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Deck Replacement Lessons

Written by Sarita Harbour

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Last summer we came to a tough conclusion: it was time to replace our aging, rotting, peeling, wrap around deck.

We knew the deck restoration would be a big project and a significant expense to shoulder within the short time frame of a Canadian summer. Here's how we budgeted and paid for our deck renovation, as well as tips on planning your own summer renovations.

Plan Ahead for Summer Outdoor Renovations

One thing we did right was start saving early. We started saving for our summer deck repairs several years ago, and built what we thought was a healthy renovation fund. Start budgeting for summer renovations as soon as possible so you'll have some savings when the time comes.

Even if you hope to borrow for your renovation, having savings reduces the amount you'll need to borrow, and the amount you'll pay in interest. Also, get started cleaning up your credit to boost your chances of qualifying for the best rates and terms.

Watch for Specials on Building Supplies

Replacing our deck meant buying building supplies on sale. We did this for about a year before we started.

We watched for sales at the local hardware store, lumberyard, online classifieds and Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Planning ahead also gave my husband time to hone his carpentry and demolition skills.

He helped contractor/carpenter friends with various projects, learned valuable lessons, and enlisted their help with our deck rebuild.

Note: consider getting professional help for electrical or plumbing work. Improperly installed wiring and piping could negatively impact your home, and mistakes could prove costly and dangerous.

Add at Least 10% (or More) to Your Projected Costs

Planning ahead and estimating costs for summer renovations isn't an exact science. Experts suggest budgeting from 1 to 3 percent of your home's value annually for home maintenance, but that won't necessarily cover the cost of your landscaping, pool, deck, or garage project.

Depending on your situation and project, consider adding at least 10 percent to your proposed budget, especially if you're demolishing existing work that could uncover additional repairs.

In our case, we blew through our lumber budget after discovering more rotting wood. We also broke some glass when we went from a partially screened-in deck to a three-season enclosed deck with large windows. It was expensive.

Consider a Line of Credit

Despite planning ahead, searching for savings, and increasing our projected costs by 10 percent we were still over budget and had to tap into our unsecured line of credit. Next time I'd look for a zero-percent credit card or line of credit to save even more.

Work From The Outside In

The timeline for outdoor summer renovations depend on weather. And last summer it rained. A lot. By working outdoors whenever the sun shone, we got the deck framed and enclosed. Although not completely finished, we could continue working inside once summer ended. Our lesson? Start earlier.

If you're planning a major summer renovation, start saving and researching your best borrowing options long before you start the job. Budget for unexpected expenses, and build bad-weather days into your timeline. And as soon as it's warm enough, get started so your renovation is complete before the snow flies again in the fall.

 

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