Building a Garden Deck – Get Good Medical and Liability Insurance If You Build Your Own Decking
Being handy with a hammer and nail, does not necessarily mean that attempting to take on a major project, such as building a deck or gazebo, is a feasible do-it-yourself endeavour. Even small decks can have disastrous results if not installed properly. For this reason, there are permits required, building codes to follow and inspections necessary for safety.
There are various ways to install a deck, but different regions of the country are subject to different ground and climate conditions. What will be acceptable construction requirements on the West coast will not be sufficient in an area such as North Carolina, which is subject to high winds and torrential rain from hurricanes or tropical storms. One common piece of construction needed, however, for any deck is to make sure the footings are secured.
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Although the big brick and mortar home improvement stores sell cement footings already cast, these are never the best option by themselves due to not being secured to the ground. It is best to always mix and pour concrete footings to guarantee that the base is stable and there will be no possible movement.
Freestanding or floating decks are decks which are not secured to the home in any manner, but are supported by the under structure. These require additional structural reinforcement to ensure that safety is maintained. Any misstep at this point may result in the deck collapsing at the most inopportune time.
Building codes will determine the maximum height a deck can be without being anchored to the home. In some instances, floating decks will not be permitted at all. In many jurisdictions, inspections need to be done by the local government at certain stages. If the required inspections are not conducted properly, fines may be imposed.
Certain concerns should be whether the deck builder subcontracts the work to be performed. It is not always true, but subcontracting opens the door to miscommunication and lack of quality work. If subcontractors are to be used, additional information should be requested by the home owner. Two avenues of investigation should be toward the Better Business Bureau and the state agency regulating contractors and licensing. Both of these agencies will have on file any complaints leveled at the contractor and the outcome.
Safety should always be paramount and the best way to be assured is to hire a professional licensed deck builder. When going through the selection process with regards to hiring any contractor, make sure to exercise due diligence. Asking for references and examining the company’s portfolio is par for the course. Check with the state agency which issues licenses to contractor and tradesmen.
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