When the weather turns hot in Charlotte, NC many of us are quick to look for a place to find some shade and respite from the sun’s rays. We may venture to the pool...

When the weather turns hot in Charlotte, NC many of us are quick to look for a place to find some shade and respite from the sun’s rays. We may venture to the pool, perhaps seek out a large shaded area or maybe even hunker down in the house. But there is another option – spending time on a shaded porch or deck.

Not every home includes a deck or porch. But, many Charlotte homes are perfect for this addition. But before you rush to the lumber yard, there are a variety of things you need to know before building.




  1. Before doing anything, get your building permit, and check the zoning codes for your area, as well as those of your HOA. You don’t want to find out midway or at the finish, that you do not meet the requirements.

  2. Talk to a professional builder or construction crew, especially if you are working with doors opening on to the porch or want to include built in features such as seating, a pergola, or a cooking area! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to let us know!

  3. Use treated lumber joists, beams and posts as these will last longer than non-treated wood. An even better alternative to traditional wood is composite decking. Composite might cost more at the outset but will last as many as 20 years more than traditional wood.

  4. Be sure to seal the joist top! One of the prime cause of structure decay is due to water seeping into the deck joists via the screw holes. It is easiest to protect the top of the joists by using a peel and stick flashing made especially for this purpose.

  5. Protect the post bases by raising them off the ground adjustable bases or by fastening them to your concrete footing with anchor bolt. Remember, the end of a piece of wood is much like a handful of straws that will suck up moisture from the ground – so don’t allow the wood to come in contact with the ground.

  6. Seal the ends of the posts with a water repellant.

  7. Only use fasteners – nails, screws, etc. – that are rated for exterior use. They will typically be labeled as deck screws or deck nails.

  8. Don’t eyeball it – use spacers to ensure the boards are properly spaced.

  9. Apply a protective finish once you have finished building your deck or porch.

There are many other factors to consider when designing and building a deck – such as personal style and needs. However, in Charlotte, one option you might want to consider is adding a deck pergola as this provides some shade, as well as offers a place for a fan or hanging plants to be added. Just be sure this feature is included as part of the original build as adding it later is more difficult.

There are many homes in Charlotte that have decks or porches that meet the much-needed shaded retreat. However, not every one of these structures are built properly with the required amount of support. As a result, those porches and decks will begin to sag and warp before ultimately becoming an unusable living space. If you find yourself in that position or would like some guidance on proper foundation support before you begin your deck project, contact Sherrill Structural Repairs.