Decks are an essential part of summer. They’re the setting for family grill-outs, the perfect spot for sunbathing, and hands-down the best place to crack open a beer. But if your deck is more than 20 years old or if you can see visible signs of wear and tear, it could be time to replace it.
If you’re thinking about adding, expanding or renovating your deck this summer, you’ll need to decide whether you want to take on this ambitious project by yourself or call on a contractor for help.
DIY vs. Hiring a Contractor
While it’s tempting to save money by building the deck yourself, there’s more to the process than sawing up boards and nailing them together.
First, you’ll need to secure the right building permits, research what materials work best in your climate, and run a variety of calculations to make sure the deck can support the weight that will go on top of it — and that’s all in addition to the actual labor, plus the effort of purchasing materials and specialized tools.
So…is a D.I.Y. deck worth all the hassle? Let’s break down the pros and cons:
Building a deck yourself is a labor-intensive process that takes time, and lots of it. When all is said and done, it can take multiple weekends to complete the deck on your own — but if you’re working entirely by yourself or you encounter problems along the way, the project could stretch well into the summer.
Just like any other construction project, before building your deck you’ll need to be comfortable lifting heavy objects and using power tools, and you’ll need protective equipment to keep you safe. If you don’t have the necessary tools and equipment to start the project, you’ll need to add the cost of buying or renting them to your total project cost — it adds up quick!
Finally, you’ll also need to know what local building codes and regulations apply to your project, and you’ll have to secure a building permit. If your deck is found to violate codes or you fail to secure the right permit, you could be looking at steep fines in addition to the cost of having to tear down and replace what you’ve already built.
The Pros & Cons of a DIY Deck:
✅ A cheaper option, since you’ll save on labor costs
❌ Time consuming
❌ Labor intensive
❌ Can be dangerous
❌ Requires special tools and equipment
TL;DR — Building a deck is more complicated than it seems. If you have trouble managing a lot of moving parts, lifting heavy objects, or planning ahead — a DIY deck can end up costing you more down the line than one installed by professionals.
Using a Contractor to Build Your Deck
The best part about using a contractor to build your deck is knowing that the work will be done right the first time around — and quickly too! At Tri-County, our crews work as efficiently as possible, so you don’t spend your entire summer staring at an unfinished deck.
You’ll also save time by letting someone else take care of the details — you’ll only pay one bill and communicate with one point of contact versus paying for equipment, supplies and permits separately and going to multiple shops to find what you need.
Working with a contractor also means you’ll have access to materials and exclusive warranties that aren’t available to consumers. For example, some decking manufacturers require certified contractors to build a deck for it to be eligible for warranties. Many of the top sought-after brands are also not readily available at your typical big box store, so your options will be limited if you go DIY.
Before starting any decking project, Tri-County meets with our clients to learn how their deck will be used, so it’s safe in any scenario. For example, if you plan to put a hot tub on your deck, we’ll make sure it can support the extra weight. Or if you plan to eat dinner on your deck, we can add lighting to key areas so you’re able to enjoy your deck well into the evening hours. Our expertise means more thought goes into your deck, so it’s optimized for the way you live.
The Pros & Cons of Hiring a Contractor to Build Your Deck:
✅ Fast installation
✅ Done right the first time
✅ Someone else takes care of permits, planning, and other tedious tasks
✅ Eligible for manufacturer warranties
✅ More product choices
❌ More expensive than DIY
TL;DR — while hiring a contractor is more expensive than DIY, the convenience of letting someone else do the hard work combined with improved durability and functionality outweigh the extra cost.
Get Your Free Decking Estimate
Ready to get going on your decking project? Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll get back to you to schedule your free estimate.
In the meantime, keep reading to get inspiration for your new deck: