Folks interested in building decks often have questions about what will be required before they can get rolling on their projects. Constructing a deck can be a deceptively simple-looking task. In fact, attaching any structure to your house can present unique engineering challenges. You should take care of these four concerns as part of preparing for a job.
The requirements for starting a deck vary quite a bit among jurisdictions. Some places only expect permits if the deck will be above a certain grade or height relative to the surrounding terrain, while others want permits posted the second any new attachment to a house is begun. In the vast majority of areas in the U.S., there will be a country office that handles construction permits, and they can tell you what the rules for decks are in your region.
Deck builders are expected to handle their work to very specific construction codes, and these are, again, very localized. The supporting structure for your deck will need to be solid, and there may be limitations on how large it can be and how it might be attached to your home. You also should keep an eye out for minor issues, such as making sure the heights of the railings are ADA-compliant, as local building codes are consistent with federal rules.
Pressure-treated lumber is pretty much the de facto standard for folks building decks, but you may want to check out other options. Folks in the west may want to look into redwood materials, and those living in the east can turn to red cedar for a similar look. If you want to take things to the next level, tropical hardwoods can make decks really stand out. Non-timber options include aluminum and plastics, and you might also want to check out composites.
The standard pressure-treated wood deck can be anticipated to cost around $15 per square foot, while more expensive composites may ring up closer to $35 per square foot. These prices include the cost of installation by a deck services provider, so DIYers can expect to save a few dollars per square foot. If you get into more exotic materials, you can easily take what might be a $10,000 project and turn it into something closer to $50,000. Should there be engineering or architectural concerns, those may also add to the anticipated cost.
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