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Backyard DeckIn certain parts of the country – clear weather periods in July and August are prime time for deck building, resurfacing and renovations. So this month we’ll be bringing you a few different perspectives depending on whether you’re just thinking about building a deck, you’re ready to take that deck to ‘the next level,’ or just refurbishing.

Deck builder James Dulley says you need to plan and design the deck before buying any tools and materials. By doing so, you will eliminate many mistakes and save time and money throughout the project.

First, consider that you may need a building permit to construct a deck. Dulley says check with the building department authority in your neighborhood.

The usual procedure is to submit a drawing of the proposed deck structure to the building inspector in the building department. Any changes to meet local codes and requirements will be indicated.

If the plans are fine, you will be issued a building permit, usually for a fee, and the permit may be time-limited.

The building pros at Ohio’s Campbell Hausfeld say considering location is as important as your planned deck’s primary use.

Will it be a place for large parties, family relaxing, outdoor cooking or private sunbathing areas? Do you desire sunlight or shade?

Do you want privacy?

Is there a view you wish to enjoy?

How would the deck fit with your general landscaping?

How would the deck fit with your existing structures?

Measure the area of the proposed deck and temporarily stake it out with small stakes, and use ‘Call Before You Dig’ if available, to make sure there are no utility or drainage lines run beneath the building site.

Some cities, municipalities, communities or subdivisions may also restrict the size and height of the deck, as well as the materials.

The Campbell Hausfeld team suggests you determine the basic design of the deck, such as posts, beams and other spacing, and prepare a materials list. With this information you can apply for any permits needed.