The recent homeowner-fueled do-it-yourself (DIY) craze has the new homeowner striving to take care of different tasks around the house instead of defaulting to hiring someone. While many simple tasks can be done by a reasonably crafty homeowner, others are best left to professionals. While it can seem like a simple enough job at first-thought, building a deck goes well beyond the skills of most homeowners.

Due to the complexity of the job, building a deck is not something most homeowners should look to undertake themselves. Homeowners should leave DIY jobs that touch on primary home functions like plumbing, electrical work, or structural design to professionals. This means everything from deck work to dishwasher installation is best done by technicians who know what they are doing.

Still thinking you want to give building a deck yourself a shot? Read on, as we will highlight three reasons why you should stop and think before moving forward with any DIY deck project you may be contemplating.


Decks are a place where we choose to gather and celebrate with friends and family. The last thing anyone wants in these situations is for a deck to be inadequately designed – posing dire consequences for any that come in contact with it.

Those trying to take the project on themselves will likely be unaware of many safety issues improperly designed decks can have. To avoid these issues, they will have to figure out the complex structural engineering required to safely support their deck. This means preparing for all possible sorts of activities and situations may encounter — some of which won’t be common sense to non-professionals.

Unless you already can recite the standard stair length off the top of your head or you know how to calculate the load capacity for your new deck without much thought, you’ll most likely want to consult with a deck builder to be on the safe side.

Safety is especially important if your deck will have special features such as electrical outlets, a pizza oven, or other cooking space. These will all likely have their own building safety standards to adhere to. There should be no cutting corners when it comes to anything involving fire, electricity, or plumbing.


Most homeowners mistakenly think that building their own deck can be a way to save big bucks. The truth of the matter is that those that choose to go the DIY deck route can often end up costing themselves more in the long run. This can be for several reasons including inexperience, lack of equipment, poor craftsmanship, and time. Let’s look at each cost in a little more detail below.

  • Inexperience: Lack of experience will end up costing most homeowners who DIY their deck. Without experience, you need to not only spend additional time on initial research and planning. You could need to redo work that didn’t turn out the way it should – costing you more supply costs;
  • Lack of Proper Equipment: If you think you’ll be able to build your own deck with nothing but a hammer, nails, and a large stack of 2X4s, think again. Building a deck will require a multitude of specialized tools and equipment – some of which the average homeowner is unlikely to have in their toolkits. If your deck will require site preparation or demolition work, the rental of heavy machinery will likely be required. This means for even a simple deck project — costs can quickly add up;
  • Poor Craftsmanship: There is a reason why they say practice makes perfect. Unless you are reasonably handy already, a deck is not a good place to start practicing your building skills. Flaws in a deck’s craftsmanship will at least require repairs and even worse, they could be a safety issue. Building things properly is difficult, that is why something as complex as a deck is best left to those that know what they are doing;
  • Time: What is the value of your time? The time and energy that is spent building your own deck might be better put to use elsewhere where your skills can go further.

Knowledge of Local Conditions

Finally, our last reason why most homeowners aren’t qualified to build their own deck is due to an ignorance surrounding local conditions and regulations. This isn’t to say that you aren’t familiar with your local climate. But how that climate may affect a deck is a different story. Decks built in different parts of the country will need to stand up to vastly different weather conditions, from feet of snow to forest fires, or even possible floods. For example, deck builders in Downingtown, PA will know exactly what sort of winter weather to prepare a deck for.

Not only that, but regulations for decking can differ greatly among various localities. Therefore, checking to make sure your deck’s plans are up to code is essential to do before any work commences.

A quality local builder can help with all of this and will also be able to recommend the right building materials.

Add all of the above considerations into the mix, plus any unforeseeable issues, and you have a recipe for disaster. It is best to leave large infrastrucuture additonal like a deck to the professional. They provide most cost-effective, time-saving, safe approach to large renovations.

Evan Zhang

Evan Zhang earned his Master’s in Construction Management from the University of Michigan and has 9 years of experience in commercial and residential construction. Evan joined our website as a freelancer in 2019, providing insights into construction methodologies, building codes, and safety standards. His background includes working as a site manager and a construction consultant. Evan also worked on various urban development and infrastructure projects. Evan is a DIY enthusiast and a mentor for young professionals entering the construction field.

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