Written by: Dave Tibbetts, Owner of Atlanta Decking/Georgia Front Porch
If your deck has begun looking like it has seen better days, you may have begun to consider your options. Do you feel ambitious enough to tackle this project without professional help and go the do-it-yourself deck route? Are you weighing costs savings versus the amount of time and effort it takes to do the job right? Let’s take a quick look at the factors that will impact your decision:
Labor Costs – Labor costs for a typical deck remodeling are between 50-60% of total project costs. The extent of the remodeling will impact those costs — so be sure you know what you are getting into before taking it on yourself.
What’s the Plan? – Does your deck need a complete overhaul or is it more maintenance than heavy construction? Are you looking to give it a facelift to keep up with the most up-to-date styles? In other words, scope it out before making your final decision.
Be Realistic About Your Time Commitment –One source, Homedecks.com, estimates that it takes a professional and a laborer one to three weeks to build a 12 x 24 elevated deck with a staircase and railing. Consider how many weekends it will take you and your crew. Now consider that specialists can ensure that your remodeled deck is up to code and are prepared to deal with the unexpected project hiccups like dry rot, sinking deck footing and more. Of course if this is not your first deck rodeo, you’ll be able to handle these challenges without compromising on the timeline.
Permits –Depending on the extent of your re-model you may need a permit to do the work legally. If you plan on a do it yourself deck, be prepared to contact your local building department or municipal office to learn what permits you’ll need. Once you have the documents, you’ll need to provide a copy of your construction plans, a property survey and a filing fee. This is certainly doable—it’s just a part of the process you’ll need to address before you get started.
Safety First –At the risk of stating the obvious, safety should be your top priority. Things like improperly spaced railings or insufficient drainage system can compromise the safety of your deck. The elements take their toll on a deck whether it was originally built by professionals or was the do it yourself deck variety. Be on the lookout for a sagging platform, loose railings and more. Many states (including Georgia) now have stringent rules about deck construction and how it attaches to your home, so make sure your deck is compliant.
We admit that this article weighs heavily in favor of hiring a professional for your remodel. Given that this is our field of expertise that should come as no surprise. If you have the time and the skill, however, taking on the project yourself can be very satisfying. But if you prefer spending your spare time pursuing other activities, hiring a qualified professional will help ensure that your remodeled deck is up to code, safe and completed in time to enjoy outdoor living at its best. Call us at 770-781-4641 or click here to start your deck remodeling.