Adding a backyard deck is one sure-fire way to increase your home’s living space, at least for considerably more than half of the year, depending on what part of the country you call home. It’s an integral part of summer; barbecues and get-togethers, not to mention a sweet spot for chilling out in a lounge chair or hammock and savoring warm breezes while you sip an iced tea or a cold beer and listen to the birds. It also makes your home appear larger than it is, and a well-designed wooden deck, say some housing pros, can actually increase the value of your home — or at least act as a selling point — should selling your home be in your not-too-distant future.
That said, adding — or even replacing — a backyard deck requires some forethought and planning to pull off, which is why we’ve created a brief “to do” list for you to consider before you head to the home improvement store or your local lumber yard to start amassing deck materials.
Building a Backyard Deck: Hire a Pro or DIY?
The first thing to consider is whether you’re willing and able to take on the project yourself, or simply start doing some research on local contractors to do the job for you. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each.
If you do it yourself, you stand to save just by virtue of labor costs. However, building your backyard deck could eat up a number of weekends, depending on how quickly you work. Also, the DIY option may be perfect if you’re planning on a fairly simple square or rectangular deck, but things could get dicey if you choose a more complicated multi-level deck design.
Hire a PRO
Hiring a professional is obviously going to result in a pricier deck since you’ll be paying for their labor. On the plus side, a professional contractor — at least one who’s reliable — is likely to finish the project faster than you will. A professional will also take care of the permitting process and will already know what is “up to code” and what isn’t, ensuring that your new deck will be a-okay with your city inspector.
Have a Plan — Literally
You can get deck plans online or at your local home improvement/big-box store, and most come with a materials list, which could spare you the task of having to figure it all out and create your own. Step-by-step instructions can come in handy too, especially if you’re not completely sure of your skills and this is your first time building a backyard deck.