Lumber and Trex Market Update: 1/29/2022
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Can We Build a Deck Without a Permit? When A Permit Is Required & the 1 Exception

Backyard view from deck

Is a permit required when building a deck?

Knowing when it’s necessary isn’t always straightforward. You may have heard multiple answers from different people, or that it depends on some specific conditions. While true, the rules are conditional; they will be the same or similar in most places. And deck builders and homeowners alike must follow the codes. 

So today, let’s clear up the confusion. Can we (or anyone) build a deck without a permit? Let’s look at when a permit is required and the three exceptions.

Building Codes

The code on whether or not a permit is needed when building a deck will vary from state to state. But for the most part, and is the case here in Michigan, building a deck usually requires having a permit.

But, there is one exception. When your deck is ALL of the below, you do not need a permit:

  1. Less than 200 square feet in size
  2. Less than 30 inches off the ground
  3. More than 10 feet away from your home

If your deck meets all three requirements, you won’t need a permit to build. But, the structure would be more like a small platform in the middle of your backyard, rather than what you and I would think of as a deck. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the space works for how you’d like to use it.

But if that’s not what you want, don’t let that discourage you! When you work with Custom Deck Creations, we handle the entire permit process, HOA approvals, and inspections so you can sit back and relax!

When a Permit is Required

On the other side of things, there are a few instances where a permit is always required. That’s if you want to build or alter one of these three things on a new or existing deck:

  1. The frame
  2. New railing
  3. New stairs

Any licensed and insured residential builder (at least here in Michigan) cannot build or alter any of these without obtaining a permit. If you’d like to go into more detail, we have a more in-depth post about when a permit is required: Why You Need a Permit When Building a Deck.

PRO TIP: Resfuracing Decks

These rules also apply to existing decks that you’d like to resurface (keeping an existing deck frame). Many resurfacing projects require altering or strengthening the frame or installing new railings. And almost every job includes building new stairs. 


In most cases, we can’t build a deck without a permit unless they meet the three requirements we discussed earlier. 

But whether you’re building new or have a resurfacing project, you want to be sure your deck is built correctly and safely. And the best way to achieve that is to obtain a permit and follow code, even if a permit isn’t required. Having a permit means a local building inspector can inspect the work being done to ensure your deck is built safely and properly.

What Next?

Are you looking for a deck builder? Let’s talk!

At Custom Deck Creations, we specialize in Trex composite decking and work with clients across SE Michigan to design and build their dream decks. We want to hear all about your vision and ideas for your space, and we’ll even handle the entire permit process if it’s required for your build.

Go ahead and get in touch; we’ll chat about your project and give you a free over-the-phone estimate. Or, if you’d like to get a little inspiration, feel free to check out our most recent builds

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About Custom Deck Creations

From design to installation, Custom Deck Creations combines beautiful decks with fair pricing and unparalleled customer service. Our designs stand out, while our install processes exceeds expectations. We are a certified TrexPro Platinum builder. Custom Deck Creations is located in and serves Southeast Michigan. 

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Lumber and Trex Market Costs Update

Last Updated: 1/29/2022
Custom Deck Creations

A brief look into the current and expected inflation

Quick Summary

Lumber rose +28% locally from November 2021 to January 2022, and is expected for another significant double-digit increase impacting us in June 2022. We’re also anticipating a cost increase  from Trex around that  same time frame. Depending on size and material selection, decks are anticipated to increase in cost an average of $2,000 to $4,000 come June 2022. Custom Deck Creations is currently scheduling projects for April/May, before we feel these cost increases. Schedule a quote with us today to lock in today’s costs.

For a more detailed look into the market, please continue reading:


The lumber market continues to see pressure on the supply side. Canadian truck drivers are protesting COVID vaccine mandates, threatening to disrupt deliveries in Canada and possibly into the US. Fuel prices are also increasing. Overall demand for Southern Yellow Pine (pressure treated lumber used here in MI) remains steady. Mills are not sitting on a lot of inventory. Lead times from mills to dealers are getting extended.

Pressure treated lumber costs increased locally +28% from November 2021 to January 2022.

Lumber is expected to increase another ~+40% in June 2022. 

Custom Deck Creations is currently scheduling projects for April & May 2022, before we’re impacted by these increased costs.


Data from Trex distributors nationwide are seeing a steady growth in purchases even through winter.

Trex continues to see huge demand increases nationwide. 

Our Interpretation

Lumber will continue to rise in price throughout 2022. We don’t believe we’ll see pre-2022 lumber pricing any time soon.

In 2021 Trex put out 4 separate approximately +10% price increases. We believe more are to be expected in 2022. We do not expect Trex to ever lower their pricing.

No Inflationary Clause

Custom Deck Creations does not have an inflationary clause. Lock in today’s lumber and Trex costs with a signed agreement which puts you on our schedule. We will not charge you more even if our costs go up.

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