4 Things to Think about When Building Your Deck

My Home Handyman deck with pergola

Written by My Home Handyman

March 30, 2021

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It’s exciting to think about building a new deck onto the back of your home. Whether you are starting from scratch or tearing down the old rotten deck, it is essential to think the entire process through.  There is much more to building one than just swinging a hammer. You want to make sure that you will get the deck you want and that it will last a lifetime.

We have come up with four steps that you should consider when planning your new deck construction.

Design and planning

Before jumping the gun and starting the construction of your deck, you should spend a good amount of time on the designing stage.  Once the deck is completed, you don’t want to have any regrets about your decisions.  It would help if you started by asking yourself this question: What is the primary purpose of this deck?  If your answer is “it’s a necessity because of the 5 ft drop to the ground,” you may want to design a small landing with enough space, possibly for a barbecue.  If your answer is,” I want it to have some patio furniture for my family of 5 and a few friends,” you will probably want to plan a smaller rectangle or square deck.

Finally, if your answer is “I want a custom deck for entertaining large amounts of people,” you are going to want to have some detailed planning. These decks can have larger budgets, so you want to ensure no detail is missed. If you’re going with a project this large, you may even want to have a professional designer come in and work out all the details for you. They have a ton of experience with this and will come up with some ideas you would have never thought of so that you get the most out of your investment.

When planning your deck, it is essential to figure out the budget that you’re comfortable spending. Many people don’t realize that upgrading from a pressure-treated deck to a composite deck is almost double the price.  Ensure you know all costs and have carefully calculated what your deck will cost before proceeding to the construction stage. The last thing you want is to go over what you are comfortable spending because an item was missed.


Many people think that you can simply build a deck onto your house. Usually, that’s not the case and depending on some requirements, you will most likely need a city permit.

If the deck is more than two feet off the ground, it will require a city permit. If it is under two feet in height, you can build without the permit. Even though permits cost money, the benefit is that you have a qualified city inspector viewing the deck during the installation process.  This will give you peace of mind that the deck’s construction has been built to proper standards.
If you decide to install a gas line for a bbq or a fire pit on the deck, make sure you hire a certified gas-fitter for the work. He will pull all permits needed for the job.

Picking the suitable decking material

With all the different decking materials to choose from, it can be overwhelming at times.  If you are looking at keeping to a tighter budget, we suggest going with pressure-treated wood. Now that it comes in a brown dye, it almost looks like an expensive cedar deck at a fraction of the price.

That being said, if you are after the real thing, cedar is a beautiful wood to build with. Although it looks similar to brown pressure treated, it has a more defined grain running through it and has a smoother finish. It also gives off a fantastic aroma when wet.

If natural wood isn’t your thing, then you should consider a composite material. They come in many textures and colours and are very low maintenance. However, you have to be careful because the cost of composite decks can add up quickly.

Make sure to educate yourself on what material is best for you, your family and your lifestyle. You won’t regret spending the extra time on making the right decision.

Use the proper products and procedures

When you build a deck, you want it to last. Like a tree growing strong roots, your deck also starts from the ground.  Ensure you use the proper footings when building your deck; this will ensure no sinking down the road. We like to recommend using screw piles,  as they go eight feet in the ground and will never move. When framing your deck, ensure to go with a minimum of 2x10s for the joists. Remember to put joist hangers where all the joists line up with the rim joist.  

When picking out your decking, make sure to use a reputable supplier.  If you decide to go with a composite material, check online reviews of the product.  Not all products are of the same quality, and you want the best one possible for your deck.  

Building your deck can be exciting and at the same time, overwhelming if you have never attempted a project this large before.  These steps are good guidelines to follow.  However, if it feels like too big of a project to take on, don’t worry, My Home Handyman is here to help.  We have 15 years of experience building decks and can help you with your project from start to finish.  So call today, and let’s get started on your dream deck project. 

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