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What to Consider Before Building a Deck

Building a deck is one of the most exciting parts of upgrading your home. By updating this portion of your property, you create an entertainment space, an area to lounge and destress after work, and even a space to spend with family on the weekend. It’s important to make this as well as possible so you and your loved ones can get the most out of it.

These are the top things to consider before building a deck.

The amount of Maintenance and Work They Need

Before you spend a cent on your deck, it’s vital that you’re honest with yourself about how much work and time they need. These structures have to be refinished every one to three years and need to be cleared off and cleaned multiple times a year. If your deck is near a pool, it’s going to need even more work to ensure this water and the chemicals in it don’t erode or damage the wood. 

Of course, if you maintain your deck well enough, it can last over a decade or two, with pressure-treated wood lasting up to fifty years, but if you don’t preserve it, your hard work will go down the drain within the first five years. 

If you’re not willing to put in this time or pay someone to maintain this portion of your property, then it’s not worth the financial or time investment it takes to build a deck. You may want to consider getting lawn pavers instead.

The Lighting You’ll Need

This outdoor space is going to be somewhere you’ll want to sit and entertain year-round, even after it gets dark. When planning your cedar decking, think about what lighting you’ll need, where you’ll place it, and how you want to be able to turn it on and off.

If the deck is circling a focal point like a pool, you’ll want most of the lighting to focus on that area, but if this is an outdoor kitchen, you’ll want a large portion of the lighting to focus on that instead. 

Researching decking and looking around for inspiration online.

What Type of Finish or Look do You Want

What color or shade do you want for your deck? Are you going for natural tones, or do you want a vivid red stain instead? The best rule of thumb is to try and stay close to the style or shade of your home. If your house is a muted blue color, you’ll want a cool-toned stain on your deck. Likewise, if you have a bright red brick home, you’ll wish to have warm tones on your


Make sure to seal it with the best polyurethane for decks you can find. This will let the color last longer and will give it a professional finish.

How Large It Will Be, and Where It’s Placed

Placement and size are a big deal. Are you expecting this deck to be huge and spacious, like an extra living room, or do you simply want a space to grill and sit outside? 

A great way to plan it out is to get an aerial shot of your home via either drone photo or Google Maps and sketch out how large you want your deck to be and where you want it. 

Don’t be afraid to sketch a couple of different shapes and sizes to figure out what feels best for your home.

What’s Your Budget Look Like?

Your budget is a big deal! Not only will your budget decide when you can get your deck, but also what the material is and how larger it can be. Before you start building, shop around for materials, contractors, and suppliers, and try to make a reasonable expectation of how much you’ll have to pay to build this deck.

Is this final price something you can afford, or is it out of reach for you? Don’t be afraid to consider using your home equity to build a deck if you think it’ll develop your property’s value enough to be worth it. If you’re trying to save money, don’t cut corners!  Trying to be cheap could build a deck that’s dangerous to use.

Safety For Those Using It

When friends and loved ones are using your deck, they need to be as safe as possible.  One of the best ways to guarantee that is by adding features like welded wire deck railing and anti-slip steps that will protect people as they use this portion of your property.

No matter how gorgeous your deck is and how much you want a streamlined shape, it’s not worth anything if people don’t feel safe using it.

Every Home Can Use A Fantastic Deck!

Whether this is the first deck you’ve ever built or you simply want to brush up on your skills, it’s vital that you plan ahead and take your time with this. Your deck will last countless years if you build it right, so plan it out.

Roger Marx is a freelance writer that loves sharing his knowledge and expertise on home improvement projects especially deck construction. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he enjoys spending time with his wife and working on backyard projects in his spare time. Roger’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a new construction industry resource launching in Fall 2022.