Building a Deck? Consider These Things First

Extending your living space to the outdoors is a great way to infuse an added dimension to your home and allow you to enjoy it to the fullest. In fact, outdoor living is really getting popular these days, with more and more homeowners adding decks to their homes as a means of enjoying Mother Nature.

But before you start drafting up those blueprints for your deck building projects, make sure you consider these factors first.


The average homeowner builds a deck to perform a few different functions, like cooking, eating, entertaining, and so on. But the options are seemingly limitless.

Figure out exactly what you want your new deck to do before you even start drafting up your building plans. Doing so will not only help ensure that the final product is exactly what you’re looking for, it will also help you stay within budget, and eliminate any potential safety hazards.


Think about the amount of privacy that you want as well. You don’t want to be on display every time you have dinner on your deck. Consider adding a pergola, latticework, bushes, or anything else that will add a level of privacy to your deck.


How do you plan on getting onto the deck from your home as well as from your backyard? If you’ve already got a door that leads directly to your deck, that’s a huge load off your back. If not, you’re going to have to add an opening from your home which will involve knocking out a part of the exterior wall.

If you’re planning on eating meals out there (which most likely is going to be the case), then ideally you’ll want the opening access as close to the kitchen as possible. It would be pretty inconvenient to have to walk around the house or climb a ton of stairs with platters of food in your hand.

Design, Shape & Size

Aside from how you want it to function, you also want to make sure the deck is visually appealing to you. Consider the architecture of your home so that it at least goes with its style. The size of your deck will depend on the size of your property, as well as what you want it to do for you. Its shape will be dictated by your home’s design.

For example, building a curved deck onto a linear house might be like forcing a square peg into a round hole. Instead, follow the lines and proportions of your home so it’s a seamless extension from the indoors to out. Get yourself some help from a deck building pro to get some pointers about deck style, materials, and more.


You’ve got a handful of options when it comes to materials to build the deck with. Typically, wood, composite boards, and even concrete are used to construct decks. While wood was the dominant choice among homeowners for a long time, composite boards are becoming increasingly popular.

Wood requires a lot of upkeep and maintenance, while composite is easy to care for and won’t look ancient within a couple of years from wear and tear. Composite boards are made of a mixture of plastic and wood fibers. While they’re a bit more expensive than wood, they more than make up for this up-front cost without the need to re-stain it and pay for upkeep. In fact, the cost over time can amount to less than real wood.

Local Regulations

Every municipality has its own governing rules when it comes to home renovations, and that includes buying a deck. Before you make those elaborate plans of yours, be sure to check with the local government office’s department that deals strictly with building permits.

Construct your deck too close to the neighbor’s yard, or hoist it up too high, and you’re asking for trouble. There are a bunch of rules that you might not be aware of that could sabotage your plans, so be sure to find out what the specifications are to building a deck in your neighborhood first rather than having to modify it or pay pesky fines after the fact.


Keep things like shade from sun and rain into consideration. If it’s way too sunny or raining out, you’ll be less inclined to hang out on your new deck without some sort of shade or protection from the elements. You’ve got a lot of options here, including retractable canopies, to large umbrellas, to pergolas, and more.

You can even construct a more permanent roof fully equipped with a ceiling fan, recessed lighting, and so forth. The project can literally be as complex and sophisticated as building a little house.

Your Budget

Obviously, whatever deck you build will have to fit nicely within your budget. You won’t be able to enjoy it if you’ve got to work overtime for months just to pay it off. On average, a composite deck that’s around 500 square feet can cost somewhere around the $25,000 mark.

A deck with a variety of elevations will also jack the price up because of the more intricate plans and work involved. Where you live will also play a role in the cost of your deck. For instance, the same-sized deck in the Mid-West would probably cost about one-third of the price compared to San Francisco.

Don’t let these figures scare you off: deck additions are excellent investments that can increase the value of your property. In fact, you can expect to recoup an average of 70 to 80 percent of the value of the deck when you sell your home, so it’s definitely a home improvement job that you should seriously consider.