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To Deck or Not to Deck: Lessons Learned

Updated: Jan 10, 2019

Over the last couple of years, we have been remodeling our home. While I was in talking to the Planning Commission about re-siding our home, I mentioned that we would have to take down our existing deck. I was surprised to learn that they needed to approve the replacement of the deck! In addition, we needed a new deck designed and that design needed to be approved by the City.

I was so thankful that I had mentioned it in passing, as some people have learned the hard way that they couldn’t replace the deck that had been standing while we were under the county. So, you need to make sure that you have all your questions answered BEFORE you remove an existing deck and redesign a new one.

Some of the other lessons learned included having the design approved by the Planning Commission and all the inspections that were needed at each stage of the build out. Gary Fairfield, who lives in Roads End, provided my design, then off to the City for inspections. We did the work ourselves with much help from both ProBuild and the City inspector as to materials and suggestions along the way. If you are going to undertake this type of a project, I highly recommend getting with these people.

Special materials, such as Stainless-steel parts and screws are a MUST. Based on the design of your deck, and your location to the ocean makes a big impact as to the materials you’ll need. We learned from Gary that if we were any closer to the ocean (we’re a couple of blocks away), we couldn’t have built the deck in the same manner as we did, which is attached to the house.

In addition to the designs being approved, the City also sent out inspectors to verify that the walkway to get on to our deck didn’t encroach on to right of ways that were near our property line. We worked with Kate Daschel from the Planning Department to verify all the rights-of-way were met and not a problem. The Planning Department in the City building is a wealth of knowledge, and I highly recommend talking with them prior to doing any work on your property…especially if it involves taking something down and replacing it.

I can’t tell you the total financial investment into our deck as we did the work ourselves, plus we upgraded materials at every step as we don’t want to do this again in our lifetime! However, I can tell you that we now have a deck that will probably hold up our house in the event of an earthquake….it is SO strong!

Sample Deck

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