Adding a deck to increase your outdoor living area is an excellent investment for homeowners. Increasing your home’s square footage with alfresco space for relaxation and entertainment improves your home’s appearance and potential resale value.

DIY vs. Professional Deck Contractors

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To Do-It-Yourself or to Not Do-It-Yourself

Deck safety is a deck contractor’s number one priority. The biggest consideration is whether you think you can build your deck in compliance with all of the proper codes. Will it be safe enough to withstand the elements and wear and tear of time and keep your family and visitors safe?

If you’re on the fence about whether to attempt your own decking project or have one of our Denver custom decking contractors do it, we hope to make that decision easier for you. Let’s look at what it takes to get the job done. Then, you can determine if you have the time, tools, and abilities to proceed or if your project is better left to the pros.

What Goes Into Building a Deck?

Tangible Plans

Before the footings are laid into the ground, proper planning and paperwork must be in place to ensure your structure is legal and safe. Most decking projects require construction permits and HOA approval. You don’t want to skip this step or begin building before you get the legal “go-ahead” and risk costly mistakes or demolishing your newly-built structure because it didn’t adhere to safety standards or housing codes.

Local building departments require you to submit forms of your proposed project along with a copy of your construction plans, property survey, and filing fee. Contractors are familiar with this administrative necessity and typically take care of this part on your behalf.

Materials and Tools

When using a contractor, the builder is responsible for picking out, loading, hauling, unloading, and storing all materials for your job, right down to tiny bolts and washers. The labor and overhead expenses involved could mean a 5-10% markup in material costs for the homeowner. Expertise and tools also get rolled into the final price when hiring professionals.

Homeowners have easy and often free access to the internet and book tutorials. Homeowners can rent equipment from local hardware stores or heavy machinery rentals while buying others. Are you okay with paying for tools you might only use for this project?

Labor

Having the knowledge and tools to build a safe deck is one thing; having the physical capability to use the know-how and machinery is another. It takes at least two or three knowledgeable people working together about three weeks to complete the proper steps of building a deck and lifting and securing heavy materials.

Design Details

Experienced DIY and professional builders can attest that the devil’s in the details with building projects. Things like your budget and lifestyle, material preferences versus availability, and climate are some ingredients that can be easily overlooked by a beginner but play a crucial role in the final product’s expense, timing, and longevity.

Whether you or a professional install your deck, vital design considerations must be factored in, like:

  • Outlining the perimeter with stakes and string to visualize the final expanse of the deck before starting.
  • Using protected fasteners with certain types of lumber that corrode metal.
  • Leaving gaps in between boards for less moisture accumulation.

Deck footings must sit below the frost line to prevent frost heave – as heavy as a deck may be, frost heave can move it. Sturdy board fasteners, adequate diagonal bracing, and a securely bolted and flashed ledger board all ensure the structure’s safety. These safety precautions seem like a million little things, and they are, but they add up to a giant safety concern if overlooked.

Additionally, consider how you envision using your deck. For example, do you plan on setting up an eating area? Then, ensure you’ll have at least four feet of free space all the way around your table and chairs.

Do you plan on barbecuing and entertaining guests on your deck? Then, ensure you’ve arranged enough room for a grill and a prep or serving area, and install handrails wide enough to hold a beverage.

DIY Advantages

It stands to reason that homeowners want to turn a deck build into a do-it-yourself undertaking. After all, you stand to save about half the cost of having a professional do it for you, and you’ll acquire new skills that can last a lifetime. With countless online tutorials, you have no shortage of information at your fingertips. Plus, you get to call all the shots and take pride in the accomplishment when it’s all said and done.

The Pros of Calling the Pros

Skilled deck builders bring knowledge and experience to the project that the typical homeowner doesn’t have. Plus, they have access to essential tools and equipment to ensure the job is done properly and as promptly as possible. That’s a massive load off the homeowner’s shoulders in terms of time and safety concerns that most consider well worth the investment.