Imagine finally building your dream deck with different compartments, multi-level design, cohesive indoor-outdoor design, spacious with well-arranged furniture, only to have it all crumble within a few months.

The dangers and discomfort a crumbing deck can cause are quite much. It can expose you or your family to injuries, it can disrupt your budget (cause you will need to effect repairs immediately), and it can also waste your time and energy.

When a deck is constructed poorly, it wears too quickly and loses its functionality and its visual appeal. What could be the cause of these problems and is there any means to avoid it?

In this article, we will be discussing common mistakes that people make when constructing and installing a deck, which when avoided can make the deck last longer than it normally would.

5 Common Mistakes Made While Installing a Deck and How to Avoid Them

  1. Ignoring Local Building Codes and Permits
  2. Choosing the Wrong Material
  3. Improper Foundation and Drainage
  4. Overlooking Design and Functionality
  5. Skimping on Quality Construction

1. Ignoring Local Building Codes and Permits

The building codes, regulations and permits in your city were put there for a reason. You can’t just ignore them and go ahead with an unapproved project, as you will not only risk encountering a safety hazard, but you may also face penalties from the city.

You need to seek and obtain the right codes and permits to avoid financial consequences, legal repercussions, and even operational restrictions.

The government laid down those regulations to protect both those constructing the deck and the people that they are constructing it (i.e. those that will benefit from the project).

The process of obtaining a permit, the type of project that requires a permit, and the type of permit that needs to be obtained differs from region to region.

This means that you need to find out if a permit is needed to construct and install a deck in your location, the type of permit you need to obtain and how you need to obtain it.

If you don’t need a permit to construct a deck in your location, then don’t bother about it. However, where a deck is needed, you will need to prepare and submit your application to the right authority, then await their decision concerning your application.

They will either approve your project, completely deny it or ask you to make some adjustments for safety reasons and structural integrity.

2. Choosing the Wrong Material

One thing you must know about selecting the right material for your deck is that the right material depends on certain important factors.

For instance, a person who lives in a region where there’s a lot of sunshine will not use the same deck as a person who lives in an area with excessive rainfall.

Consequently, a person who hosts guests a lot in his/her outdoor living space will not use the same deck as a person who merely stays outdoors.

What this simply means is that what may be the right material for someone else, may be the wrong material for you. Another thing is to know the strengths and weaknesses of different deck materials to determine which material best suits your purpose.

Furthermore, you need to consider your budget. Don’t only focus on the initial cost of installing the deck, you need to consider the maintenance cost for the type of deck material you wish to use.

If you choose a material you cannot afford to maintain or that doesn’t suit your needs, the deck will lose its value quickly, making the aim of long-term investment fruitless.

For a low-maintenance option, choose a composite decking board. It is moisture-resistant and cheaper to maintain in the long run. Other options for homeowners include pressure-treated decking, vinyl decking and aluminium decking.

3. Improper Foundation and Drainage

During the installation of your deck, the manner you dig your foundation is of utmost importance. You have to secure the foundation properly to ensure that the deck is stable and level.

When the foundation of your deck is secured, it ensures that the weight of the people passing through it and that of the furniture that will be placed on it is supported.

It also helps to prevent water damage, accidents or injuries. If you live in a region that has much rainfall, you may need to seal your deck so that the rainwater does not stay stagnant on the deck.

The purpose of the sealant is to ensure that water rolls to the ground and does not seep into the wood, thereby making it wet and susceptible to rotting or warping.

If you make the mistake of not building your deck with a firm foundation, you could expose yourself to serious safety risks and you deck could tilt, sag or even collapse.

4. Overlooking Design and Functionality

Another mistake that most people make in decking, is to select a deck design that does not suit their intended use. For instance, you must consider certain factors such as your deck size, features and layout based on what you want to use it and do.

For instance, if you intend to be entertaining guests a lot, you may need to choose a large deck size with multi-levels, and different compartments for kitchen, dining, fire pit, barbecue grill, etc.

There are also some helpful design elements that most homeowners overlook when installing their decks. Good examples include shade options (like pergolas or awnings), built-in seating, railing, etc.

5. Skimping on Quality Construction

It is said that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, which means that you may have succeeded in avoiding other mistakes mentioned in this article, but when it is time to install the deck, you compromise.

For instance, a first-timer may insist on installing the deck himself even when he knows that he doesn’t know what he is doing. In a bid, to save the money you would have paid a proper professional, you end up doing a bad job that will probably cost you twice in the future.

If you are aiming for longevity when constructing your deck, you must ensure you hire a qualified contractor, who you are sure is an expert in deck building.

A professional definitely knows the right technique to use to achieve longevity while avoiding unnecessary mistakes.

Want to Know More?

To add to the wealth of information discussed in this article, homeowners may want to consider maintenance routines, affordable upgrades and seasonal considerations for their decks.

Maintenance routines cover the type of cleaning schedule to use for your deck and the type of cleaning agents to use when cleaning your deck. It discusses the regularity your deck needs to maintain cleanliness while still preventing wear and tear.

Also, there are affordable upgrades that you can use on your deck to ensure its durability and longevity. Also, you can consider preparing your deck for the different seasons that you experience in your region.

To End With,

It is useless to insist on going down the wrong path when these mistakes are completely avoidable. There’s no excuse that can justify making a costly mistake that can tamper with your long-term plan for your decking board.

Reading this article and implementing the advice here is the due diligence you need to pay to ensure that your deck lasts as long as possible.

If there are other noticeable mistakes that you are aware of but are not contained in this article, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.