Don’t Make These Mistakes When Refreshing Your Deck This Spring

Deck season is just around the corner, but your deck has seen better days. It needs a little TLC before you can enjoy this space, soaking up the sun and entertaining in your backyard.

Before you roll up your sleeves and take on a new renovation project, keep scrolling. You’ll want to plan your deck refresh to ensure you avoid these annoying and costly mistakes.

1. Remodelling without a Budget

Remodelling without a Budget

Every remodel needs a budget, even if it’s a small one. That’s because even a small remodel has the power to snowball into something huge, especially when it comes to DIY jobs.

A simple re-staining project can reveal some rotten boards that, when you pull them up, show you have a grading problem. Your deck isn’t level, and it funnels water all the way back to your foundation. Over time, this excess water has caused damage to your house.

Dealing with this on your own is next to impossible. You have to get professionals to assess your foundation to determine the best repair. You also might have to bring in contractors to relevel your deck once you repair your foundation.

Most building professionals recommend bumping up your budget by 15% more than you think it might cost. An extra 15% can help you afford to call the professionals if they’re needed. And if they’re not, you can use this extra money on extra plants and hanging lights for your deck.

What if your 15% falls short of the unexpected bill? You might be able to find an installment loan that helps you deal with your urgent repairs. Before you start your application online, take some time to figure out what you need to qualify for installment loans. Having all your information ready streamlines the process.

2. Neglecting Local Building Codes

Neglecting Local Building Codes

When it comes to big renovations to your deck, you might have to get your municipality involved. Some jurisdictions require homeowners to apply for renovations to ensure their deck complies with zoning by-law provisions regarding size, height, and grading.

Failure to get these permits before you start the work can get you into trouble. If the municipality becomes aware of your project, they can slap you with costly fines. They can even have you redo the work on your dime.

3. Putting Design over Function

Putting Design over Function

With visions of hosting summer BBQs and dinner parties on your deck, you can easily focus on all the frills of this area of your yard. HGTV and Better Homes and Gardens don’t help either — they showcase beautiful decks decorated with lounge chairs, shade sails, living walls of exotic plants, and elaborate lighting features.

While these accoutrements may be important, don’t overlook the basics. Before you can start decorating, you need to ensure your deck is functional. Focus on grading and layout first —these elements get priority. You need to make sure your deck has proper drainage — not just to save your foundation. You don’t want standing water to erode your new deck, either!

Avoiding these mistakes is easy — just take the time to think through your plan — whether you work with a professional or go the DIY route. These tips can help you do the right thing the first time, so you can save money, and get use of your deck faster.

Ann Turner

Ann Turner, a skilled contractor with a degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, has enriched our content as a freelancer since 2022. Her 15 years in home construction and renovation provide a practical perspective to her home improvement guides. Her approach is to merge functional design with aesthetic appeal. Her expertise includes everything from basic repairs to full-scale renovations. When she's not writing, Ann volunteers in community building projects and enjoys woodworking.

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