Having a deck on your home is a great place for entertaining friends and family. But there may come a time when you feel like your current deck is a bit small for gatherings and entertaining.

If this happens, you have a couple of options. You can entirely rebuild your existing deck, or you may be able to add an extension onto it. Adding an extension will require some advanced planning, and some original decks may not be strong enough to support extensions.

Let’s take a closer look at the considerations you should keep in mind before you start building a deck extension, as well as determining your goals for the extension.

Before You Begin Building

The first step is to determine what size of extension you want for your existing deck. You may want to add more horizontal room, or you may decide to go with a couple stair steps and have the extension at a slightly higher elevation.

Ensuring your current deck is strong enough to support a vertical stair step extension is extremely important. This will be dependent on how far the support post and load bearing struts are on the deck itself.

If the deck was made from high quality materials by a professional builder, you will most likely not have to worry about weight capacity. In most cases, professionally built decks are able to withstand several times their suggested weight load. Though if you are unsure about your current deck, be sure to contact the builder and ask.

Make sure additional deck building or extensions is allowed in your city or province, as well as within your HOA if applicable. In some areas, you may need to apply for both city and HOA permits before you can build a new structure on your property. You may also need to apply a few weeks in advance of your building date as the application process can be slow in some cases.

In addition to obtaining permits, you may need to review local building codes to ensure your current deck, as well as the plans for the extension, will meet the code requirements. This can include the overall square footage allowance of the deck, the railing height, the type of materials able to be used, and more.

Determine Your Goals

The design of deck extensions will depend on your goals and plans. For example, if you are in need of more room for outdoor furniture and entertaining, a simple square or rectangle extension that is level with your existing deck may be all you need.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a stylish and eye-catching space for an outdoor kitchen, grilling area, or a place to display some potted plants, a raised level with a stair step or two can create the prime spot.

As far as load bearing concerns go, standard horizontal additions would be easier than those which are built on top of the existing deck surface.