A deck is the best place to lazily lounge in the sun on off-days, host family gatherings, or simply party with friends.

Often, while buying a house, people dismiss the importance of an expansive deck. But, with their evolving needs, they might soon regret the oversight and look for ways to increase the deck area.

The good news is you don’t have to tear down the entire structure to expand a cramped deck - all you have to do is hire a professional contractor to increase the current deck’s area. It’s a straightforward process and costs less than other construction alternatives.

If you have been racking your brain, wondering how to go about the project, we’re here to help. In this guide, we will tell you all about the deck extension process. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Things To Keep In Mind Before You Extend The Deck

Deck extensions can be a rewarding yet challenging process. Since you will be working on an existing structure instead of building one from scratch, it is essential to take note of a few things to ensure your project is successful.

We have listed some essential considerations.

1. Check Your Local Regulations

What are the local building codes of your town or area? If the answer to this is "I don’t know," it is high time you do. The Homeowners Association or Local Building Department has a specific set of rules and can be pedantic with extension projects.

Therefore, you will need the necessary permits before you can embark on the project and will have to comply with all local building regulations.

Failure to do so will lead to a hefty penalty, and trust us, that’s the last thing you want to deal with on top of your deck extension costs. Also, we suggest you get a utility contractor to chalk out the underground utility lines so that you do not damage them during construction.

2. Inspect Your Deck

There’s no point in an extension project if your deck isn’t structurally sound. So, inspect the decking for signs of rotting, warping, or termite infestation. Remember to check the joists and nails that support the deck foundation for signs of rusting or warping.

Besides, you might need to replace the deck entirely if your ledger board is damaged or the posts have rotted. Even if you don’t plan to use the existing deck to support the new structure, it is essential to repair it to eliminate the chances of decay and deterioration.

3. Consider The Basic Layout

Once you have inspected the substructure, you can decide on the layout. While the internet will give you several aesthetically appealing options, remember you have a budget and local restrictions to adhere to.

Besides, your existing deck’s structure might limit the options. Attach a mason string to wooden stakes to visualise the space limitations and decide on placement. Moreover, if you wish to place furniture on the deck, you’ll have to decide on a spot and see if it fits within the space.

4. Choose A Decking Material

The last step would be to choose a proper decking material. Wooden decks might be visually stunning, but need to be regularly treated. Besides, pressure-treated wood is an excellent option, owing to its durability and ease of maintenance.

However, composite decks are the most viable option. Although expensive initially, they prove to be cost-effective in the long run since their maintenance costs are low, and they are unlikely to splinter.

Some Important Deck-Related Terms

Before you hire a contractor or put on the worker’s hat yourself, here’s a quick overview of some essential terms that often come up during a deck extension project.

Hammers And Nails For Deck Extension

1. Ledger

Ledger board attaches the deck to your house and is an essential component of the deck construction process.

2. Posts

These are the vertical support structure of the deck and are placed on the concrete before being affixed with gravel. Posts, in turn, are attached to horizontal arrangements called beams.

3. Joists

Joists are horizontal boards that form the structural foundation of the deck. It is on top of these joists that the deck’s frame is laid out.

How To Go About A Deck Extension Project?

A deck extension project is no child’s play. One misstep and not only do you ruin the project, but also damage the existing deck. Therefore, most deck owners rely on professional deck builders and contractors to handle the work.

However, it is crucial to ensure that the contractor you are hiring is licensed and has prior experience in handling a job like this. They should be aware of local building codes and discuss various layout plans with you. That being said, if you have the necessary skills or experience in the field, you can go down the DIY route.

There are primarily three different ways in which you can extend a deck. We’ve listed them here.

1. Same-Level Extension

A same-level extension is the simplest way to increase your deck area. To lengthen or widen the deck on its current level, remove the decking boards from the end along which you want to build the extension. This will expose the joists, and you’ll have to make a subframe along it using footings and posts.

Now that your subframe is ready, fix the new decking boards over the joists.

2. Step-Up Extension

In this method, you build a new subframe over the current one. To do this, you will have to attach a support beam or joist to the existing subframe, which will act as a ledger (or a support board) on which you will build the extension’s structure.

3. Step-Down Extension

If you have sufficient space below the existing deck structure, you can build a step-down extension. For this, the current support beam of your deck will act as a ledger. And, to this ledger, you will attach the joists. Once the joists have been secured, you can start building the new deck.

Extending Your Existing Deck

That’s all, folks!

Those were the ways in which you can increase your current deck’s length and make it more functional.

We hope this guide has helped highlight the points you need to keep in mind before beginning with a deck extension project. Although we have delved into three different ways to go about the process, you have to pick the most suitable one. And, this largely depends on your local regulations and the structure of your existing deck.

With that, it’s a wrap. Do reach out to us in the comments below in case of any queries. Until next time, take care!

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