Redwood or Cedar

7 Most Common Decking Mistakes Homeowners Make and How to Avoid Them

As the weather warms and spring finally begins to creep into your community, it’s time to get outside and take advantage of the beautiful weather. What better way than with a new patio or deck? After all, a home is nothing without its outdoor space. Building a deck is a huge investment. Not only does it add value to your home, but it’s also a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. However, if you’re not careful, you could make some mistakes that will cost you in the long run. Here are some common decking mistakes homeowners make so you can steer clear too.

Mistake #1: Not Considering the Understructure

One of the most common mistakes people make when building a deck is not considering the understructure. The understructure refers to the joists, beams, and posts that support the decking boards. If these aren’t properly installed, your deck could be unstable. Also, you should pay enough attention to the health of the deck structure itself by physically getting under the deck to visually inspect support beams for rot and looking for red rust residue or other telltale signs of damage.

Mistake #2: Underestimating the Length of Time Required

A deck is a big investment, and it’s important to take your time when planning and building it. Rushing through the process can lead to mistakes that could be costly down the road. This is particularly true if you’re planning on doing it yourself. Building a deck is not a quick weekend project. It takes time, effort, and planning to do it right.

Mistake #3: Not Staying up to Code

When it comes to decks, there are a lot of code requirements that need to be met. These include the size and spacing of the joists, the type of fasteners used, and the height of the railing. Failing to meet these requirements can result in a deck that is unsafe and not up to code. If you ever try to sell your home or get insurance coverage, this can be a problem.

Mistake #4: Improperly Attaching the Ledger Board

One of the most important parts of a deck is the ledger board. This board is attached to the house and supports one end of the deck. This board must be properly attached to the house with the correct fasteners. If it is not, there is a risk that the entire deck could collapse.

Mistake #5: Using the Wrong Hardware

There are a lot of different types of hardware that can be used to build a deck. But not all hardware is created equal. Some types of hardware are not meant to be used outdoors and will rust quickly. Others are not strong enough to support the weight of a deck. Using the wrong type of hardware can lead to big problems down the road.

Mistake #6:Not Getting to Know Your Wood

There are a lot of different types of wood that can be used for decking. Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics. Some woods are more durable than others. Some woods are more resistant to rot and insect damage. Cedar or redwood decking materials perform well outside and do not require treatment. Douglas fir, on the other hand, is not ideal for outdoor use; therefore, it should be stained or sealed for protection. Staining does help redwood and cedar, but it’s not necessary.

Mistake #7: Not Seeking Professional Guidance

If you’re unsure how to build a deck or what type of materials to use, it’s best to seek professional guidance. An experienced contractor or deck builder can help you choose the suitable materials and design for your home. They can also give you an estimate of how much the project will cost. Trying to do it yourself without professional help can cost you more in the long run. Hiring a professional is worth the investment and will give you peace of mind knowing that your deck is built correctly.


Building a deck can be a great addition to your home. But, if you don’t avoid these common mistakes, it can be a disaster. By following this advice, you can avoid making these mistakes and have a beautiful deck that will last for years.

Looking to build a deck this summer? Check out Longhouse Cedar for all your cedar needs! We specialize in custom-cut western red cedar and can provide you with the perfect lumber for your project. Give us a call today!