Common Mistakes When Building Covered Outdoor Living Spaces

covered outdoor living spacesBuilding covered outdoor living spaces can be as simple as adding a retractable awning or as complicated as building a two-story combination deck and screened-in porch. Adding a roof of some sort gives you shade to enjoy your space in the summer and protection during rainy weather. However, before you start building your next project, check out these five common mistakes homeowners make when building a new deck, porch, or other type of outdoor living space.

Covering a Deck without Inspecting it First (Mistake #1)

Many homeowners already have a deck or patio, so building a covered outdoor space is as simple as adding a roof, right? Well, maybe. Roofs can actually be extremely heavy, depending on the size and the materials you choose. Your first step should always be inspecting your existing deck to see if it can withstand the weight.

This is a job typically best done by deck professionals. An inspection should look not just at the structural integrity of the deck, but also how the deck was originally installed. If the deck wasn’t installed properly, it might not be able to have a roof even if it doesn’t look like there is damage.

Starting the Project without a Clear Idea of What You Want (Mistake #2)

Outdoor spaces are most cost-effective when you actually use them. So many homeowners build decks and porches that their families never actually use, beyond maybe some quick grilling. We think that your backyard should be an extension of your home. It should be a place you can entertain, cook, relax, and spend time with friends and family.

To accomplish this, you’ll want to avoid building before you know what you actually want. Here at Structurally Speaking, we start every project with a free consultation and design presentation. We get to know you and your family, and we’ll look at the space. This helps us figure out what design will work best for your needs. Then, we design a custom space perfectly suited to your tastes and lifestyle. Why waste money on a boring deck you’ll never use when you could have the perfect backyard oasis?

Not Thinking about How You’ll Use the Space in the Winter (Mistake #3)

One of the great things about covered outdoor living spaces is that they provide a bit of weather protection. Most people want to cover their deck in order to have shade in the summer. However, a covered deck can also make the space more functional in the winter. It helps block the wind and can keep the snow off your porch so you’ll have to do less maintenance.

We can also help you make your space even more usable in the winter. You can add heaters and built-in fireplaces to make the covered deck or porch cozy. It also helps to add area rugs, cushions, pillows, and other fabrics.

Installing Fire Features That Are Unsafe to Use with Your Covered Space (Mistake #4)

Outdoor fireplaces, stoves/grills, fire pits, and other fire features can make your backyard feel cozy. However, if you’re covering a deck or building a porch, not every fire feature will be appropriate. If you love the look of tiki torches or want to relax by an open fire, you’ll need an open space. Fire features can make your space more inviting and cozy, but they need to be safe first and foremost.

Here’s the good news: when we design your custom covered deck, we can design open spaces as well. That’s one of the advantages of working with a custom builder like Structurally Speaking; we can design around a fire feature or any other special features you want to include in your new backyard.

Not Hiring Licensed, Insured Deck Builders (Mistake #5)

Last but not least, don’t make the mistake of trying to build a DIY covered deck or hiring an unlicensed, uninsured handyman. This kind of building project requires experience and permits from your city, town, or county. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can be putting your property at risk for damage. Worse, you could be putting your family’s safety at risk. Always hire professional deck contractors if you’re covering a deck or building a roofed structure such as a porch.

FAQs About Covered Outdoor Living Spaces

We can walk you through the entire process of building your new outdoor living space. Along the way, we’ll answer any questions you may have. Here are a few frequently asked questions to get you started:

What makes an outdoor space inviting?

You can make your space more inviting by figuring out exactly how your family will most use it. Some families want a big outdoor kitchen. Others want a place for their kids or pets to play. Still others love a space to sunbathe and relax. There’s no one way to make your space inviting. We’ll work with you to make sure your backyard is inviting specifically to you.

How much will a covered deck cost?

Cost depends on multiple factors, such as size and materials. We may be able to cover your existing deck, depending on the condition. Or, we may have to build a new deck from scratch. When we initially meet with you, we’ll talk about your budget upfront and give you a quote based on your needs.

Do you have other tips to help me make my outdoor space look beautiful?

Yes! Our blog is full of resources, including these ten ideas for small backyards. We’d love to help you build the deck of your dreams! Contact us today if you have any questions or to get started designing your new custom outdoor living space with a free consultation.