Building a deck is a big project, and whether you decide to take it on yourself or enlist the help of a professional, knowing what a decking project entails is essential to a successful install. 

In part two of our decking series, we’re going to share just that. We’re joined by one of the greater Seattle area’s premier deck builders: former co-founder of West Coast Decks, Joel Skillingstead. Joel has been building decks in the Pacific Northwest since 1990. With more than 30 years of experience building, overseeing, and waterproofing deck projects large and small, Joel is one of the best resources out there. 

In this episode, Joel shares with us the deck project resources he knows and trusts, plus a few insights on how to seek information from a professional before signing a contract.

Online decking resources

We’re lucky in the Puget Sound region to have access to My Building Permit, a consortium of cities and counties that coordinate to share building permit standards. 

My Building Permit is a one-stop portal where you can access building permit applications, schedule inspections, check the status of your permit, and find tip sheets for different building projects. It’s a great resource for understanding the basics of any project, and it includes a library of resources for deck projects, including stairs and railings. 

If your project is more complex—say, a multi-level deck or building on sloped terrain—you shouldn’t rely solely on an online resource like My Building Permit. For more complex projects, it’s imperative to have the guidance of an experienced professional.

Professional decking advice

In some cases, you may be able to phone a local decking contractor to answer more specific questions. How much information they're willing to give usually depends on how much time the contractor has to answer your call, so it helps to seek out a business that employs a sales associate who will have the knowledge and time to answer your questions. 

When it comes to getting professional advice from an engineer, you’ll usually need to sign a contract before they’re willing to share information. Engineering work is highly specific, so it’s customary to engage in a legal working relationship before exchanging project information. 

Of course, the decking specialists at Dunn Lumber are always happy to discuss your project and direct you to additional resources when appropriate. Visit one of our nine locations to see a decking showroom and talk to a Dunn employee for advice on your next deck project.

For more decking knowledge, check out our library of decking articles and how-tos—from DIYing your deck to choosing the right materials, Dunn Solutions is here to help you find success on your next decking project.