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Deck, Porch, & Paved Terrace, & Patio Requirements

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The building requirements for a deck include the following:

  • Footings 42 inches deep (undisturbed soil), treated material or naturally weather resistant woods must be used (pressure treated lumber, cedar, or plastic composite are all acceptable materials). The deck is to support 40 pounds live load.
  • Guard rails are to be a minimum of 36 inches high and able to support 200 pounds of pressure in any direction. Spindles are required if the deck or stairs are thirty (30) inches above the finish grade. Spindle spacing should be such that a four (4) inch sphere cannot pass through openings.
  • Stairways are to be a minimum of three (3) feet wide with a graspable handrail no more than 2 5/8 inches wide, located between 34 to 38 inches in height, measured plumb from the leading edge of each tread.
  • Stair tread height must be a minimum of four (4) inches and a maximum of 8 ¼ inches. Stair tread depth must be a minimum of nine (9) inches measured from nosing to nosing. Steps cannot vary more than 3/8 inch in the "run" of the stairs.
  • Decks constructed on new homes where posts would be located in a "disturbed soil area" must be attached to the home. Typically, thirty (30) inches or so around your foundation has been "over-dug", this area is "settling" fill material and in most cases, will not support your deck adequately. All foundations must be placed upon undisturbed load bearing soil.

Deck Plan Review Checklist


A permit for a deck, porch, paved terrace, or a patio with new steps/raised features (8.25" rise counts as a patio step according to building code) requires a Building Permit Application found on the Building Permits, Applications, & Forms page.

A patio that is completely flat and at grade requires a Zoning Permit Application found on the Planning & Zoning Permits, Applications & Forms page.

Either application for a patio needs to adhere to the rules of decks and paved terraces in terms of setbacks and lot coverage.


Charter Township of Ypsilanti  •  7200 S. Huron River Dr. Ypsilanti, Mi 48197  •  (734) 544 - 4000

Mon. - Fri., 8:30am - 4:30pm  •  Closed 12:00pm - 1:00pm daily