How to Build a Deck: The Ultimate Home Improvement Guide

Roofer is explaining to building owner why the roof is leaking.

Imagine lounging on your brand-new deck, sipping your morning coffee and watching the sun rise above the tree line with your family. Beyond simply adding to your home’s value, building a deck can increase your quality of life dramatically, expanding your living space and giving your family more room to make precious memories. In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to make that dream a reality, taking you through the steps to ensure a seamless deck installation.

1. Define Your Deck’s Purpose and Style

Start by deciding what you want out of your deck. Are you looking for a space for outdoor dining, lounging, or a combination of both? Do you want it attached to your home or elevated in your yard, perhaps beside an above-ground pool? Determine the style, size, and location that suits your needs and complements your home and yard’s layouts, allowing your contractor to better understand your vision.

2. Research and Choose a Professional Contractor

Search for a reputable deck contractor in your area. Lucky for you, you’re on a qualified contractor’s website right now, and we’d love to use our 108 years of experience in the business to help you build your dream deck. But, if you’d like to expand your search just to be safe, you can start with a simple Google search. Check contractors’ online reviews to ensure they’ll give you the quality of work you deserve, and take a look at what types of decks they install to be sure your needs will be met.

If you still haven’t found anything after going through this process, ask family and friends for recommendations – out of everyone you know, there’s almost certainly someone who’s had a new deck installed and is happy with the result. With that said, ensure that each contractor is licensed, insured, and has a portfolio of completed projects. Obtain multiple quotes and select a contractor whose experience and pricing align with what you need.

3. Obtain Necessary Permits

In many areas, deck installations require permits. Check with your local building department to determine the specific permits needed. Your chosen contractor should be well-versed in local regulations, so they’ll assist you through this process.

4. Design and Planning

Work closely with your contractor to finalize the deck’s design and layout. Discuss which materials you want to use – you can choose between wood, composite, PVC, and beyond. Also be sure to review any finishing details, such as railings and stairs. Of course, an experienced contractor can offer valuable insights to ensure your deck is both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing, so this should not be a difficult task.

5. Project Timeline

Set a realistic project timeline with your contractor. Keep in mind that inclement weather and other unforeseen factors may affect this schedule, so be prepared to be flexible. Also ensure that this timeline includes milestones for inspections and approvals.

6. Cost Estimate

Your contractor should provide a detailed cost estimate, including labor, materials, permits, and any additional expenses like site preparation or demolition of an existing structure. The cost to build a deck varies widely based on materials, size, and location, but for an average-sized deck, you can expect to pay around $7,320, or about $21 per square foot.

7. Site Preparation

Before construction begins, the area where the deck will be installed should be properly prepared. This may involve clearing vegetation, leveling the ground, and ensuring proper drainage so your deck doesn’t suffer any structural damage from water. Check with your contractor about what they plan on doing to avoid any surprises during construction.

8. Construction

Once the site is ready, the construction process can finally begin. Your contractor will start by installing the deck’s support structure, which typically consists of concrete footings and posts. Next, the framing and decking material is installed. Pay attention to the craftsmanship (deep footings, proper support, etc.) to ensure your deck is built to last.

9. Finishing Touches

After the basic structure is complete, you can add on any finishing touches you had in mind. This includes railings, stairs, and any other features you discussed during the planning phase. Quality finishing ensures both the safety and aesthetic appeal of your deck.

10. Inspections and Approvals

Local authorities may require inspections to verify that your deck complies with building codes. Work closely with your contractor to schedule and pass these inspections, allowing you to avoid any unnecessary delays.

11. Enjoy Your Deck!

Once your deck is complete, it’s time for you and your family to finally enjoy the project you’ve put so much work into! Of course, keep in mind that regular maintenance, like sealing or staining, will help prolong the life of your deck. In this way, with just a little effort, you can ensure your new deck stays in top-notch condition for decades to come.


With the help of a professional contractor, installing your new deck is an easy and painless project. It’s an investment in your family’s future, giving you the outdoor space you need to forge memories that will last a lifetime, all with just a little planning. So, if you make informed decisions, take your time during the planning phase, and choose a contractor you trust, you’ll be well on your way to your dream outdoor living area.