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5 Tips for Installing a Deck

How to Install a DeckA deck built for a Morningside new home, can be exactly what homeowners need to enjoy more time outside. But the glamour of that image can quickly cloud the reality of the installation. There's more to it than heading to the hardware store for materials. Before even getting started, homeowners need to some serious legwork.

Understand the Restrictions

Some areas of the US allow homeowners free rein of their property, while others will impose permit laws to safeguard against accidents. Local laws may require the homeowner to hire approved workers to complete the installation or schedule periodic inspectors to approve work as it's being completed.

HOA laws are typically more stringent than others, considering the land is a part of a larger property. However, any neighborhood can conceivably enforce strict rules for its residents to follow. It's crucial for homeowners to not make assumptions before they get started.

Document Everything

As homeowners progress with their plans, they need to keep records of the work they do and supplies they buy. The future homeowner will want to know the upgrades the home received over the years and how they were completed. In addition, future homeowners may need to prove that the work was legally performed at the time of the deck installation. Permit laws may change as the years roll by, so this helps everyone stay organized (and save themselves from needless arguments).

Pick a Material

Many homeowners choose treated wood because of its affordability and practicality. It's excellent for fending off moisture, staining, and opportunistic insects. However, experts often recommend composite for decks over treated wood.

Composite decks are more expensive, but they last for several decades or more. Composite means less overall maintenance than treated wood. Because homeowners may become busy over any given season, deck maintenance has a tendency to be pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Composite decks come with solid warranties of 20 years or more, and they require very little maintenance.

Pick a Purpose

There are a few functions a deck can serve:

  • Attached: This is the most common option. It allows people to migrate from indoors to outdoors with just the slide of the door, encouraging a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living.
  • Freestanding: Placing a freestanding deck near a pool, fountain, or pond can highlight the main features of the backyard. In addition, freestanding decks are necessary if the deck can't be attached to a home's primary material. Synthetic stucco, for example, can't sustain the pressure of the deck.
  • DIY: If this is a pet project, ensure that the area is first measured with stakes, so homeowners are comfortable with the amount of free space left in the yard.

Make It Easy

Homeowners should complete the preliminary work before contractors arrive, even if it's not a total DIY project. This reduces the number of hours a professional crew will need to be at the house. A crew will also need to understand where the deck needs to stand, so homeowners can make the dimensions with either flags or spray paint. Finally, the crew will also need to know the type of soil underfoot before deciding on how deep to dig the posts.

Whether it's required or not, homeowners should have their home inspected by a professional at the end of the project. A shoddy deck can not only cause major damage to the property, it can also endanger the safety of the residents of the home.


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