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Do I Need a Permit to Build a Patio? What You Need To Know!

beautiful patio with lots of plants

Building a patio can be a great way to improve your home and increase its value, and it can be a fantastic DIY project. But many people want to know if they need a permit to start building. The good news is that most places don’t require a permit to build a patio, but keep reading as we take a closer look to find out when a permit may be necessary and other considerations.

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Local Laws

outdoor patio furniture
Image By: rhyslud, Pixabay

You will need a permit for many outdoor projects, and the laws vary from one area to another. The best thing to do is check your local municipality’s website. It should have a building department that can help you learn what permits you will need. If you do need one, the website should also provide you with the information that you need to get it. In some cases, the municipality will issue it, but you will need to contact the county in others.

What Types of Patios Require a Permit?

Home Attachment

You will usually be required to obtain a building permit for your patio if you intend to physically connect it to your home. Alterations to the house usually trigger a permit requirement for safety reasons, even when the construction is minor.


One thing that can trigger a permit requirement is the height of your patio. Anything that’s more than 30 inches above the ground will usually require a permit. It’s a safety issue because anything that high can collapse and cause injury if you don’t build it to code. These structures may also require handrails, steps, and more to be considered safe.


Any roof or covering for your patio will usually trigger a permit requirement. The worry is that it can topple over, causing an injury, so you must apply for and follow the rules outlined in the permit.

divider 1 What Types of Patios Do Not Require a Permit?

Image Credit: Camylla Battani, Unsplash

If your patio is a concrete slab on the ground, creating flooring for chairs, tables, and a grill, you will not usually need a permit. You can also use brick, stone, plastic, wood, and other materials. Many people like to raise it a few inches off the ground so water can drain, which you can do without a permit in most areas.

Applying for a Permit

If your patio requires a permit in your municipality, you will need to visit your local building permit authority. It should list its requirements on the website, but these usually include the following:

  • You will usually need to provide a detailed drawing of your project. The drawing will need to be to scale, with special attention paid to any parts that you need to connect the patio to the home.
  • All dimensions will need to be precise and noted.
  • You will need to list all the materials that you intend to use.
  • You will need to disclose the thickness and placement of any joists that you intend to use.
  • You will need to indicate the height of any guard rails that you intend to use.

It’s important to remember that it can take several trips to the bureau to get your license, so be patient.

What If I Build Without a Permit?

If you build without a permit, it’s not likely that someone will come and force you to take it down, though it could happen. Regardless, building without a permit can have serious consequences down the road. For example, suppose that someone gets hurt due to your patio collapsing. Your homeowner’s insurance may not cover it, and you might be responsible for even more money due to lawsuits regarding construction without a permit.

You might face issues and possible fines if any state inspectors visit your home for any reason while the patio exists. An illegal patio can also make it difficult to sell the home if you need to.

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If you have a soggy backyard and would like to build a small concrete area where you can put chairs, a table, and a grill, you likely won’t need any permits to do so. You can even lift it a few inches off the ground without any worries. However, if you plan to raise it more than 30 inches above the ground or attach it to your home, you will need to apply for a permit. You will also need a permit to add a roof. If you need a permit, it’s not that difficult to get one, as the municipality usually only wants to make sure that the structure is safe and that you follow building codes. A few trips to the office with the proper documents and a small fee are usually all that is required.

Featured Image Credit: krakowgardendesign, Pixabay


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