Common Deck-Building Mistakes

Avoid these common problems, and build a longer-lasting, safer deck.

Installing an outdoor deck is a great way to improve the outside of your home, add value, and create a space for socializing. A good deck will last many years, and be the heart of many a grill, party, or summer lunch. With all they have going for them, it’s a wonder that not everyone has one!

It’s a common mistake to think that fitting a deck is an easy task, and while it is within the realm of possibility for more experienced DIYers, there are plenty of occasions for mistakes to be made. Seemingly small mistakes can grow into big, dangerous problems, as the structural integrity of the deck is compromised, possibly leading to collapse.

Today, we’ve listed the most common mistakes you need to avoid, below.

Mistake 1:Using the wrong deck fasteners

It’s easy to make mistakes with the wrong deck fasteners. A nail gun isn’t a bad idea, but it all depends on how resistant the nails are to corrosion. Make sure you use deck fasteners that won’t rust. Many have a poor zinc plating coating that is too thin.

The Solution

You must first decide if nails are the best choice. Before you decide which fasteners to use, ask the company making the floor what they think is best. It is likely that a certain type of nail or screw will be needed. Keep in mind that if you use the wrong fasteners, the warranty on the flooring material may no longer be valid.

Mistake 2: No handrails or improperly installed handrails

Handrails and guardrails are a must-have safety feature on a deck. Most decks at ground level do not require handrails, but it is a good idea to have handrails on decks that are two feet or more above the ground.

Also, from a design standpoint, railings are often forgotten when building outdoor decks, which is a mistake in itself. Railings are not only useful, but they are also part of the architecture of your home, just like shutters.

The Solution

Installing handrails on your deck requires a lot of skill. Avoid using square-headed bolts. Through-hole bolts are the only approved way to attach handrails and posts to the deck substrate. A better way is to use special retaining anchors that are bolted to the sides of the deck joists and then fastened to the posts with through bolts.

Nails should not be used in any handrail installation.

Mistake 3: Attaching the beam to the support column the wrong way

You can have an outdoor deck with no posts and the joists just resting on a concrete-grade beam. But most outdoor decks are four feet or more above the ground. This beam then needs to be supported by posts that go all the way to the ground. If the beam is not properly attached to the posts, it will rotate and fall off the posts. This error can lead to collapse.

The Solution

There are two ways to prevent a beam from rolling off a post. Most beams are made of two 2×10 or 2x12s. The beams end up being about 3 and 1/4 inches wide. You can use a 6×6 post and cut an L-shaped notch in it.

The second method is to purchase structural metal framing connectors, which are tested to create an approved and solid connection between the post and the beam.

Mistake 4: Making it hard to get in or out

When you think about it, your deck is an outside room. You need easy access to your outdoor deck, just like you need easy access to every room in your house. You should be able to get in and out of your deck safely without anything getting in your way.

The Solution

Equally important is how to get off the deck. This means that there should always be a clear path on the deck and the steps leading off the deck should never be blocked. As with everything else, just use your head.

Start building your dream deck today! If you’re interested in that but aren’t sure what to do, be sure to contact us Everlast Services. We are always more than happy to visit your home, provide detailed information and samples, and discuss how we can best meet your needs.