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The Pros and Cons of Building a Free-Standing Deck or Deck Attached to Your Home

When it comes to deck design, homeowners have two main options: a free-standing deck or a deck attached to their home. Both options have their own set of pros and cons and require building permit drawings. In this blog post, we'll look at both of these deck design options and explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, to help you decide which is right for you.



Comparing Free Standing and Attached Decks


When it comes to deck design, homeowners have two main options: a free-standing deck or a deck attached to their home. Understanding the differences between these two options can help you make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

A free-standing deck, as the name suggests, is not connected to your home and stands on its own. It is supported by footings and posts with bracing, giving it stability and allowing it to be placed anywhere in your yard. This type of deck offers more design flexibility, as you can choose its shape, size, and location based on your preferences. It can also be easily expanded or moved if needed depending on the foundation system.


On the other hand, a deck attached to your home is built directly onto your house and utilizes your home's existing structure for support. This option can save space in your yard and create a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor living spaces. It also provides easier access to your deck from inside your home.


There are some important factors to consider when deciding between a free-standing or attached deck. Some municipalities might not permit a deck to be attached to the house when it has a brick veneer unless structural reinforcement is provided. Therefore it makes free standing deck the only option when it comes to building permit application and approval.


No matter which option you choose, it is crucial to comply with local building codes and obtain the necessary permits. Hiring an architect or professional deck designer can help ensure that your deck meets all safety requirements and building standards set by the Ontario Building Code. Additionally, having detailed deck drawings and submitting a complete building permit application will make the approval process smoother and quicker.


Pros and Cons of a Free-Standing Deck


When considering a deck design, one option to explore is a free-standing deck. This type of deck offers several advantages and disadvantages to homeowners.


One of the biggest pros of a free-standing deck is the flexibility it provides in design and placement. Since it is not attached to your home, you have more freedom to choose the shape, size, and location of your deck. Due to the nature of the free-standing deck, it does not attach to your house therefore it will not affect your existing house structure integrity. Therefore the homeowner will not need to worry it creates an issue with the existing structure. This allows you to customize it to fit your specific needs and preferences. Additionally, a free-standing deck can easily be expanded and constructed if necessary, giving you the ability to adapt your outdoor space over time.


Pros and Cons of a Deck Attached to Your Home


When it comes to deck design, one of the options you may be considering is a deck attached to your home. This type of deck has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of before making your decision.


One of the biggest pros of a deck attached to your home is the seamless transition it creates between your indoor and outdoor living spaces. This can make entertaining guests easier, as they can easily move between the two areas. Additionally, having a deck attached to your home can save space in your yard, which can be especially beneficial if you have a small yard or limited space to work with.

Another advantage of a deck attached to your home is the ease of access it provides. You can simply walk out of your home and onto your deck without having to navigate through your yard. This can be particularly convenient if you plan on using your deck frequently or if you have children or pets who will be using it often.


However, there are also some downsides to consider. Building a deck attached to your home may limit your design options, as it will need to be built in accordance with your home's existing structure. This means that you may not have as much flexibility in terms of the shape, size, and location of your deck.


Additionally, a deck attached to your home may require more maintenance than a free-standing deck. Because it is attached to your home, it may be more exposed to the elements, such as rain, snow, and sun. This means that you may need to clean and maintain it more regularly to ensure its longevity.


It is also important to note that a deck attached to your home will require proper flashing and waterproofing to prevent any water damage or leakage into your home. This can add to the complexity and cost of the construction process.


Considerations for Choosing Between the Two Options


When deciding between a free-standing deck and a deck attached to your home, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Each option has its own unique advantages and disadvantages that may sway your decision.


First, think about your yard space and layout. If you have a smaller yard or limited space, a deck attached to your home may be the better choice. It can save valuable yard space and create a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor living areas. On the other hand, if you have a larger yard and prefer more design flexibility, a free-standing deck may be the way to go. With a free-standing deck, you can choose its shape, size, and location based on your preferences.


Next, consider the accessibility of your deck. If you want easy access to your outdoor space from inside your home, a deck attached to your house may be more convenient. You can simply walk out of your home and onto your deck without navigating through your yard. However, if you value the ability to expand or move your deck in the future, a free-standing deck offers greater flexibility in terms of placement.


Another important consideration is maintenance. A deck attached to your home may require more upkeep, as it is more exposed to the elements. Rain, snow, and sun can take a toll on a deck attached to your house, meaning you may need to clean and maintain it more regularly to ensure its longevity. On the other hand, a free-standing deck may require less maintenance, as it is not directly connected to your home.


Hiring a Professional vs DIY


When it comes to building a deck, homeowners often face the decision of whether to hire a professional or tackle it themselves. While both options have their advantages and disadvantages, it's important to carefully consider your skills, time, and resources before making a decision.


Hiring a professional for your deck project can provide numerous benefits. First and foremost, professionals have the knowledge and experience to ensure that your deck is built safely and up to code. They understand the intricacies of deck design, materials, and construction, and can help you navigate any challenges that may arise. Additionally, professionals often have access to specialized tools and equipment that can make the building process more efficient and precise.


Another advantage of hiring a professional is the time and stress you'll save. Building a deck is a significant project that requires careful planning, organization, and attention to detail. By hiring a professional, you can relax knowing that your project is in capable hands. You won't have to spend hours researching building codes, obtaining permits, or figuring out the logistics of construction. Instead, you can focus on other aspects of your life while the professionals take care of the heavy lifting.


However, it's important to note that hiring a professional comes with a higher cost. You'll need to budget for the labor fees, materials, and any additional services that may be required. It's essential to obtain multiple quotes from reputable contractors to ensure that you're getting the best value for your money. Remember, quality craftsmanship is worth the investment and can greatly enhance the longevity and functionality of your deck.


Navigating Paperwork and Permit Requirements


Navigating the paperwork and permit requirements for building a deck can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that you're prepared and in compliance with all necessary regulations.


The first step in navigating the paperwork and permit requirements is to familiarize yourself with your local building codes. These codes outline the specific requirements for deck construction in your area, including things like minimum size, setback requirements, railing heights, and structural specifications. You can typically find this information on your municipality's website or by contacting your local building department.


Once you have a clear understanding of the building codes, you'll need to gather all the necessary paperwork and documentation for your deck project. This typically includes detailed deck drawings, a site plan showing the location of the deck on your property, and any other information required by your local building department. It's important to be thorough and accurate when preparing these documents to ensure a smooth approval process.


Next, you'll need to submit your building permit application to the appropriate department. This typically involves completing an application form, paying any necessary fees, and providing all the required documentation. It's important to submit a complete and accurate application to avoid delays in the approval process.


Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the building department. This review process can take some time, so it's important to be patient. If any revisions or additional information is required, be sure to provide it promptly to avoid further delays.


Once your building permit is approved, you can begin construction on your deck. It's important to keep a copy of your permit on-site during construction in case it needs to be inspected by a building inspector.

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The content provided above is intended solely for informational and reference purposes. It is crucial to consult your local municipality's building permit department for accurate and specific information pertaining to your circumstances.

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