5 Best Tips on How to Evaluate Your House for Outdoor Deck Building

Written By Benjamin Eyth

Published on February 8, 2024

How to Evaluate Your House for Outdoor Deck Building

We Americans love our outdoor decks. Did you know that about 85% of single-family homes in the US feature a deck or similar structure? That’s nearly 30 million decks! And with 60% of new homes having decks and over 4% of households adding one each year, it’s clear that they have become an integral part of the American home—a symbol of our love for outdoor living and family gatherings.


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Here are 5 Tips to Evaluate Your House for Outdoor Deck Building


Tip 1: Assess your needs.

Tip 2: Decide on your outdoor deck’s location and size.

Tip 3: Consider local codes and safety.

Tip 4: Be as detailed as possible when designing your deck.

Tip 5: Don’t forget to get a deck inspection.


Why are decks so popular? It’s mainly because they provide additional living space at a more affordable cost compared to fully enclosed areas. But beyond that, a deck is also a good investment. You can protect its longevity and safety if you conduct annual deck inspections.

Planning to build one? The tips below can help you plan a deck that complements your property, fits your budget, and delivers excellent investment returns. We also talk about the importance of deck inspection and how to find a deck inspection specialist near you!


Tip #1: Assess your needs.

Building a deck involves more than simply choosing a spot in your yard. It would help if you also considered your lifestyle and how the structure will enhance your outdoor experience.


Start by clarifying why you want a deck. Ask yourself:


  • What functions will the deck serve?
  • Is it meant to be a tranquil outdoor area? A vibrant space for entertainment and social gatherings? A bit of both?
  • Should the design cater to specific seasons or weather conditions? What outdoor elements might affect the choice of materials or design?
  • Are there privacy concerns from neighbors or nearby roads?
  • Do you plan to have an outdoor kitchen or dining area?
  • Will there be an outdoor fireplace or fire pit?
  • Will the deck be attached to your house or a standalone structure?


Understanding your deck’s purpose can help you design it to meet your lifestyle and usage patterns.


Tip #2: Decide on your outdoor deck’s location and size.

Where you build your deck and how big it is are two of the most crucial decisions to make. These elements can affect your deck’s functionality, your home’s aesthetic appeal, and even its future resale value.

  • Think about access from your home. A direct connection from communal areas (like your living or dining rooms) is ideal instead of routing traffic through the kitchen.
  • When planning stairs and pathways, consider sun exposure, wind patterns, and privacy. Strategically placed shade trees can help block off some intense afternoon sun.
  • You also must ensure that the deck is proportionate to your yard—not too big or too small. Read up on local regulations regarding property lines and coverage so you can comply with them. Discuss your project with your local building department early on to prevent problems.


deck designer



Tip #3: Consider local codes and safety.

Local building codes play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and integrity of deck construction. Complying with them ensures safety and may even help you preserve your property’s value.

Codes often mandate specific requirements, such as the spacing of railing balusters, to prevent accidents (particularly for children).

These codes also include specific guidelines for securely attaching decks for structural stability—a crucial safety measure to prevent the deck from collapsing under heavy use (such as during large gatherings).

Obtaining a building permit and complying with all local code requirements isn’t just a matter of safety—it may also affect your property taxes. Decks are generally classified in the same category as driveways or landscaping improvements rather than as additional living spaces.

This classification is common across many jurisdictions and typically results in a lower tax burden than adding actual square footage to your home.

A deck inspection specialist can help you comply with all the regulations that apply to your project. They can thoroughly evaluate your deck’s design and construction to ensure it meets local building codes and safety standards.

You may ask: Where can I find a deck inspection near me? If you live in Spokane and surrounding areas, Outdoor Cedar Structures LLC is the best choice. We keep up with the latest deck building standards, ensuring top-notch deck inspections.

As part of the North American Deck and Railing Association, we prioritize deck safety and adherence to the highest industry standards for quality and durability.


Tip #4: Be as detailed as possible when designing your deck.

Beyond considering the overall layout and materials for your deck, don’t forget to do the following:

  • Plan for furniture placement, size, and clearances.
  • Decide on the decor and its placement.
  • Outline stairs and walkways.
  • Determine the location and size of a fireplace or fire pit.

Detailed design is crucial for guiding the construction process. Consider how your deck’s style will complement your home’s architecture and integrate with your backyard’s landscape.


Tip #5: Don’t forget to get a deck inspection.

A deck inspection is crucial in ensuring your deck’s longevity and safety. It can uncover potential issues before they become major problems and provide you and your family peace of mind.

Not sure where to start? TimberTech has a downloadable free deck inspection checklist to evaluate your deck. It covers all the essential deck inspection requirements and a comprehensive deck maintenance checklist.


outdoor deck building and deck inspection


While this checklist is valuable for minor repairs and assessments, professional inspections are crucial for deck safety at all stages of its life cycle. Experts with a deep understanding of deck engineering and local building codes can quickly pinpoint any necessary repairs or adjustments.

This expertise is particularly important for complex decks (like multi-level or elevated structures) or those built in challenging environments.

Inspectors can thoroughly evaluate a deck’s structural integrity, material suitability, and attachment methods. They may recommend specific repairs or upgrades (such as using TimberTech’s Advanced PVC in certain conditions) to enhance the deck’s durability and safety.



Where can I find a deck inspection near me?



For deck inspections in the Spokane area, trust Outdoor Cedar Structures LLC. Our expertise in deck safety and inspections guarantees peace of mind and lasting enjoyment of your outdoor space.


Don’t hesitate to reach out or call us at (509) 329-6054 or leave a message.

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