Common DIY Mistakes That Professional Deck Builders Will Never Make

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Some homeowners prefer to do construction and renovation work with their hands instead of hiring qualified deck builders. The DIY approach has at least three advantages. First, you don’t need to pay for the services of third parties. Second, you’ll avoid potential miscommunication issues. Sometimes, clients fail to explain comprehensively what they want and get an unexpected result… Third, working physically and creating something cozy and beautiful is a pleasure.

However, DIY works have drawbacks too. Are you sure you have all the necessary skills, tools, and knowledge? Otherwise, you might waste and damage costly materials. In the worst case, you may hurt yourself. Besides, many homeowners underestimate the time and effort that the work requires. They lose inspiration halfway and realize they can’t exactly make their dreams come true. They hire professionals to finalize the process. The contractors often charge extra for such a task.

DIY works have drawbacks

In this article, we’ll list the most common mistakes homeowners make when renovating or building a deck without professional assistance. After reading the text, you should realize the importance of hiring qualified deck builders.

Select Inappropriate Materials When Avoiding Deck Builders

To make a durable and beautiful deck, you should buy several types of materials. It’s vital to purchase the strongest wood for the supporting elements.

If your budget permits, you can use exotic hardwoods for the flooring. Alternatively, consider pressure-treated lumber — it’s the most affordable option. Composites are famous for their low maintenance.

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Non-professionals don’t know how to make the most of each material type. They end up spending too much money. Their decks need repairs too early.

Violate the Building Code

There is a building code for decks in Boston, Massachusetts. The authorities introduced it for people’s safety. It’s based on the nationwide standards adapted to each specific state’s requirements. The Boston Code takes into account the specifics of the local climate. It explains how to use the materials properly and guarantees the longevity of every construction. Plus, it ensures the visual aesthetics of the buildings. Over time, the code is improved and updated to keep up with the modern trends and technologies of the building industry.

If you neglect the code, the inspector might notice it. Then, depending on what you did wrong, you might need to pay a fine and/or correct your mistakes. The authorities even have the right to ask you to remove your deck completely. That would be a major disappointment!

If professional deck builders violate the code, they risk losing their licenses. That’s why they follow all the updates to the code and implement them meticulously.

Attach the Ledger Board to the Siding Without Deck Builders

This mistake is common among people who attach one side of the deck to their home. They forget about the insulation foam between the siding and the building. Lag screws penetrate the foam but fail to reach the wall. As a result, they attach the ledger board only to a thin and unstable surface. The proper way to install this board is to cut out the siding and insulation.

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Forget About the Rules of Placing the Footers

Imagine that you properly attached the ledger board to your house. Footers will support the opposite side of the deck. As we already said, you should select the most robust possible footer materials. But that’s not enough. You should also know how to position them.

For instance, it’s necessary to make the footers extend below the frost line. The soil must be undisturbed — otherwise, the wood might run too deep. The rules are much more numerous. They’re listed in the local building code.

Attach the Girder to the Support Posts with Deck Builders’ Guidance

Previously, the building norms allowed it. Today, it’s considered a dangerous practice.

The girder is the horizontal beam that runs below the deck. Professionals would never attach it to the sides of the vertical supporting posts. If you make this mistake, the deck might collapse. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen too frequently — but you should be aware of this risk.

The right way is to place the girder on the vertical posts. These posts should have column caps made of metal. The girder will be lying on the metal. The second method is to make pockets in the vertical posts with a saw. The girder will be lying inside the pockets. To secure it, you can use nuts, washers, and bolts.

Incorrectly Place the Joists

We’re talking about the joists that lie below the deck’s flooring. Inside the house, there is a subfloor layer between the joists and the flooring. Decks lack this subfloor.

Guidelines for each type of wood specify the optimal distance between the joists. The more structurally sound the material, the larger spaces you can leave. The flooring might sag if you leave too big spaces between pressure-treated lumber.

Block Access to Services Without Consulting Deck Builders

Various services are scattered around every house: air conditioning units, dryer vents, water faucets, etc. You remember them only when they need repair or replacement. If you haven’t used them for several years, you might forget their location and block them when building your deck.

Moreover, the deck shouldn’t block basement windows. According to construction norms, they’re classified as egress. The inspector can ask you to modify the deck construction hinder them.

Choose Wrong Fasteners

There are so many fasteners on sale… You can get easily spoilt for choice. Before buying them, make sure they’re suitable for building a deck. Typically, such fasteners are made of stainless steel and have a polymer coating. They must be resistant to corrosion. They shouldn’t react with the preservative in the boards.

Forget About Handrails and/or Fence

Handrails are essential for decks that are positioned high above the ground. But if the distance is not too big, some people believe they can do without handrails. That’s a mistake.

Indeed, the building code doesn’t require handrails for low-rise constructions. The lack of this element reduces the building expenses. Plus, you’ll get an unspoiled view of the surrounding area.

On the flip side, you may fall and injure yourself without handrails. Your kids, pets, and guests will be even more prone to this risk. Besides, handrails prevent objects from falling. One day, a strong wind might try to carry away a folding chair from the deck. Or, a glass may roll down from the board. Someone will fail to notice it in the grass and place their foot on it. Installing a fence or handrails on your deck is vital to prevent such situations. Consulting with professional deck builders can ensure these safety features are properly installed and designed to match your deck’s aesthetics.

Fail to Apply Waterproof Coating Right Away

As long as the weather remains sunny, you might feel tempted to postpone the application of the waterproof coating. There are three main reasons for this:

  • You may feel tired and want to finish the work fast
  • It’s your chance to save a bit of money
  • You’d love to start enjoying your fantastic deck as soon as possible.

However, newly installed decks accept the coating much better. The longer you postpone, the more challenging the work will become and the less stunning the result will be. Besides, you can never know when it starts to rain.

Due to excess moisture, the boards might get deformed and it will be impossible to return them to their original state.

Unleash Your Creativity: Exciting Decking Stories

Indulge in Multiple Add-Ons

This mistake refers to the design and not the construction process. Before building the deck, consider how you’ll use it. It can become your outdoor living space, a kitchen in the open, or a playground for your kids.

Stick to one purpose when buying benches, awnings, rugs, and other decor elements. Make sure all the items complement each other. Avoid overloading the deck with too many objects, making it look messy. Professionals can share valuable advice with you.

Final Thoughts About Using the Services of Deck Builders in Boston, Massachusetts

Many people in Boston, Massachusetts, want to add cozy decks to their houses. For this purpose, you’d better hire experienced deck builders instead of doing everything with your hands. Licensed contractors will save you time, nerves, and money. Skilled specialists know how to obey the building norms and optimize materials usage. They will ensure a safe, elegant deck that will serve you for decades.

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Denis Tchernov
Main Contractor at ID Flat Roof

Denis is the driving force behind ID Flat Roof, a leading company in Boston specializing in flat roof repair and installation for over 20 years.
Denis excels in PVC, TPO, EPDM, and rubber roofing. His meticulous approach ensures quality and customer satisfaction.
Denis incorporates cutting-edge solutions like skylights and solar PV roofing.