your Budget?

Building your own deck can be an extremely expensive undertaking. Yet it can also be a budget friendly project. The key is setting your budget beforehand. Be sure to include size of your deck, intricacy of design, and the cost of lumber and hardware. If you are going to have a contractor build your deck for you, be sure to factor that into the equation as well.

Getting Started

The factors above are all things that everyone should take into consideration before starting to build their own deck. Each of them will greatly influence the end project. Like most other building projects, rushing into building a deck is not the way to go. Take the time, do your research, and make sure that you have a solid plan before making the first cut or pounding in the first nail.