Armchair Builder

Deck Building Tips

Deck Building Tips

Armchair Builder has shared a few deck building tips in the recent past.  Unfortunately, decks are one of those projects that homeowners don’t seem to think require a lot of skill and design.  This can lead to hassles and worse, the possibility of serious injury to your family and guests.

The Biggest of all Deck Building Tips

The first and most important of our deck building tips is to always get a permit.  According to Roy Braden, a building inspector in Tennessee, 90 percent of the people building decks do not get a permit.  Permits and inspections are a good thing for a homeowner.  Whether you are building the deck yourself or having a company do it, pulling a permit comes with some great benefits to ensure a quality deck is built.  Your local building department officials will review your plan for any possible structural or safety problems.  During plan review they will give you deck building tips to ensure you and your family are safe.

What kinds of things will a building department look for in a deck structure?

  • Footing Depths and sizes:  Are the footings deep enough and large enough to support the proposed deck?  And will they stay put during winter frosts?
  • Post Sizes:  Are the proposed post supports large enough to support the structure and the intended loads?
  • Beam and Joist Sizes and spans: Will the joist and beam sizes span the distance safely shown on the plans?
  • House Attachment:  Will the methods shown on the plans to tie the deck into the house create any problems?
These are just a few of the things your local building department will review.  We call this deck building tips…rather than violations or problems.  Remember, these recommendations are in your best interest.  Nobody wants to create a deck that will need to be torn down or repaired in the near future.  Another positive way to look at this plan review is as a consultation.  You can look at the permit fee as a consultation fee for helping you build the best deck possible.


Part of your deck building permit fee includes a couple inspections.  Typically, the inspector will check the footing depths before you pour them and inspect framing after everything is complete.  I always use the inspectors as a source of information.  Frequent questions asked included…Have you seen any new innovative building methods or products lately?  Have you found any particular subcontractors in the area that are really good?  Are there any new codes coming our way that will improve our houses?  Do you have any good deck building tips?


Here is a great video of Tennessee building official, Roy Braden, warning about dangerous decks and how to prevent injuries.  For more resources to help you build a quality deck check out our previous deck building tips from Armchair Builder and don’t forget to get a copy of our Deck Bid Package at our ESTORE to save money on your project…
Deck Builders:  Hiring for Your Project

Building Decks? Don’t Do This!

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