Sustainability   |   Why Lumber Plus   |    Become a Franchisee   |  Blog   |   FAQ   |   Catalog   |   Contact Us 

The Ultimate Guide to Building a Deck in Florida (How a Contractor Can Help the Process)

Building a deck in Florida may come with a few challenges, such as adhering to local building codes and selecting materials that combat humidity and pests. However, that shouldn’t stop you from enhancing the look of your Florida home with a durable deck that not only adds beauty but also withstands the unique climate of the state. 

Let’s explore how you can build a deck in Florida—one made out of hardwood, thermally modified wood, or composite wood—and how expert guidance can simplify the process.

Navigating Deck Building in Florida

A hardwood deck made by Lumber Plus’s contractors sitting next to a Lake

To successfully build a deck in Florida, it’s important to have a good grasp of local environmental and regulatory factors. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your project meets state-specific requirements and stands the test of time:

Permit Essentials

Securing a permit is a must for most residential decks, particularly those over 30 inches high. The process involves a review of your deck plans against zoning and structural codes to safeguard compliance and safety. Note: skipping this step may put you at risk for fines and structural teardowns, in addition to creating a possible safety hazard.

Adhering to Building Codes

Florida’s Building Code sets the standards for safe construction by factoring in the state’s weather challenges. Key focus areas include ledger boards, footings, and handrails, all critical to your deck’s stability in facing Florida’s weather extremes.

Understanding Zoning and Setbacks

Local zoning regulations dictate your deck’s size and placement to ensure safety and neighborhood harmony. Early consultation with local authorities can prevent delays and help ensure that your deck adheres to community standards.

Foundation Integrity

Florida’s sandy terrain necessitates careful planning of a deck’s foundation. Proper footing placement and sizing are paramount to support the structure’s weight and combat environmental pressures, with adjustments made for slope and soil type.

Choosing the Right Materials

Selecting the right decking material is crucial for the longevity of your deck in Florida’s climate:

Tropical Hardwoods like Ipe and Cumaru are the most durable and resistant materials, especially when it comes to moisture resistance. You can retain the wood’s color with the help of oils. The overall downside of hardwoods is that they are initially more expensive to purchase and install. However, hardwoods do eventually pay for themselves considering how long they last compared to other wood types.

Thermally treated woods provide an eco-friendly alternative with enhanced resistance to rot and insects due to the heat and steam treatment process that they undergo.

Composite decking, made from a blend of wood fibers and plastics, offers the best of both worlds: minimal maintenance and resistance to Florida’s harsh weather conditions.

Each material has its benefits and considerations, and a contractor can provide valuable guidance based on your specific needs and budget.

Deck Building: DIY Costs vs. Professional Expertise

An elevated composite deck with a built-in fireplace and palm trees

Initial Cost Comparison

DIY projects might seem more affordable at first. However, the complexity of working with advanced materials like hardwoods and composites introduces the potential for costly mistakes.

Technical Challenges with Advanced Materials

Working with sophisticated decking materials requires specific techniques for handling and installation. Mistakes such as improper spacing or fastening can lead to moisture accumulation, warping, or structural issues, which can necessitate additional expenses for repairs.

The Value of Professional Expertise

Contractors bring invaluable experience that can help ensure a high-quality build by navigating the intricacies of advanced materials. Their expertise can help to prevent costly errors and also enhance the deck’s durability and aesthetic appeal for long-term savings compared to the initial lower costs of DIY projects. Although it is possible for a seasoned DIY to build a deck, we always recommend hiring a professional—especially when installing decking from larger national brands such as Trex and TimberTech due to their warranties policies. 

Design and Planning

The design phase is where your dream deck begins to take shape. It’s important to consider factors like orientation, size, and how it will blend with your home’s architecture. Tools like baluster calculators and cost estimators can assist in visualizing your project and budget effectively. 

However, seeking the expertise of a professional contractor is invaluable. They can guide you through the complexities of design while ensuring your deck is safe and durable.

The Construction Process

A composite deck with deck furniture next to a beach with palm trees

The construction process behind building a deck in Florida requires individuals to follow a series of steps. Here are the steps you will need to take:

Foundation and Site Preparation

a person assessing the soil to start building a deck in Florida
A person assessing soil to prepare for construction

1. Assess Soil and Site: Begin with evaluating Florida’s soil for stability, and ensure that the site is cleared and leveled.

2. Foundation Setting: Install footings deep enough to provide stability, considering local code requirements for depth to account for moisture and potential shifts in the soil.

Framing and Structure

The framing and structure of an outdoor deck with beams and joints

3. Framing Layout: Construct the frame, starting with ledger boards, joists, and beams, and ensure that each piece is precisely measured and cut for a snug fit.

4. Securing the Frame: Use corrosion-resistant fasteners, crucial for Florida’s humid and salty air, to assemble the frame securely.

Decking Installation

a man holding and measuring wood to start building a deck in Florida
A man holding and measuring a piece of wood being used for deck installation.

5. Laying Deck Boards: Install the decking material while maintaining uniform spacing between boards in order to allow for drainage and expansion.

6. Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation beneath the deck to prevent moisture buildup, which is critical in Florida’s climate.

Finishing Touches

A composite deck in a backyard with a white deck railing
A composite deck in a backyard with a white deck railing

7. Railings and Stairs: Install railings and stairs, if applicable, by following safety standards to enhance the deck’s aesthetic and functionality.

8. Sealing and Staining: Apply a protective sealant or stain to protect the deck from the elements, which is particularly important in sun-exposed areas.

Contractors’ experience and specialized tools help to ensure that each of these steps is executed with precision to create a durable and beautiful outdoor living space. Their expertise is especially valuable in managing the unique challenges of building in Florida’s environment, from selecting the right materials to navigating local building codes.

Maximizing Project Success with Professional Expertise

A grill and table on top of a deck after someone spent time building a deck in Florida
A composite deck in a backyard with a grill and outdoor dining table

Choosing a contractor goes beyond ensuring that your deck is built correctly. It’s about leveraging their expertise to enhance the overall success of your project. From navigating building codes to providing design solutions, contractors have valuable insights that go beyond construction. Investing in professional services adds value to your home and creates a structurally sound and beautiful extension of your living area.

Building Your Dream Deck with Lumber Plus

At Lumber Plus, we believe that your deck is more than just an addition to your home. It’s an extension of your living area, a place for cherished moments, and a personal sanctuary designed just for you. Our commitment to providing top-notch materials, exceptional craftsmanship, and unmatched customer service ensures that your deck not only meets, but exceeds your expectations. 

Contact us today to discover how we can turn your outdoor living dreams into reality!



Related Posts