Professional Help is Best When Building a Deck Frame
Building a deck frame is a project that many DIYers try to take on themselves. However, as is always the case with home improvement projects, it often makes more sense to hire a professional. Is this a project you can do? Let’s take a look at how to build a deck frame and assess your DIY skills to determine if you should hire a pro.
Local Codes for Building a Deck Frame
If you live in North Carolina, you have to follow certain codes when you build a deck, and you’ll need to get a permit from your city or county. Every city/county runs a little differently and has different fees. For example, in Raleigh, you’ll pay an initial building permit fee, but also pay other fees as well based on the specifics of your deck project.
You’ll also have to meet strict city requirements for your deck. Many homeowners get frustrated at this process. For example, here are a few rules that help keep your deck safe:
- Joists must be able to carry a 40 pound per square foot load, and the materials you use will determine how far apart they can be. So, there is no standard answer to how far apart your posts should be. It depends.
- Deck posts need concrete footings. There are minimum requirements for the footings based on post loads.
- If your deck is 30 inches or more above the ground, it must have guide rails. Your guide rails must be at least three feet tall and meet minimum spacing requirements.
- Decks that are over 4 feet off the ground must have lateral support bracing, which also has minimum requirements.
- If you attach the deck to your home, you must use 5/8 inch galvanized through bolts.
This just scratches the surface, so you can see that building even a “simple” deck can get quite complicated! This is where hiring a deck contractor can be beneficial. Not only do we handle the permit process for you, but we also ensure we adhere to all safety guidelines when designing and building your deck.
Measure Twice, Cut Once… Or Just Hire a Professional!
Another major benefit to hiring a deck contractor instead of building a deck frame yourself is that you don’t have to worry about mistakes. If you aren’t experienced with power tools, it’s easy to ruin material during the deck building process. Even if you have experience and follow the “measure twice, cut once” mantra, mistakes happen.
Our experienced decking building team does this every single day, and in the rare case of a mistake, we completely cover the cost. Your project budget will never inflate during the construction process. The price we quote during the design presentation is the price you’ll pay. If you do it yourself, you’ll pay for any mistakes you make, which could turn a simple deck project into a costly construction lesson.
Custom Decks are More Functional and Beautiful
Keep in mind that when you hire a professional, you can also build a more complex, functional deck. You don’t need decades of experience when you hire the Structurally Speaking team – we have that! We’re able to look at your home and listen to your needs to design the perfect deck for you. This includes space-saving two-story decks, relaxing hot tub decks, deck and screened-in porch combination spaces, and more.
When you DIY your deck, you’ll often be stuck with an uninspired and less functional platform of wood. Why sink your money into a deck that you don’t even like when it’s done? Our homeowners report that their custom decks look like they were built perfectly for the home. When you love how your deck looks and functions, you’ll use it more often.
We have experience building custom decks. Our owner, Jim Brennan, established himself as a top deck designer while working for one of the largest deck and porch building companies in the United States. He founded Structurally Speaking in 2008 and has been working one-on-one with homeowners as a deck contractor ever since. We believe that personalized design and competitive pricing make us a standout deck builder in the Raleigh/Durham area. Click here to see what our clients are saying.
FAQs about Building a Deck Frame in North Carolina
For most homeowners, it makes sense to hire deck builders instead of taking on this project. We’d love to answer any questions you may have about building a deck frame here in North Carolina. Here are a few frequently asked questions we get from homeowners about building decks:
What decking material is best?
While most people choose pressure-treated wood for building a deck frame, you have many different options for your deck. Some of our favorites include:
- Exotic hardwoods such as Ipe and Tigerwood
- Composite Decking
- PVC Decking
We’d be happy to go over the pricing advantages and maintenance requirements for all decking material options.
How can I add shade to my deck?
The summers here can be brutal. If you want some shade you have a few options. First we can add a pergola, which adds a minimal amount of shade but gives you a place for growing climbing plants and avoids blocking your view too much. Next, you can choose some kind of awning or pavilion for more shade. We can also talk to you about sun porch and enclosed porch options to maximize the shade for your outdoor living space.
What is it like working with Structurally Speaking?
We have a three-part process when working with new clients.
- No-obligation initial consultation where we’ll review your budget, home style, and desires in a deck
- Design presentation with several drawings and options to help you visualize your new deck
- Deck construction, which we won’t start until you are absolutely happy with the design
You can click here to contact us and get started by scheduling your initial consultation.