DIY Deck – A Good Idea?

Should You Build Your Own Deck – A Contractor Weighs In

Is it a good idea to build your own deck?

Is it a good idea to build your own deck?

As a licensed contractor in San Diego who specializes in designing and building patios and decks, I may have a small bias when it comes to the question of whether individuals should build their own deck. Certainly, there are plenty of savvy Do-It-Yourselfers out there who have the skills and patience to build a safe and sturdy deck. However, there are some big drawbacks, especially for those who are not experienced in tackling large building projects.


First, let’s look at the three main positives of building your own deck:

Labor Cost Savings

Hiring a contractor like Best Rate Repair to design and build your deck will be more expensive than doing the work yourself. We pay our crew a fair wage for the knowledge and skills they bring to each job. For homeowners on a strict budget, money may be the overall deciding factor. A word of caution, however, you’ll only save money on your deck if you have the skill to build it correctly. If you build a shoddy deck that collapses in a year, then, obviously, it would have been in your financial interest to hire a contractor. Also, determine how much your time is worth and then consider how many hours it would take you to build a deck on your own. Oftentimes, a contractor may seem more expensive, until you realize that they could finish a deck in half the time it would take you.

Satisfaction of Building

A lot of guys (and some gals), just love putting those old shop class skills to good use. It can feel great to plunge into a big project that will add value to your home and your family’s quality of life. For those who revel in home projects, building your own deck is probably the right choice as long as you have the skill set and patience necessary to see it through to the end. For those without a lot of woodworking experience and know-how, a smaller project might be a better option just from a safety standpoint.

Stay True To Your Vision

While any contractor you choose to build your deck will try to stay true to your vision, only you can truly know what your perfect deck would look like. The best way to maintain your personal vision is to build the deck yourself. With that said, I think a lot of homeowners would be surprised with just how close a good contractor can get to their vision. At Best Rate Repair, for instance, we spend a good deal of time working closely with a client to design their deck before we begin to build. Our design experts are even sometimes able to recommend enhancements that the client wouldn’t have thought of on their own.


Now that we’ve looked at some of the upsides of building your own deck, let’s look at my top three reasons you shouldn’t.

Safety Risk

Every year Americans are injured and killed in deck-related accidents. This usually happens when a deck collapses with people on it or under it. Sometimes the age of the deck is to blame, but in other instances, poor construction is the culprit. If you don’t feel 100% confident that you can build a solid, safe deck, then please don’t attempt it. A poorly-constructed deck could put your family and anyone you invite over at risk of injury or even death. There’s also the chance that you might injure yourself while building the deck. It’s just not worth the risk. Hire a contractor.

Poor Quality/Design Results

It’s one thing to envision the perfect deck in your head and another to turn it into reality. If you’ve got a complicated deck in mind, it might be best to hire a contractor instead of spending countless hours of labor building something that turns out to be an eyesore. At Best Rate Repair, we’ve built almost every kind of deck imaginable. If it’s feasible, we can probably build something that will meet or exceed your expectations.

Increased Time and Cost

At the beginning of this article, I said that cost savings were one of the main positives to building a deck your own, but that may only be the case if you build it right the first time. It’s really easy to miscalculate how much money it will cost to build a deck. For instance, you may have to buy expensive tools that you will not often use. There’s also material costs and the value of your time. As I mentioned above, it will almost surely take you longer to build a deck on your own than it would for a contractor to build a deck for you. Think about how much your weekends and free time are worth to you. Are you willing to give up four, six, even eight weekends to build your deck? Also, if you mess up, that could add significant time to the project as well as cost for additional materials.

When it comes down to it, only you can decide if you want to take on the responsibility and risk of building your own deck. If you consider yourself a master workman who relishes the challenge of large home projects, then I wish you all the best on building your deck. If you’d rather pay a little extra to hire a licensed, experienced and efficient team of workers who specialize in deck and patio construction, we would appreciate the opportunity to sit down with you for a free consultation and to provide a bid. Give Best Rate Repair a call at (619) 229-0116 or visit


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