Top 10 things to consider when planning your next deck

  1. If your deck is 30” or lower, you don’t need your deck engineered or a building permit, and you can do it yourself.
  2. Pressure-treated wood is required for deck framing.
  3. Plastic-composite decking vs. traditional wood is preferable. Plastic composite decks require more joists, but little to no maintenance, unlike traditional wood decks.
  4. For handrails, we recommend using pre-engineered metal – due to longevity. 
  5. If you do decide to go with wood railing – there are specific requirements for its strength and attachment per code, that have to be detailed correctly. 
  6. You need adequate support for your deck. This means properly sized beams, posts, and footings. 
  7. If your deck is anchored to your house, it has to be done correctly. 
  8. Lateral bracing is necessary to keep a deck from swaying. 
  9. If you intend to put a roof cover over your deck, or a hot tub on your deck, make sure the deck framing and footings can handle that additional load. 
  10. The deck fasteners need to be hot-dip galvanized.

At Ouellette Engineering, we specialize in designing all shapes and sizes of decks, from simple to complex multi-story decks and stairs.