So, you have decided to build a deck. While this may be a step in the right direction for increasing the value of your home and creating a unique space for your family to enjoy, it is also a big task to undertake.
When decks are built incorrectly, you run the risk of them collapsing. This can be very dangerous, resulting in injuries and even death. Before you begin constructing your deck, consider the most common mistakes homeowners make with materials, fasteners and fixings, and specific steps that are overlooked, so you can avoid unnecessary mishaps.
Common Deck Building Mistakes
There are several common mistakes individuals make when they begin building their own deck. Here are the top ten.
- Open Risers and No Railings – When you are building a deck, remember any open space will actually invite an accident. Open spaces between stairs can cause individuals to catching their foot as they walk up onto your deck, and missing railing can make it hard for individuals to keep their balance while climbing up stairs. Also, if you do not have railing around your deck, the chance of individuals accidentally falling off the deck greatly increase.
- Unsealed Wood – Sealed wood on your decks is very important. Unsealed wood can show signs of deterioration in as little as one year. Leaving wood unsealed also makes it age faster and ruins the beautiful look of your wood. This important step in building your deck can help your deck’s wood last for a long time.
- Improper Baluster Spacing and Railing Height –When you build a deck, you must adhere to the building codes in your area. These building codes are set in place to help you avoid injuries. Two of the most important codes you must adhere to are the specific measurements for baluster spacing and railing height. Baluster spacing is critical, because a child’s head can become stuck in-between the balusters if they are not spaced correctly. Railing height is also important because individuals can easily fall over railings that are too short.
- Improper Joist Hangers – While you will be using many different fasteners and fixings when putting together your deck, one type of fastener alone will not be enough to reinforce and support your deck. To support the weight of your deck and reinforce the connections used to create your deck, you must use properly engineered, installed, and sized joist hangers.
- Improper Materials – The materials you use for the structure of your deck are important. Your fasteners and fixings, along with the wood you will be using, should all be weather resistant.
- Improper Structural Members – If you do not use the correct size wood for your deck, you run the risk of it collapsing, sagging, and warping.
- Improper Footings – The footings, or baseboards, of your deck create a solid base on which the top wood of your deck lies. Without the proper footing size, your deck will begin to sag, warp, or may even collapse.
- Wrong Fasteners and Fixings – When you attach the deck to your home, the correct fasteners and fixings are very important. These fasteners determine the durability and safety of your deck. To ensure the complete safety of your deck, you may want to go above and beyond the minimum building code requirements in your area.
- Wrong Flashing – Water management is a critical part of maintaining a long-lasting and secure deck. Flashing prevents erosion and keeps water from soaking into your home.
- Forgetting Your Building Permit – Ensuring that your deck is secure begins with obtaining a building permit. This process requires you to submit drawings and specifications of your deck to your Local Authority. From here, building inspectors will ensure that your plans meet the safety codes and building requirements for your area.
For many homeowners, forgetting or overlooking these important steps, materials, and fasteners and fixings can be disastrous. Make sure your deck is built correctly by avoiding these common mistakes. In the long run, you’ll be glad you took the time to make the extra effort.