How to Build a Deck
With the right materials, tools, and a little research, even homeowners with limited experience in home renovation projects can learn how to build a deck and that will bring enjoyment to your family for years to come and add resale value to your property. If you lack the confidence to go it alone, grab a partner in crime who has some deck-building experience to make sure you are on the right track.
A deck is a long-term addition to the exterior of your home that could affect property values. Take your time, make sure you get it right the first time or it will be a more damaging hassle than it’s worth. Done right, learning how to build a deck for your house can be a satisfying experience that will add to the appeal and value of your home.
Basic steps in the deckbuilding process include:
Designing a Deck and Build Preparation
Whether this is the first time you’ve built a deck or you are a seasoned professional, the design and preparation stage is crucial to make sure you have what you need and you will get what you want. Mistakes made when creating the design and preparing the area can add significant costs to the project and/or create a subpar deck.
Using a reliable decking calculator will help to ensure the exact measurements of all
dimensions of the deck. A little research can provide a wealth of information
on the options for materials and style that will best suit your space and budget.
You can always add features later, but it’s best to consider all options at the design phase of the process. Some additional features to consider when designing your deck include:
- Deck Cover: An awning, pergola, patio ceiling, or other covering adds another dimension to your entertaining options.
- Outdoor Kitchens: From grills to complete kitchen features and accessories, outdoor kitchens are fast becoming a requirement in today’s resale market.
- Hot Tub: Installing a hot tub or pool deck will require significant support and take up a large amount of space, but there is nothing like a sit in a hot tub on a cool night.
- Fire Pit: A fire pit can be a great focal point for your deck but it must meet local building and fire code requirements and guidelines.
Building a Deck Layout
Using furring strips from batter boards frame the outline of your deck with string to create the basic layout. Add posts using more strings to ensure proper alignment. Spray marking the footer locations will clearly mark the accurate locations to dig for the deck’s footers and posts.
Adding Deck Posts and Framing
Take off the strings from the batter boards and start digging where your markings were made. Pour the post footings and attach the posts using brackets to hold them in place. The ledger board attaches to wall studs and is held in place with bolts.
Local codes may limit your framing installation choices and determine whether or not you are required to use beams, which allows the use of cantilevering design or overhanging deck joists.
Installing the Deck
Before you get to the deck floor, securely install all railing posts. Lay down your boards on the frame and fasten with two nails per joist all along the planks, leaving space between the boards to allow for water drainage. Using grooved boards will effectively hide all screws and nails.
Make sure to get your completed deck inspected before applying weather sealer and any additional staining or painting. Adorn your new deck with seating areas, plants, lighting, and create a vibrant new space for outdoor entertaining.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.