Do I Need a Building Permit to Replace My Wood Deck?


One question that homeowners often ask is whether or not a building permit is required to redo their deck. While it’s always a good idea to check with your local municipality before beginning any new building or remodeling project, most communities will likely not require a permit to simply re-face an existing deck by replacing the boards. This is especially true as long as the new deck plan does not vary from the location and size of the old deck.

When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to check in with your local building code office before remodeling a deck or beginning any construction project. It is far better to be safe than sorry. Checking in with your local city, town, or village on the specifics vis-à-vis permitting requirements before you begin planning any improvements to your home is always a good idea. 

Building Permits for New Composite Decks Are A Must

On the other hand, if you are building a new composite deck or completely tearing down an existing deck and replacing it with a new one, getting a building permit is a must. Applying for a building permit for your new deck is a simple, inexpensive process that allows local building code experts to review your building plans and list of materials. These experts have knowledge about the specific weather conditions, terrain and any zoning ordinances that must be followed, insuring the best outcome for homeowner. Keep in mind that local building codes can vary from state to state, town to town and even from one house to the next – depending on what structures or natural resources are located near the property.

Another consideration, when it comes time to sell your home – or when a new neighbor purchases the home next door – and building plans are pulled out, it can be a time consuming and a potentially costly oversight to try and get a permit after the deck has been built. The same can said for purchasing a home with an existing deck. As part of the purchasing process, prospective buyers should always review the property site plan to ensure that what currently exists on the property today matches what’s on file at the town office.

Composite Decking is An Upgrade 

Many homeowners are discovering that replacing an old wooden deck with brand new composite decking is an extremely satisfying and surprisingly affordable way to redo outdoor living spaces. One of the best ways to make that project even more affordable is to maintain the size, shape and location of the old deck.

By utilizing the existing deck framework, homeowners can avoid costs associated with site preparation and excavation, as well as the time, labor and material costs of the framing itself. In many cases, after the original pressure treated (PT) wood plank decking is removed from an existing deck, builders find that the underlying framework and supports are still in excellent condition and can remain in place. Once the framing is rechecked for any signs of weakness or imbalance, simply installing a high-quality composite decking product can literally transform the entire landscape – and that can happen virtually overnight.

While earlier generations of composite decking products required additional framing to remain firm underfoot, modern composite materials, especially those made with a mixture of hardwood fibers and polypropylene, can now be installed using the same framing methods as traditional lumber. For example, DuraLife™ Siesta™ composite decking is designed to be able to be installed atop 16” on center (OC) joists – the spacing used with some pressure treated decking.

Putting the Fast into Deck Fasteners

For DIYers or professional deck builders, the innovative Step-Clip™ system from DuraLife makes installing new composite decking faster and easier than ever before. With just a hammer or nail gun, the unique Step-Clip system attaches to PT joists to create a unified, protective surface that also automatically spaces each deck board 3/16” apart.

Once installed, composite deck boards can be laid out in advance to produce a variegated look that is most appealing for the homeowner. Then, using only the weight of the installer, boards are “snapped” into place as the Step-Clip tabs insert into the pre-existing groove along the edge of the decking. Deck builders using the Step-Clip system report up to a 50% reduction in the amount of time it takes to install new composite decking! 

Choose your Samples of DuraLife Composite Decking and DuraLife Step-Clip fasteners and have them shipped directly to your door. Order your samples now! 

This article is made possible by DuraLife. DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products.More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.