Does your deck need repairs, or are you looking to install a new one? You can likely handle some fixes or build a basic deck. Often, however, it is best to hire a contractor. How do you know when that time is, and how do you find someone qualified and reputable? Here is a guide to DIY deck repairs and hiring a contractor.

DIY Deck Repairs

Inspect your deck regularly for signs of damage and wear and tear. It could be a matter of life or death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission “estimates that between 2016 and 2019, there were about 2,900 injuries and two deaths associated with collapses/failures of decks, balconies, and porches.”

Look for loose boards, cracked or split posts, and rotting or moldy wood. Also, ensure that railings are secure and metal connectors are still in place and not rusted.

If you’re looking at a property to buy, decks should be built into concrete footings and attached to the home with bolts, not nails. Check that it has these safety components, that the bolts are in place, and the posts are not off-center.

Fixing a deck in disrepair is usually less expensive than building a new one. You can do several easy deck repairs on your own. Most homeowners can:

■ Replace rotten wood

■ Wash, paint or stain their deck

■ Tighten loose bolts or screws

It’s essential to ensure you have the right tools and safety gear before you begin and a clear plan to follow while repairing your deck.


DIY Deck Builds

Are you starting from scratch? There are several simple deck designs that you can build with minimal experience. These include building a freestanding platform deck that isn’t attached to your home or using interlocking deck tiles. More experienced builders might have the skills for a basic attached deck. Read the instructions carefully and take your time to ensure the deck is secure and safe.

You must also check with your local zoning boards and home association for deck building codes and requirements. Building regulations ensure the deck is safe and secure. Often, freestanding decks do not require an inspection—another reason they make a good DIY option.


A deck contractor specializes in designing, constructing, and repairing decks. Hiring a contractor is the best way to go for several reasons, particularly for complicated, high, and multi-level decks. They have the tools, know how to apply for permits, and can get better pricing on materials. They can help you with all aspects of the deck-building process, from helping you choose a design to completing the actual construction. They can also provide advice on the maintenance and repair of existing decks.

It may also be wise to hire a contractor for structural deck repairs. Unsafe decks can cause accidents or worse. If joists or beams are unstable, talk with a contractor about options.


You can find a qualified and reputable deck contractor by asking for recommendations from friends, family, and neighbors or through research online. Always check any contractor’s credentials and reviews before hiring. Also, ask if the contractor offers a warranty for their work and carries liability insurance.

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